The 2021 WNBA schedule was released Tuesday, outlining what the 25th season for the league will look like.
The campaign will begin Friday, May 14 with four games, while the regular season will end Sunday, Sept. 19 with five games set for the final day.
The opening weekend will see all 12 WNBA teams play, with the season tipping off with the Indiana Fever at the New York Liberty at 7 p.m. EST on May 14.
Unlike in 2020, the games on the 2021 WNBA schedule will be played in home arenas and not a bubble.
“As we tip-off this historic season with teams returning to play in their home markets, we celebrate the impact the WNBA has made on generations of young and diverse athletes and on sports and society since 1997,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a release.
Because of the pandemic and Olympic break, which will be from July 15 to August 11, each team will play 32 regular season games as opposed to the originally-planned 36, with half at home and half away. The series model is being used to help reduce travel and mitigate COVID-19 dangers.
The 2021 WNBA schedule will also incorporate the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup, which was supposed to start in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic. The WNBA described its new “competition within a competition” on its website.
“The WNBA’s 25th season also marks the debut of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup, an innovative and multi-faceted competition platform. A ‘competition within a competition’ that features player prize pools, the Commissioner’s Cup is comprised of ten designated regular season games per team and culminates in a championship game between the two teams atop the standings in each conference. Uniquely, the Commissioner’s Cup platform also convenes fans, players, and partners in local communities for conversations and programming centered on equality and social justice. The Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game will take place following the Olympic break as an exciting jumpstart to the resumption of WNBA regular season action. Additional information about Commissioner’s Cup will be forthcoming.”
After the 2021 WNBA regular season ends, a traditional playoffs and Finals format will be used to determine the league’s champion. Fan attendance will be based on individual teams and local health and safety laws.
Now for some other news from across the sport this week:
Nothing But News: April 13-19, 2021
LaMarcus Aldridge, 35, retired from the NBA on Thursday after 15 years in the league. He cited an irregular heartbeat during his final game with the Brooklyn Nets as his reason.
Cincinnati men’s basketball hired Wes Miller away from UNC Greensboro to become it’s next head coach.
The 2021 WNBA Draft went down with some insane drama – players tanking, shock top picks, it had it all.
The NBA fined the San Antonio Spurs $25,000 for violating league rules on resting players.
Chet Holmgren, the No. 1 player in the men’s Class of 2021 according to 247Sports, has committed to Gonzaga.
Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated wrote extensively about the many shining disparities between men’s and women’s college basketball.
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