A computer glitch posted the 2012 WNBA schedule a day early, deflating some anticipation for Thursday’s planned, league-wide announcement. Fans had already been waiting since the end of December, the normal time for the schedule’s release.
With six teams still operated by owners in the NBA, there were scheduling conflicts that had to be fixed after its lockout ended along with planning for the London Games this summer. The schedule is finally out and you can review it here.
The Storm will tip-off the WNBA’s 16th season against Los Angeles on May 18, two weeks earlier than in 2011 to accommodate for the Olympics.
It’s the only game slated to start opening weekend, an honor usually reserved for the WNBA champion. The teams instead hold the No. 1 (Sparks) and No. 2 (Storm) picks in the draft, which packs its own hype depending on what NCAA player decides to declare for the April draft.
Seattle is 8-4 all-time in home season-openers and 2-1 when hosting Los Angeles for the fanfare night.
First-time champion Minnesota will receive its rings from second-year WNBA president Laurel Richie on May 20 when the Lynx host Phoenix at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.
Four of the past five WNBA titles have gone to teams in the Western Conference and Seattle’s route back to the podium will continue to be rough in 2012. The Storm, which finished 15-7 against the West last season, faces LA twice and Minnesota in the opening week of the season.
And as of Thursday, F Camille Little, who turned 27 on Wednesday, is the team’s only starter. Backcourt cohorts Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright are unrestricted free agents, rumors floating that Phoenix will try to lure Bird to the desert. C Lauren Jackson will miss the opening half of the season to prepare and compete with her native Australia in the Games. And All-Star wing Swin Cash was traded to Chicago along with top reserve, F Le’coe Willingham.
Teams are in discussions with free agents now. Contracts can be signed beginning Feb. 1. Both Bird and Wright expressed a desire to return to Seattle prior to leaving last fall. Earlier this month, general manager/coach Brian Agler said he expected to announce both signings in February.
As the roster is forming, here are some key dates. Training camp will open April 29. The WNBA will take an Olympic hiatus from July 14 to Aug. 15. and Sept. 23 is the final game of the regular season.