Playoff rematches, All-Star battles, and rookie showcases highlight the 2007 season

Ten Key Games For The Start Of Another Decade

Saturday, May 19: Sacramento Monarchs at Detroit Shock (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


The WNBA Opening Day features six games including this highly anticipated 2006 Finals rematch on ABC. It will mark the first of five games that the WNBA will play on ABC this season, and the first of 21 total nationally televised games. Finals MVP Deanna Nolan and the Shock will receive their championship rings while the franchise's second championship banner will be hoisted to the rafters in their first game since dethroning the Monarchs a year ago. But the Shock will have some new pieces in place by way of San Antonio... guard Shannon Johnson and center Katie Feenstra. For the runners-up, the Jenny Boucek era will begin in Sacramento as the new Monarchs head coach makes her debut. In other Opening Day games, Tangela Smith will don her Mercury uniform for the first time against an L.A. team without Lisa Leslie. Taj McWilliams-Franklin will wear the purple and gold for the first time in that game. The two other Western Conference teams in last year's postseason also renew their rivalry when the Houston Comets take on the Seattle Storm.

Tuesday, May 22: Sacramento Monarchs at Washington Mystics (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Also See: Tuesday, May 22: Minnesota Lynx at Detroit Shock (7:30 p.m. ET)
Tuesday's weekly ESPN2 action tips off with this battle between two of the best in their respective conferences and playoff teams from last season. It is the first of 16 games that will be aired on ESPN2 this season. The host Mystics feature bona fide All-Stars in guard Alana Beard, who will be entering her fourth year, and DeLisha Milton-Jones, who has returned to the form she displayed with the Sparks prior to getting injured and traded in 2004. After two straight Finals appearances, Sacramento is no stranger to the national television audience and picks up next season right where it left off in September appearing coast-to-coast for the second time in four days. This could also be the last season in Yolanda Griffith's Hall-of-Fame career, so don't miss out on the chance to see her in action. In the second game, the first overall pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft, Lindsey Harding, leads her young Minnesota Lynx into the Motor City for an early season test against the defending champs.

Saturday, June 2: Phoenix Mercury at Connecticut Sun (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Also See: Saturday, June 2:: San Antonio Silver Stars at Seattle Storm (10:00 p.m. ET)
It is always an adventure when Diana Taurasi returns to her adopted home state of Connecticut. The Phoenix Mercury will come in with plenty of offensive firepower as both Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter were at the top of the scoring leaderboard in 2006 and the Mercury scored more points than any other in WNBA history. Certainly not lacking for star power, the Connecticut Sun are looking to get back to the Finals after making two consecutive trips there before missing out last season. The Sun will be without McWilliams-Franklin, but Nykesha Sales, Margo Dydek, Lindsay Whalen and Katie Douglas were all All-Stars last season and Douglas went on to win All-Star M.V.P. So with all of these stars on the court at one time, who will be the most valuable in this battle of conference contenders?



Tuesday, June 5: Minnesota Lynx at Phoenix Mercury (10:30 p.m. ET ESPN2)
While this game is not a meeting between two 2006 playoff teams, it very well could be a meeting between two 2007 playoff teams. The third "ESPN2 Tuesday" game of the season will showcase three of the last four top overall Draft picks (Harding, Seimone Augustus and Taurasi) as well as three of the top four scorers from last season. These two teams were also involved in one of the major trades on Draft Day that sent Tangela Smith to Phoenix for Harding. This game also marks the first time this season a national audience will have the opportunity to watch Diana Taurasi light it up as she looks to win her second straight scoring title. Meanwhile, the Lynx are looking for some early wins as they attempt to bounce back from a 10-24 record in 2006. In other games this day, Becky Hammon, Ruth Riley and Sophia Young lead the San Antonio Silver Stars will visit the Sacramento Monarchs and the new-look New York Liberty will host the Washington Mystics.


