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WNBA postpones start of 2020 season, no timetable set for return

The league was scheduled to tip-off on May 15, but now is in suspension due to coronavirus

Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics receives the WNBA MVP trophy from WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert during Game Two of the WNBA Semi Finals on September 19, 2019 at the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC.  Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2020 WNBA has been postponed due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 epidemic, league commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced today. The league will still have its annual draft on April 17th, though it will be done virtually instead of in-person. The WNBA released the following statement today:

“As developments continue to emerge around the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extension of the social distancing guidelines in the United States through April 30, the WNBA will postpone the start of its training camps and tip of the regular season originally scheduled for May 15. While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees.

In the meantime, the league and our teams remain focused on preparing for the upcoming virtual WNBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm on April 17. Top prospects will take part remotely live on ESPN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. This virtual draft allows players who have worked so hard to have their dreams realized when they hear their names called and provides teams the opportunity to build their rosters in anticipation of the day that we are able to move forward with our season.

We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to our players, fans, and all of those in the community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are grateful to those selfless health care workers and first responders who work tirelessly on the front lines.”

The draft should see Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu chosen first overall by the New York Liberty, who will receive one of the most prized prospects in women’s college basketball history.

The 2020 season, if it does come to pass, will be the 24th for the 12-team league. The Washington Mystics defeated the Connecticut Sun 3-2 in the 2019 WNBA Finals to claim the franchise’s first championship. Elena Delle Donne was named both regular season MVP and Finals MVP.