SEATTLE — Regardless of where this season ends, the Storm will advance further in the playoffs than it had in the past eight years.

After dropping a 100-77 defeat – its most lopsided loss this season – at Washington on Thursday morning, hours later Seattle locked up a top-two finish and a double-bye to the semifinals thanks to the Atlanta Dream.

Atlanta edged Los Angeles 79-73, which guarantees Seattle (23-8) will bypass the first and second rounds of the playoffs.

The Storm has been eliminated in the first round during its past five trips to the playoffs.

The last time Seattle advanced to the semifinals, the Storm won the WNBA title in 2010. Seattle’s only other trip to the semis also netted a league championship in 2004.

With three games left, the league-leading Storm needs a victory to secure the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage in the postseason.

Atlanta (20-10) is second in the standings followed by Washington (19-11), Los Angeles (18-12) and Connecticut (17-12).

The playoffs begin Aug. 21 and the semifinals are scheduled to start Aug. 26.

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