The 2023 WNBA Finals presented by YouTube TV tips off Sunday, Oct. 8 on ABC, and you don’t want to miss this year’s match up. So today we’ll share everything you need to know about the 2023 WNBA Finals. Discover how the 2-2-1 series works, and how to watch.
We’ll also reveal some of the coolest WNBA Finals facts, and walk you through the complete chip history, all the way back to ’97. Did you know the most recent WNBA team to win consecutive championships is the Los Angeles Sparks (2001-02)? That means the pressure is on for last year’s reigning champs, the Las Vegas Aces!
Heading into the Finals requires a different mentality from players, as Breanna Stewart explained at The W25 press conference:
“Advice for players in their first WNBA Finals is enjoy the moment and make sure you leave everything out on the court. You’ve gotten through the ups and downs, the good and the bad this season, for this moment. It’s something where it’s not one game. So, it needs to be repeated over a series of five or the winner of three.”
“Enjoy it. When I look back at 2018, especially because we had fans, 2020 in the bubble — and Sue [Bird] says it all the time, you never know when you’re going to get back. So, don’t overlook or overthink or miss your opportunity.” And yes, WNBA players do get rings.
All WNBA playoff games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. To watch the 2023 WNBA semifinals online, you can stream every game at ESPN.com or on the ESPN app, or on the ABC live website. You can also see all the games online after they’re over by watching the recordings on WNBA League Pass. See more information on how to watch WNBA games here.
As for what to watch after the Finals, follow your favorite player to their overseas team, and stay tuned to watch Athletes Unlimited Basketball in February 2024 as well as the new Unrivaled Basketball, started by WNBA All-Stars Breanna Stewart and Napheesa Collier.
The 2023 WNBA Finals start on Sunday, Oct. 8 on ABC.
The WNBA Finals championship series is the end of the Women’s National Basketball Association’s postseason schedule each fall, and has been played every WNBA season in history since 1997. Previously, the series was named the WNBA Championship (until 2002).
The WNBA Finals champion is the best of two competing teams to win the best of five games. The winner of the WNBA Finals is determined through a 2–2–1 format. The first, second, and fifth games of the series are played at the arena of the team who earned home court advantage by having the better record during the regular season.
Learn more about the Playoffs here.
Yes, there is a WNBA championship trophy. Check out the trophy ceremony from 2022. Luckily, the trophy for winning the chip is a little bigger than the comically small Tiffany trophy Kelsey Plum earned after winning 2022 WNBA All-Star MVP. Even the WNBA Commissioner got in on the ribbing, trolling Kelsey weeks later by gifting her with an even smaller trophy.
The favorites still appear to be the Las Vegas Aces, despite only two teams in WNBA history winning back to back chips (the Comets and the Sparks). Here’s the latest from Covers as of Sept 14th, though be sure to check the books because DraftKings has already moved the Aces to -155.
That makes sense based on the way the regular season standings ended with the Aces on the top of the board:
However the Liberty did beat out the Aces in the Commissioner’s Cup this year, even winning on the Ace’s home floor. Right now including all regular season (with the Cup game) and pre-season games the two teams’ records when playing each other stand at 3-3. However without pre-season games, the New York Liberty has 3 wins to the Aces 2 wins, across the five match ups between the two.
As for MVP, the odds reflect the expectation that the Aces will get the win, with the Aces’ A’ja Wilson topping the list.
You can also bet on things like the first field goal scored, player rebounds, assists, and more.
Here are a few memorable happenings and newsworthy tidbits from the season where the latest super team era was ushered in (despite Lexie Brown and her AAU team having basically invented super teams) in no particular order:
Some of our favorite reads and content from the season include:
Last year the Las Vegas Aces won the Championship, their very first Finals win, after three previous trips. The Aces handily defeated the Connecticut Sun in four games. Here’s a complete list of WNBA champions by year. But more importantly, check out some of the current champs best bloopers to see the chemistry that landed them at the top of the league:
Across the Timeline is our favorite fact and stat source for the WNBA. Here are a few things to know:
Discover the most interesting aspects of each finals matchup from 2022 through the very first 1997 including the biggest upsets, the longest series, and cool highlights. For example, did you know 2011 was the start of the Lynx dynasty?
After a recent trip to the Finals, the Las Vegas Aces finally brought the W home, winning the finals three games to one over the Connecticut Sun to claim their first championship in franchise history. “We didn’t like that feeling we had last year,” said Aces guard Chelsea Gray, who was named Finals MVP, after delivering a standout performance in game four with 20 points. “It was a tough moment, but it built character. It was setting something up for the following year.” New head coach Becky Hammon was at the helm making her the first rookie head coach to win the WNBA Title. “I think especially with a first-year head coach, our bond got even a little tighter and stronger. For the organization to understand what it takes to not just do it one year, but try to do it multiple years, that’s when you’re talking about a more legendary franchise. Hopefully, that’s what we can be.” said Chelsea.
