Title defense begins May 17 vs. Los Angeles at US Airways Center

WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury Release 2008 Schedule

PHOENIX – The 2007 WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury, under the direction of General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale and new Head Coach Corey Gaines, today announced the team’s schedule for the upcoming 12th WNBA season. The Mercury will tip off the defense of their first championship as the league’s featured game on ABC at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 at US Airways Center against the rival Los Angeles Sparks. The home opener will feature a long-awaited championship ring presentation.

Nine of the Mercury’s 17 home games will be played on weekends. Phoenix’s 2008 schedule includes eight road trips with five road trips of two or more games, and a season-long five-game trip from June 22 through July 1.

Phoenix’s 34-game regular season schedule runs from May 17 through September 13, with a break for the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing from July 28-August 27, and includes six nationally televised Mercury games. In addition to the season opener on May 17, ABC will also broadcast a rematch of the 2007 WNBA Finals when the Mercury host the defending Eastern Conference Champion Detroit Shock on June 14. ESPN2 will carry the Mercury’s June 3 home contest against the Washington Mystics, a road game on June 26 at Chicago, Phoenix’s first visit to the expansion Atlanta franchise on July 1 and the team’s September 9 return to the Motor City where Phoenix claimed its championship trophy almost exactly one year prior.

With more than 25 WNBA players expected to compete for the gold during the 2008 Olympic Games, including Mercury All-Stars and Team USA members Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, the 2007 WNBA Finals MVP, the league has not scheduled any games from July 28 – August 27. Instead, the WNBA season will be extended by three weeks so WNBA players can represent their home countries in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Following the 2008 Olympic Games, in which the United States looks to earn its fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball, Phoenix will tip off the second portion of the season on August 28. Phoenix’s regular season schedule concludes on September 13 with the playoffs scheduled to begin on September 18.

Tickets to watch the Mercury defend their title during the 2008 regular season are available now on phoenixmercury.com and by calling (602) 252-WNBA.