The Women’s National Basketball Association will begin its shortened 2020 season from July 25 behind closed doors, after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The opening weekend of the tournament will be dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement. All aspects of the game and player outfitting will be designed to honor victims of police brutality and racial violence, the league said in a statement.
The league’s 24th season will take place at IMG Academy in Florida and will include a 22-game schedule for each of its 12 teams. Regular-season play is currently scheduled to conclude on Saturday, September 12, and be followed by a traditional playoffs and finals format.
The tip-off will begin with 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart and the Seattle Storm meeting 2020 No 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty. That game will be followed by a match-up of All-Star-laden teams when the Los Angeles Sparks, led by Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, tip off against Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury. A match-up of the Indiana Fever vs the defending champion Washington Mystics rounds out the first day of action.
“As we build on the momentum for women’s sports and the WNBA from last season, we’re incredibly grateful to our broadcast partners who have shown a continued commitment to bringing the WNBA to fans across the country on their biggest platforms,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
“This 2020 WNBA season will truly be one unlike any other, and we’re looking forward to using our collective platform to highlight the tremendous athletes in the WNBA as well as their advocacy for social change.”
During the national triple-header telecasts on July 25-26, team uniforms will display Breonna Taylor’s name as WNBA players raise awareness and seek justice for the women and girls who have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence.
Players will individually have the option to continue to wear the placard with Breonna Taylor’s name for subsequent games. Additionally, throughout the season, players will wear warm-up shirts that display “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. “Black Lives Matter” will also be prominently displayed on courts during games.
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