WNBA playoff predictions: Prepare to crown a first-time champ
23rd September 2021

Sorry, Seattle, no one on our panel is picking you to repeat. In fact, in our 2021 WNBA playoff predictions, the majority of experts tabbed the reigning WNBA champion Storm to get upset at home in the second round.

So which team is the 2021 front-runner? The top-seeded Connecticut Sun — who have won a franchise-record 14 straight games — were the favorite to win this season’s title. Our panel — ESPN’s Kelly Cohen, Doug Kezirian, Dana Lee, Kevin Pelton and Mechelle Voepel — unanimously predicted the Las Vegas Aces to return to the WNBA Finals for a second consecutive season. The Aces received two votes as the predicted 2021 champ.

Connecticut, which lost to the Washington Mystics in a five-game WNBA Finals in 2019, is looking for its first title. The Sun, who are led by MVP favorite Jonquel Jones, also reached the championship series in 2004 and 2005. Las Vegas, which was swept by Seattle in the 2020 Finals, also seeks its first championship.

The playoffs open Thursday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) with a pair of first-round, single-elimination games. Connecticut Las Vegas have double-byes and don’t play again until Tuesday, when the best-of-five WNBA semifinals open.

Seven players in ESPN’s ranking of the 25 greatest players in WNBA history will be competing in the playoffs.

A look at our panel’s predictions:

Who wins their first-round matchup: No. 7 Dallas Wings or No. 6 Chicago Sky?

Cohen: Chicago Sky
Kezirian: Chicago Sky
Lee: Chicago Sky
Pelton: Dallas Wings
Voepel: Chicago Sky

Who wins their first-round matchup: No. 8 New York Liberty or No. 5 Phoenix Mercury?

Cohen: Phoenix Mercury
Kezirian: Phoenix Mercury
Lee: Phoenix Mercury
Pelton: Phoenix Mercury
Voepel: Phoenix Mercury

Which team playing in the first round has the best chance of reaching the WNBA Finals?

Cohen: Phoenix Mercury
Kezirian: Phoenix Mercury
Lee: Phoenix Mercury
Pelton: Phoenix Mercury
Voepel: Phoenix Mercury

Which teams will meet in the semifinals?

Cohen: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 5 Phoenix Mercury and No. 2 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 3 Minnesota Lynx
Kezirian: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 4 Seattle Storm and No. 2 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 3 Minnesota Lynx
Lee: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 5 Phoenix Mercury and No. 2 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 3 Minnesota Lynx
Pelton: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 4 Seattle Storm and No. 2 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 3 Minnesota Lynx
Voepel: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 5 Phoenix Mercury and No. 2 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 3 Minnesota Lynx

Which teams will meet in the WNBA Finals?

Cohen: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces
Kezirian: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces
Lee: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces
Pelton: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces
Voepel: No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces

Which team will win the 2021 WNBA title?

Cohen: Las Vegas Aces
Kezirian: Las Vegas Aces
Lee: Connecticut Sun
Pelton: Connecticut Sun
Voepel: Connecticut Sun

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