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WNBA season starts May 6, includes record 36 games per team

Sportsnaut
Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Sky forward/center Candace Parker (3) dribbles against the Phoenix Mercury during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Sky forward/center Candace Parker (3) dribbles against the Phoenix Mercury during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA released its schedule for the 2022 season Thursday, starting with a four-game slate on the night of May 6.

Candace Parker and the reigning champion Chicago Sky will host Parker’s former team, the Los Angeles Sparks, on opening night. The other games will pit the Indiana Fever against the host Washington Mystics, the Las Vegas Aces against the host Phoenix Mercury and the Minnesota Lynx against the host Seattle Storm.

Each team will play a league-record 36 games in the 2022 regular season, which concludes Aug. 14. Teams played 32 games last season after the pandemic shortened the 2020 regular season to 22 games per team.

The WNBA also will bring back the in-season Commissioner’s Cup tournament, the final game of which is set for July 26. The Cup debuted in 2021.

“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.”

Last month, the WNBA also approved a new playoff format that does away with single-elimination wild-card games. The top eight teams regardless of conference will qualify for the postseason, and the first round pitting the No. 1 seed against No. 8 and so on will be a best-of-three series. The semifinals and finals will be best-of-five.

The first round will follow a “2-1 format,” where the higher seed will host Games 1 and 2 and the lower seed will host Game 3, if necessary.

–Field Level Media