USA TODAY Sports Weekly

WNBA ready to build off exciting offseason and influx of new talent

- Ellen J. Horrow USA TODAY

The WNBA is set to begin its 27th season this month, following a record-setting NCAA women’s basketball tournament and a near record-setting WNBA draft that saw the Indiana Fever select South Carolina superstar Aliyah Boston with the No. 1 overall pick.

Indiana hopes Boston will help propel a young Fever team back to the playoffs after a long layoff. The Fever won the 2012 championsh­ip and reached the Finals again in 2015 but haven’t been back to the postseason since 2016.

Meanwhile in Phoenix, the Mercury return seven-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner, who missed the entire 2022 season after she was arrested and imprisoned in Russia on drug charges following a trial legal experts classified as a “sham.” Griner returned to the U.S. in December in a dramatic prisoner exchange with Russia after being detained in the country for more than nine months.

The reigning champion Las Vegas Aces will seek their second consecutiv­e title and have added even more firepower to a roster that already contained twotime MVP and four-time All-Star A’ja Wilson. Candace Parker, another twotime MVP, signed with the Aces as a free agent in February after the seven-time All-Star spent the past two years in Chicago and led the Sky to the 2021 championsh­ip.

But the Aces won’t be the only superstar-laden team in 2023. The New York Liberty made a splash in the offseason, signing 2018 MVP and four-time All-Star Breanna Stewart and four-time All-Star Courtney Vandersloo­t as free agents, less than a month after trading for 2021 MVP and four-time All-Star Jonquel Jones.

When does the regular season start?

The season begins on Friday, May 19, with four games, including Griner’s first game back when the Mercury travel to Los Angeles to face the Sparks on ESPN at 11 p.m. EDT.

When and where is the All-Star Game?

The All-Star break is July 13-17 with the All-Star Game scheduled for Saturday, July 15, in Las Vegas.

When will the regular season conclude?

All 12 teams will be in action on Sunday, Sept. 10, on the final day of the regular season.

When will the playoffs begin?

The postseason is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

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