This year, the format of the WNBA playoffs will change.
In previous years, the top four teams from each conference were seeded #1 through #4. Each conference had a best-of-three semifinals and a best-of-three conference championships. The conference winners went to the WNBA Finals, which was best-of-five.
In each of those best-of-three series, the first game was played at the lower-seeded team’s home court, and the other two games (if necessarily) were played at the higher seed. These best-of-three series will now open at the higher seed’s home court, with the second game at the lower seed’s home court. If a third game is necessary, that game will be played on the home court.
The WNBA Finals will continue its 2-2-1 format: higher seed home, then lower seed home, then a fifth game at the higher seed home if necessary.
If we had had this format last year, things might have been different. Atlanta might have gotten to play at Philips Arena. Instead, the first game of the Atlanta-Detroit series was played at Detroit, and since Philips Arena wasn’t available for the second game, Atlanta had to play at Gwinnett Arena, where they lost.