December 19, 2023 

Takeaways from the WNBA’s 2024 regular season schedule

New Commissioner's Cup format, new free agency dates

The WNBA has released the schedule for the 2024 season, which is set to begin on May 14. The regular season will conclude on Sept. 19, followed by the postseason.

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All 12 teams in the WNBA league will participate in the tip-off week, which eight of these teams are scheduled to play on May 14. The Olympic break is set to start on July 21 and end on Aug. 14. During this time, the stars of the WNBA will represent their respective countries at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

The regular season will consist of a record-high 40 games per team, split equally between home and away games, for the second consecutive season. The WNBA will announce its broadcast and streaming schedule at a later date.

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“We eagerly anticipate tipping off the 2024 season and building on the success of last season, our most-watched in 21 years and a record-setter for social media engagement, digital consumption, All-Star merchandise sales and sports betting,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Free agency and the 2024 WNBA Draft are sure to create excitement, and the new format to the Commissioner’s Cup will provide fans a great opportunity to see the best players in the world compete for bragging rights and prize money early in the season.”

The New York Liberty, who participated in the WNBA Finals this past season, will travel to D.C. to face the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m. EST. It will be the rematch of the first-round series from this past season, which ended with the Liberty sweeping the Mystics to advance to the semifinals.

The first game of the Tip-off Week will feature Breanna Stewart, who won the 2023 WNBA MVP award. During her first season with the Liberty, she set franchise records for total points (919) and rebounds (371). Stewart will be playing alongside Sabrina Ionescu, a member of the All-WNBA Second Team, and Courtney Vandersloot, who led the league in assists in 2023. The game will also include the Mystics’ Brittney Sykes, a member of the All-Defensive First Team, and Elena Delle Donne, a two-time WNBA MVP.

The defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, who won back-to-back championships, will welcome the Phoenix Mercury to Michelob Ultra Arena May 14 at 10 p.m. ET. The matchup will feature the Aces’ four all-stars Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young taking on the league’s all-time leading scorer, Diana Taurasi, who recently became the first player in WNBA History to score 10,000 points in August, and Brittney Griner, who is expected to re-sign with the Mercury in free agency.

Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (25) drives to the basket as Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young (0) defends during the WNBA game between the Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on June 06, 2023. Photo Credit: Chris Poss

Later on the opening night, the Connecticut Sun will face off against the Indiana Fever at Mohegan Sun Arena at 8 p.m. EST. Alyssa Thomas, who holds the record for the most triple-doubles in WNBA history and was the runner-up for the WNBA MVP award, will lead the Sun. The Indiana Fever, who recently won the draft lottery for next year’s draft, will be led by Aliyah Boston, the recipient of the 2023 Rookie of the Year award from this past season, along with another top player.

To top it off on the opening night, the Seattle Storm, led by Jewell Loyd, WNBA Peak Performer in points per game, will face off against the Minnesota Lynx, featuring Napheesa Collier, member of the All-WNBA First Team last season, at Climate Pledge Arena at 10 p.m. EST.

On May 15 at 8 p.m. ET, the Chicago Sky and the Dallas Wings will face each other at College Park Center, featuring All-Star guards Kahleah Copper and Arike Ogunbowale, and 2023 Most Improved Player Satou Sabally.

Later tonight, the Atlanta Dream will head to Los Angeles to play against the Sparks at 10 p.m. ET. The game will feature the Dream’s three All-Stars, Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray, and Cheyenne Parker, and the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike, an eight-time WNBA All-Star and All-WNBA Second Team member, and Jordin Canada, a member of the All-Defensive First Team. Los Angeles will also select at second overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft.

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More key 2024 WNBA dates

The WNBA All-Star game for 2024 is scheduled to take place at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on July 20, just before the Summer Olympics in Paris. The event will also feature a 3-Point Contest and the WNBA Skills Challenge, which will take place the day before the All-Star Game. The WNBA has promised to provide more information on the event at a later date.

The New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces will face each other three times as a rematch of the 2023 WNBA Finals. The games will be held in Las Vegas on June 15 and Aug. 17, and in New York on Sept. 8.

The Indiana Fever and Los Angeles Sparks, who have secured the no. 1 and 2 picks respectively for the 2024 WNBA Draft, will play against each other three times during the regular season. The first game will be held on May 24 in Los Angeles, followed by matches on May 28 and September 4 in Indiana.

WNBA announces new format for the Commissioner’s Cup

The WNBA has introduced a new Commissioner’s Cup format following its success over the past three seasons.

The new format requires teams to play five games against their in-conference rivals from June 1 to 13. During this period, teams will play either three games at home and two games on the road, or three games on the road and two games at home. Additionally, these games will count towards the team’s win-loss record in the regular season.

The winning teams with the highest percentage from each conference in the Commissioner’s Cup games will play for a $500,000 prize pool in the championship. The team with the best record in the Cup play will host the Commissioner’s Cup Championship game, scheduled for June 25.

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“After crowning three Commissioner’s Cup champions since 2021, we believe it is time to introduce a new, streamlined format for the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup for the 2024 season,” Engelbert said.  “The newly designed, concentrated structure for this in-season tournament adds an increased sense of urgency and excitement as we place a particular spotlight on Eastern and Western Conference Commissioner’s Cup play in a two-week window near the tip-off of our regular season. The focus is on making the Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase even more engaging for all our stakeholders, including fans, teams, players and the community organizations that collaborate with our teams during the designated games.”

The WNBA also announced that teams can start negotiating with free agents on Jan. 21 and signing contract with teams on Feb. 1.

Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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