December 9, 2021
Everything you need to know about the 2022 WNBA schedule
Expanded 36-game schedule tips off May 6
The defending champion Chicago Sky open the 2022 season hosting Candace Parker’s former team, the Los Angeles Sparks, as part of a four-game opening night of the WNBA schedule on May 6, the start of a 36-game sprint of a WNBA season, the league announced on Thursday.
The four-game slate on opening night also includes a 2021 WNBA playoff rematch between the Phoenix Mercury and the Las Vegas Aces, while Minnesota-Seattle and Indiana-Washington complete the first night of action.
The season takes place over 99 calendar days, concluding on Aug. 14 with all 12 teams in action.
But by then, much will have happened.
The Commissioner’s Cup is back, each team playing 10 designated cup games — first five home and first five road games against their conference rivals, from May 6 through July 7. The Commissioner’s Cup title game, between the top team in each conference, will take place on July 26.
The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 10, with an intriguing bit of foreshadowing from the league — “other pre-All-Star activities” — on July 9. Stay tuned on that front.
And notably, camp days are back! Your early weekday starts, giving a generation what is often their first look at WNBA basketball — Chicago has two such dates, and you can spot them throughout the league. Given that studies show the children are our future, good job by the schedule to teach them well and let them lead the way.
The league has also instituted more “series play,” reducing the travel wear-and-tear by, in cases where a team has to play multiple games in a season at a particular location, doing it in one shot. It’s a decision that drew praise from multiple WNBA coaches who spoke to The Next, even as some apprehension remains over the expansion to 36 games.
What is series play? For instance: the New York Liberty are scheduled to play the Seattle Storm on Friday night, May 27. They’ll stay in Seattle, visit Pike’s Peak Market if they so desire, then turn around and face Breanna Stewart again on Sunday afternoon, May 29. It’s no picnic facing Stewart twice in three days, but Seattle is a great town, and they won’t have to fly thousands of miles to Seattle twice.
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“Coming off our historic 25th season when the WNBA enjoyed its most-watched season since 2008 and set records for merchandise sales and engagement across social media platforms, we are looking forward to what is already a highly anticipated tip off of the 2022 season in May,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “The 36-game schedule will provide fans greater opportunities to see the best players in the world compete at the highest level and year two of the Commissioner’s Cup brings added incentive to the first half of the season for players and teams while offering fans conference rivalry competition through which to support their favorite teams.”
As for the WNBA Finals rematch between Chicago and Phoenix, you won’t have to wait long: Diana Taurasi will visit her old friend the Wintrust Arena door on May 31, then again on July 2. The two also meet up on Aug. 4 in Phoenix.