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2006 WNBA Preseason Overview

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May 2, 2006 - It seems like just yesterday that the Sacramento Monarchs were celebrating their first championship before the loudest crowd you image at ARCO Arena, but after a busy offseason, basketball is back and the 2006 WNBA preseason is now officially underway.

After a grueling week of training camp, two-a-day practices and sessions with the local media, the preseason is the last chance for WNBA rookies and training camp invitees to make a roster and for the veterans to fine-tune their skills and get back into game shape. One of the most anticipated aspects of this preseason will be the debut of the WNBA's new rules set to be implemented this season. They include a four-quarter format, a 24-second shot clock and adjusting jump balls to begin second, third and fourth quarters. The format of WNBA games will be changed to four 10-minute quarters instead of the previous two 20-minute halves.

Yolanda Griffith and the Sacramento Monarchs will face off against the Connecticut Sun.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
In addition, the 24-second shot clock replaces the previous 30-second clock. It will be reset to 14 seconds when a defensive foul or other defensive violation occurs with less than 14 seconds remaining on the shot clock. It will be left unchanged when a defensive violation occurs with 14 seconds or more remaining on the shot clock.

Many of the players who have yet to return from their offseason leagues begin arriving this week, and while they will have missed training camp, they are already in top playing shape having been at it all winter. Missing at the start of training camp are Seattle's Sue Bird, Mercury players Diana Taurasi and Kamila Vodichkova and Sparks center Lisa Leslie. They will be back before the end of the preseason and in time for Opening Day.

Several teams will play one another in closed scrimmages, but the WNBA preseason tips off on Wednesday, May 3 as Dawn Staley and the Houston Comets host Staley's former team, the Charlotte Sting, at 8:30 p.m. CT at the Toyota Center. It will be the first time Staley has ever played against the Sting.

The defending champion Sacramento Monarchs kick off their preseason at home with Becky Hammon and the new-look New York Liberty on Thursday, May 4. The Monarchs will return the favor and visit the Big Apple on Saturday, May 13 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. ET. The Lynx will debut its top overall pick, Seimone Augustus, against the Seattle Storm on the same day, Saturday, May 13, at the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis on Saturday, May 13. Speaking of debuts, the WNBA's newest franchise, the Chicago Sky, will play their first game ever at the UIC Pavilion against Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday, May 9 at 8 p.m. local time.

Also highlighting the preseason schedule is a rematch of last years championship finalists, as Yolanda Griffith and the Sacramento Monarchs take on Nykesha Sales and the Connecticut Sun on the University of New Mexico campus on Tuesday, May 9 in Albuquerque. In other key games All-Star guard Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury take on the Shock at Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y. on Thursday, May 11; newly acquired Nikki Teasley and the Washington Mystics will take on the San Antonio Silver Stars and recently acquired nine-year veteran Vickie Johnson at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan. on Saturday, May 6.

The WNBA’s 10th anniversary season tips off on Saturday, May 20 and will include ABC’s national telecast from Sacramento where the Monarchs will commemorate their 2005 WNBA title by raising their championship banner. The Monarchs will then square off against the Phoenix Mercury at ARCO Arena beginning at 4 p.m. EDT. Opening day also includes the inaugural game of the league’s 14th franchise, the Chicago Sky, as it visits the Charlotte Sting.

The full preseason schedule is as follows:


DateVisiting TeamHome TeamLocal TimeLocation
Wed. May 3Charlotteat Houston7:30 PMToyota Center
Thu. May 4New Yorkat Sacramento7:00 PMArco Arena
Sat. May 6 Indianaat Charlotte6:00 PMCharlotte Bobcats Arena
Sat. May 6Washingtonat San Antonio7:00 PMCharles Koch Arena - Wichita, KS
Sun. May 7 New Yorkat Seattle6:00 PMKey Arena
Sun. May 7Detroitat Connecticut4:00 PMMohegan Sun Arena
Tues. May 9San Antonioat Charlotte7:00 PMCharlotte Bobcats Arena
Tues. May 9Los Angelesat Chicago7:00 PMUIC Pavilion - Chicago, IL
Tues. May 9Connecticutat Sacramento7:00 PMThe Pit - Albuquerque, NM
Thurs. May 11Los Angelesat Indiana 12:00 PM Conseco Fieldhouse
Thurs. May 11Phoenixat Detroit7:00 PMPepsi Arena - Albany, NY
Fri. May 12 Charlotteat San Antonio7:00 PMAT&T Center
Fri. May 12Seattleat Chicago7:30 PMUIC Pavilion - Chicago, IL
Sat. May 13Houstonat Washington7:30 PMVerizon Center - Washington, DC
Sat. May 13 Seattleat Minnesota7:00 PMSports Pavilion - Minneapolis, MN
Sat. May 13 Sacramentoat New York4:00 PMMadison Square Garden
Sat. May 13Connecticutat Phoenix7:00 PMUS Airways Center
Tues. May 16 Detroitat Houston7:30 PMToyota Center