A look at the two semifinal series in the WNBA playoffs. The series are best-of-five format.
No. 8 Phoenix vs. No. 1 Minnesota
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Season Series: Lynx won 3-0.
Playoff History: 2011 Western Conference Finals (Minnesota won series, 2-0); 2013 Western Conference Semifinals (Minnesota won series, 2-0); 2014 Western Conference Finals (Phoenix won series, 2-1); 2015 Western Conference Finals (Minnesota won series 2-0).
Phoenix: The Mercury went on the road to beat Indiana and New York in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Now they'll face a familiar foe in the semifinals. Diana Taurasi improved her mark to 13-3 in elimination games, including an astounding 6-0 record on the road. While the Lynx swept the three meetings, the two teams haven't played since June 7. Brittney Griner has really picked up her play in the postseason, averaging 20 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. The Mercury tightened up their rotation in the first two rounds, they probably won't be able to have their starters log as many minutes in an extended series.
Minnesota: The Lynx are well rested after playing their last regular season game on Sept. 17. The team won a franchise record 28 games led by their four U.S. Olympians Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus. The Lynx are trying for their fourth title in six seasons and looking to become the first repeat champion since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Sparks.
Prediction: Minnesota in four games.
No. 4 Chicago vs. No. 2 Los Angeles
Season Series: Sparks won 3-0.
Chicago: The Sky put up a franchise record number of points in their second round victory over Atlanta. More impressively they did it without star Elena Delle Donne, who is sidelined after having surgery on her right thumb. It was a total team effort led by point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who had 21 points and 13 assists in the victory. Chicago is 4-2 without Delle Donne and hasn't played Los Angeles since July 13. The Sky have been getting a big contribution from rookie Imani Boyette on both ends of the court. She had eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocks in the win over the Dream.
Los Angeles: The Sparks are refreshed and relaxed after earning the second-seed. They haven't had a game since Sept. 16. Los Angeles is led by newly crowned league MVP Nneka Ogwumike . She'll receive her trophy before the team's first game Wednesday which will be played at Long Beach because of a preseason hockey game at Staples Center. Los Angeles was 21-3 before the Olympic break and 5-5 afterward. Three more wins will get the Sparks to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2003.