Eight teams, including the defending champions Chicago Sky, are set to duke it out for the WNBA title starting tonight.
The WNBA superstars are ready to play. The Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas, Chicago Sky’s Candace Parker, Los Vegas teammates A’Ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum, along with AP Player of the Year Breanna Stewart and WNBA legend Sue Bird, both of the Seattle Storm, look to lift their teams to new heights in the battle for the 2022 WNBA Championship.
Of course, one superstar will be missing as the playoffs begin. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner remains imprisoned in Russia after being sentenced to nine years in a penal colony on drug smuggling charges. Griner has appealed her conviction, while talks of a prisoner swap are ongoing.
Meanwhile, eight WNBA teams — including Griner’s Mercury — will begin the three-round journey to the title. In a change from previous seasons, all teams will play in a best-of-three quarterfinal matchup. The winners will then move on to a best-of-five semifinal, followed by a best-of-five WNBA Final.
WNBA superstars A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm start their quest for the 2022 WNBA Championship. Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images
The Chicago Sky finished tied in wins with the Los Vegas Aces for the best record in the in the league, but dropped to the second seed due to a tie-breaker. Both teams kick off their respective series tonight, August 17. The Sky begin first when they face the seventh-seeded New York Liberty at 8:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. PT) on ESPN 2. This will be followed by game 1 of the Las Vegas Aces vs. eighth-seeded Phoenix Mercury at 10:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. PT) on ESPN.
Other matchups include Arike Ogunbowale and the Dallas Wings vs. Alyssa Thomas and the Connecticut Sun, as well as Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics taking on the Seattle Storm’s powerhouse duo of Breanna Stuart and Sue Bird.
Those looking to follow all the drama will need access to ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U to catch every second of the playoff action. We’ve broken down everything you need to know in order to stream the WNBA playoffs live without cable.
What does the first round of the playoffs look like?
Here’s the entire first round schedule, all times ET:
WNBA First Round Playoff Schedule Date and Time Matchup Network Wednesday, Aug. 17 (8 p.m.) New York Liberty at Chicago Sky – Game 1 ESPN2 Wednesday, Aug. 17 (10 p.m.) Phoenix Mercury at Las Vegas Aces – Game 1 ESPN Thursday, Aug. 18 (8 p.m.) Dallas Wings at Connecticut Sun – Game 1 ESPNU Thursday, Aug. 18 (10 p.m) Washington Mystics at Seattle Storm – Game 1 ESPN2 Saturday, Aug. 20 (12 p.m.) New York Liberty at Chicago Sky – Game 2 ESPN Saturday, Aug. 20 (9 p.m.) Phoenix Mercury at Las Vegas Aces – Game 2 ESPN2 Sunday, Aug. 21 (12 p.m.) Dallas Wings at Connecticut Sun – Game 2 ABC Sunday, Aug. 21 (4 p.m.) Washington Mystics at Seattle Storm – Game 2 ESPN Tuesday, Aug. 23 (7 p.m.) Chicago Sky at New York Liberty – Game 3* ESPN 2 Tuesday, Aug. 23 (9 p.m.) Las Vegas Aces at Phoenix Mercury – Game 3* ESPN 2 Wednesday, Aug. 24 (TBD) Connecticut Sun at Dallas Wings – Game 3* TBD Wednesday, Aug. 24 (TBD) Seattle Storm at Washington Mystics – Game 3* TBD
Best options for streaming without cable
All games in the 2022 WNBA playoffs will air on the Disney family of networks, namely ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U. To catch every second on the basketball action, cord-cutters will need to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. Here’s how they break down.
Carries ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U
You can catch the WNBA playoffs with a subscription to YouTube TV. ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U are all included in the package, which means you’ll have all the channels you need in order to watch every second of the action.
Read our YouTube TV review.
Hulu Plus Live TV
Carries ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U
Hulu Plus Live TV is a little more expensive than YouTube TV, but it also offers all the channels you need to watch the WNBA playoffs. As an added bonus, Hulu Plus Live TV comes with the rest of the Disney Bundle, which includes a subscription to Disney Plus, as well as ESPN Plus. The WNBA playoffs don’t air on ESPN Plus, but the service offers a ton of other content for die-hard sports fans.
Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.
Sling TV Orange
Carries ESPN, ESPN2
Sling TV’s $35 Orange plan might be a good choice for casual WNBA fans who don’t need to watch every game. This plan is one of the cheapest ways to get access to ESPN and ESPN 2. Those looking for ESPN U will have to opt for the $11 Sports Extra ad-on. Sling TV lacks ABC, which could be a problem for fans hoping to catch some of the biggest games.
Read our Sling TV review.
Carries ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
FuboTV costs $70 per month and includes ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2. The base package lacks ESPN U but you can add it for an extra $8 a month with the Fubo Extra Package or pay for the $80-a-month Elite streaming tier that includes Fubo Extra. Check out which local networks FuboTV offers here.
Read our FuboTV review.
Carries ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2
DirecTV Stream is the most expensive live TV streaming service. Its cheapest, $70-a-month Plus package includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC, but you’ll need to move up to the $90-a-month Choice plan to get ESPNews. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available in your area.
Read our DirecTV Stream review.