The Chicago Sky won the 2021 WNBA Finals becoming the champions for the first time in franchise history! In the first game of the Finals series, Chicago took a 1-0 series lead beating Phoenix 91-77 with a dynamic performance from Kahleah Copper. In the second game, Phoenix tied up the series 1-1 with a win over Chicago 91-86 in overtime. Then, the Sky took the lead (2-1) in an easy 86-50 win, and beat Phoenix (80-74) in the final game becoming WNBA Champions (3-1). Forward Kahleah Copper was named WNBA Finals MVP after averaging 17.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
These Finals were unlike any other before. The series occurred in the Wubble in Florida due to a global pandemic. The Seattle Storm won in a three game sweep – their second WNBA championship in three seasons – taking down the Las Vegas Aces 92-59. It was the fourth title in franchise history for the Storm, who also won in 2004, 2010, and 2018. Seattle entered the season with the advantage of still having their core group that won the 2018 championship in tact: Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, and Jewell Loyd. Breanna Stewart was the Finals MVP averaging 28.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. She had an incredible game 1 where scored a whopping 37 points and grabbed 15 boards.
In 2018, the Seattle Storm swept the Washington Mystics 3-0. They won in dominant fashion winning by double digits in two of the three games.
The 2017 WNBA Finals was a five game classic. It was a rematch of the 2016 Finals, resulting in the Minnesota Lynx defeating the Los Angeles Sparks and avenging their 2016 loss.
The first Minnesota Lynx versus LA Sparks Finals matchup took place in 2016 and ended with the LA Sparks winning their third title. This was Candace Parker’s first championship and she won Finals MVP.
The Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky participated in the WNBA Finals in 2014. It was the first appearance Chicago Sky had in the WNBA Finals and they lost to the Mercury in a three game sweep.
The Minnesota Lynx won in a sweep against the Atlanta Dream winning their second WNBA championship in dominant fashion. Maya Moore was named the MVP.
The Indiana Fever defeated the Minnesota Lynx dynasty in four games to win their first and only WNBA championship. It was only the second time an Eastern Conference team won a championship at the time.
The Minnesota Lynx swept the Atlanta Dream to win their first championship and began the Lynx Dynasty. The Lynx dominated the Dream not just in the Finals, but in the regular season going 2-0 in regular season play and winning all five games they had against the Dream in 2011.
The Seattle Storm swept the Atlanta Dream to win their second WNBA title. This was the first heartbreaking defeat for the Dream in the WNBA Finals.
Diana Taurasi won her second championship and her first Finals MVP when the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Indiana fever 3-2. The matchup was between the top two teams during the regular season so it was nice that both top teams got to play each other in the Finals.
The Detroit Shock swept the San Antonio Stars winning their third WNBA championship. They did so in dominant fashion beating the Stars by 16 in game three.
Phoenix Mercury defeated the Detroit Shock in 2007 in five games. The game was the first time a road team won the championship on the opponent’s floor.
The Detroit Shock defeated the Sacramento Monarchs in five games to win their second title. The MVP was Deanna Nolan thanks to her 24 point performance in game five.
In 2005 the Sacramento Monarchs won their first and only WNBA title against the Connecticut Sun. The Monarchs won in four games.
Seattle Storm and Connecticut Sun both made their first Finals appearances. The Storm won the series winning two out of the three games. It was the last time the WNBA Finals was a best of three series.
The Detroit/LA rivalry began in the WNBA with this 2003 WNBA Final. The Shock won in the deciding game three match winning their first WNBA title.
LA Sparks secured their first WNBA title in 2001 against the Charlotte Sting. The Sparks won in dominant fashion sweeping the Sting.
The Houston Comets dynasty secures their fourth and final title against the New York Liberty. The Comets are by far the most dominant WNBA team in the history of the W. At this point in WNBA history, no one else has won a championship except the Comets!
Houston Comets and the New York Liberty faced off in the Finals for the second time ever in 199. Their first matchup was in 97. The results were the same as the Houston Comets won their third title and officially became a dynasty.
The Cheryl Miller-coached Phoenix Mercury reached the WNBA Finals and faced the Houston Comets in1998. The result was another Comets championship with Cynthia Cooper being named Finals MVP.
The very first WNBA championship was played by the Houston Comets and the New York Liberty. It resulted in the Houston Comets beating the Liberty 65-51. It was the beginning of the WNBA and the start of the Houston Comets dynasty.
There it is, a complete history of every matchup! 25 years later, the league is more popular than ever and just getting started. Learn even more about WNBA history and the WNBA’s 25th season, as well as WNBA MVPs.
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