Tuesday, July 3: Los Angeles Sparks at Seattle Storm (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
In another playoff rematch, two of the league's best forwards will take the court when Chamique Holdsclaw and the Sparks visit Lauren Jackson and the Storm. Without Lisa Leslie on an Opening Day roster for the first time since the team was founded back in 1997 as Leslie is currently pregnant and expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2007 season. The Los Angeles Sparks still have plenty of star power looking to take them back to the postseason with the addition of McWilliams-Franklin. The burden will be shared by Holdsclaw and 2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year Temeka Johnson as The Storm and Sparks are two of the most successful franchises in the league who hold a combined three WNBA titles. The rivalry is also a great one, though the matchup will not be the same without the Leslie-Jackson component. Of course, the Storm's pain from 2006's early playoff exit still stings. Last season, the Sparks defeated the Storm 2-1 in a three-game first round series. In two earlier games, the San Antonio Silver Stars will travel east as they visit the Washington Mystics and Minnesota will host Phoenix.

Tuesday, July 10: Indiana Fever at Houston Comets (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Also See: Tuesday, July 10: Chicago Sky at Detroit Shock (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

In the second game of a back-to-back on ESPN2, two 2006 third seed teams will meet just a few days before All-Star weekend begins in Washington D.C. Indiana was very busy in the offseason in bringing in centers Tammy Sutton-Brown through free agency and Alison Bales via the draft. And we sure can't forget the first game of the night on ESPN2 between the Chicago Sky, who are in their second year after a rough inaugural season, and the Detroit Shock. There will be a total of TEN All-Stars featured on this exciting WNBA double-header on ESPN2.

Sunday, July 15: 2007 WNBA All-Star Game (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Who will you send to Washington? These candidates want your vote so be sure to vote... early and often.



Tuesday, July 24: Detroit Shock at Connecticut Sun (8 p.m. ET ESPN2)
In their second rematch of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals of the season, the Detroit Shock and Connecticut Sun will play the first game of a back-to-back on ESPN2. Detroit, led by rebounding champ Cheryl Ford and Finals M.V.P. Deanna Nolan, defeated the Sun 2-1 in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals despite entering the series as the underdog. Connecticut's Katie Douglas was unable to help her team in the Conference Finals after suffering a non-displaced hairline fracture of the foot during the first round of the 2006 playoffs, but she's back and looking to lead the Sun to their first WNBA championship. These two teams have met in two of the last four Eastern Conference Finals with Detroit coming out on top both times.

Tuesday, July 24: Los Angeles Sparks at Sacramento Monarchs (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Meeting for the second time in front of a national audience this season, the Sparks and Monarchs will continue their quests for Western Conference dominance. This is the second of a back-to-back on ESPN2 and could be a preview of a second straight Western Conference Finals series between these two teams.



Saturday, August 11: Indiana Fever at Detroit Shock (1:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
This late season Eastern Conference matchup could have playoff implications written all over it. Not only will the Fever be looking for revenge in front of a national audience on ABC after being swept by the Shock in the first round last season, but they could be looking to gain home court advantage after Detroit edged them out for the number two seed in 2006. In other action around the WNBA, in what may be another Conference playoff race game, the Swoopes-and-Thompson-led Houston Comets will look to show the re-made San Antonio Silver Stars that they're still a playoff-caliber team in an 8 p.m. ET matchup.

Sunday, August 19: Washington Mystics at Connecticut Sun (1:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Okay, so it is the last weekend of the 34 game season and the excitement could just be getting started. With 12 of the 14 teams on the schedule, don't be surprised if a few teams are still trying to lock up home court in the first round or possibly even a playoff berth on this final day of the season. And what better way to wrap up the 2007 regular than with a possible playoff preview between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics on ABC? Hold on, it gets better. There will also be five more Conference battles as the Liberty host the Sky, Sting visit the Fever, Silver Stars make their way up to Minnesota, Houston makes a trip to Phoenix, and the Sparks host the Monarchs.

The 2007 WNBA season marks the beginning of another decade that is sure to be successful and just as exciting as the first! Be there on May 19 and get yor tickets now!