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What should I know about the WNBA?

The NCAA women’s basketball tournament put up huge viewership numbers this spring, thanks in large part to several marquee players driving up interest in the event. Will that increased interest translate to more eyeballs on the WNBA this season? The 2024 WNBA campaign gets underway in May, and here’s what new fans should know about the league heading into the season openers.

Rookies in the spotlight for season

The Indiana Fever selected Iowa’s Caitlin Clark with the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft on April 15 and the college superstar is expected to have an immediate impact in the league – both on the court and in the television ratings. Clark, who led Iowa to a berth in the NCAA Tournament title game this past season, set multiple college records and collected multiple awards in her career.

Other notable rookies hitting the hardwood in the WNBA this season include Stanford’s Cameron Brink, who was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Sparks, UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards, who was drafted sixth overall by the Washington Mystics, and LSU’s Angel Reese, who was drafted seventh overall by the Chicago Sky. Clark, though, will be the clear Rookie of the Year favorite.

League made up of a dozen teams

There are a dozen teams in the WNBA, and those teams are split into two conferences and play 40 games apiece. In the Eastern Conference are the Fever, the Mystics, the Sky, plus the Connecticut Sun, Atlanta Dream, and New York Liberty. In the Western Conference are the Sparks, the Las Vegas Aces, the Dallas Wings, the Minnesota Lynx, the Seattle Storm, and the Phoenix Mercury.

However, the top eight overall teams advance to the WNBA playoffs, regardless of conference; last season five Eastern teams and just three Western teams clinched postseason berths. The first round of the playoffs features four best-of-three series, while the league semifinals and the league finals are both best-of-five. The Aces topped the Liberty in four games to win the title last season.

All-Star Game in Phoenix in July

The 2024 WNBA All-Star Game is set for July 20 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, and the league has announced that the format for the contest this year will have the USA Basketball Women’s National Team taking on a team of other WNBA All-Stars. That format was also used back in 2021.

The league also features an in-season tournament, called the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. Each team has 10 of its regular-season games count towards in-season tournament play, broken down as their first home and road games against each of the other five teams in their conference. The top Eastern and Western teams in those 10 games then face off in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. The Liberty took on the Aces for the Cup last season, winning by a score of 82-63 to claim the event.

Opening Night is set for May 14

The 2024 WNBA season gets underway on May 14 with four games on the schedule for the night: New York at Washington, Indiana at Connecticut, Phoenix at Las Vegas, and Minnesota at Seattle. The other four teams see their campaigns get going the following night, with Chicago at Dallas and Atlanta at Los Angeles. The 40-game regular-season schedules are set to end on September 19.

National WNBA broadcasts can be found across the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ABC) along with CBS, CBS Sports Network, Prime Video, ION, and NBA TV. ESPN has the postseason rights.

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.