Lynx, Fever highlight WNBA playoff field

The 2011 WNBA Playoffs start Thursday night with one game from each conference.

The Minnesota Lynx posted the best record in the league at 27-7 and are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history.

Minnesota begins its quest for a championship with a best-of-three series against San Antonio (18-16) on Friday at 9 p.m. (et). The Lynx should cruise past the Silver Stars after taking all four games in the regular season.

The Lynx have qualified for the playoffs in only three of their thirteen years in Minnesota. But 2011 was a record-setting year for Minnesota, as the team set franchise records for victories in a season (27), at home (14) and on the road (13).

The other matchup in the West semis pits second-seeded Seattle (21-13) against Phoenix (19-15), which begins Thursday at 10 p.m. The Storm beat Atlanta, 3-0, in last year's WNBA Finals.

Seattle, which also won the title in 2004, went 3-1 against the Mercury in the regular season. Phoenix won the championship in 2009 for its second title.

In the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Fever (21-13) are the top seed. The Fever are in the playoffs for the eighth time in team history, but they have zero titles.

Indiana starts postseason play Thursday at 8 p.m. against the New York Liberty, who are making their 11th playoff appearance. But like the Fever, the Liberty have no championships.

The second-seeded Connecticut Sun (21-13) will welcome the Atlanta Dream (20-14) to town on Friday at 7 p.m. in the other East semifinal.

The Sun snapped a two-year playoff drought, while the Dream have qualified for the postseason for a third straight year.

Neither Connecticut or Atlanta have won a WNBA title.