The WNBA released its schedule for the 2021 season on Tuesday.
Each team will play 32 regular season games instead of 36 because of the Summer Olympics, which are set to begin in July.
Teams played an abbreviated 22-game season in a bubble last summer but will be welcomed back to their home arenas this year.
As part of the WNBA's effort to honor its 25th anniversary, the league is placing a new emphasis on highlighting star players. Last week, the WNBA revealed new uniforms that commemorate the league's milestone.
“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. “Together with our fans and partners, we look ahead to how the outstanding athletes of the WNBA will continue to provide the best women’s basketball in the world while also driving change, striving for justice and equality, and impacting future generations. In the game and beyond, we will continue to say, Count It, as a way to celebrate the WNBA’s impact not only on the game, but culture at large.”
The season begins on Friday, May 14, when Sabrina Ionescu will lead the New York Liberty against the Indiana Fever at the Barclays Center. Also on opening night, the Connecticut Sun—led by DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones—will face off against the Atlanta Dream and offseason acquisition Odyssey Sims.
The next day, two-time MVP Candace Parker will make her Chicago Sky debut against the Washington Mystics, and the Seattle Storm will take on the Las Vegas Aces in a rematch of last year's WNBA Finals.
On May 28 and 30, Parker will welcome her former team, the Los Angeles Sparks, to Chicago. She'll face the Sparks in Los Angeles on June 5.
The regular season is set to conclude on September 19, following a break between July 15 and Aug. 11 when players will participate in the Tokyo Olympics.
For the first time, the league will play the Commissioner's Cup, with 10 games in each team's regular season part of cup play. The team in each conference with the best record in these games will play for the Commissioner's Cup title.