The WNBA kicks off its abbreviated 2020 season on Saturday at the Wubble! The league’s bubble is taking place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida and will feature a 22-game season plus the traditional playoffs and Finals format.
The league kicks off its season on Saturday with a triple-header of nationally televised coverage starting at noon ET. The Seattle Storm face the New York Liberty on ESPN, followed by the Los Angeles Sparks facing the Phoenix Mercury at 3 p.m. on ABC, and finally the Indiana Fever facing the defending champion Washington Mystics at 5 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
We’ll be keeping an eye on things this season, and want to give a big shout-out to Matt Ellentuck and his Here’s Basketball newsletter for providing some critical insight into the W.
Time: 12 p.m.
Live stream: WatchESPN, WNBA League Pass
Point spread: Storm -5.5 (line has climbed to Storm -10.5)
Money line odds: Storm -230, Liberty +180 (Storm now -590, Liberty now +400)
The Storm are favorites to take home the WNBA title, installed at +300 at DraftKings Sportsbook. They get Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird returning from injury, Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard, and a host of shooters on the roster. They face a Liberty squad that welcomes No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu into the fold. The Liberty are building around the Oregon star, and traded away veteran center stalwart Tina Charles for draft picks to beef up that process.
Recap: The Liberty hung close early, but the Storm rolled in the second half to an 87-71 victory. Breanna Stewart led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds and Sue Bird led Seattle with 5 assists. Layshia Clarendon had 20 points as well, while No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in her debut.
The middle game features Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike facing off against Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Taurasi’s return is critical to Phoenix’s chances of making noise this summer. She played only six games last year and now has Skylar Diggins-Smith in the mix to take some pressure off the long-time star. Meanwhile, the Sparks will be without offseason addition Kristi Toliver, and will be counting on a bounce-back year from Parker.
Recap: This one turned into a laugher. Nneka Ogwumike was perfect shooting the ball and the Sparks cruised to a 99-76 victory. She was one of six LA players to reach double digit scoring. Diana Taurai and Skylar Diggins-Smith combined for 30 points, but a 30-8 third quarter for the Sparks did in Phoenix.
The day closes with the defending champion Mystics opening their title defense a bit shorthanded. They will be without Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, LaToya Sanders, and Tina Charles, and also lost Kristi Toliver this offseason in free agency. The Fever are counting on Teaira McCowan and Kelsey Mitchell taking a big step forward in 2020.
Recap: The Mystics entered the season with a host of questions due to player absences, but they impressed in their opener, beating the Fever 101-76. Myisha Hines-Allen dominated with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Four other Mystics players scored in double digits in the rout.