Top Reasons to Love the WNBA this Summer

The time is now! The WNBA opens its tenth season on Saturday, May 20 with a full slate of exciting match-ups, including Yolanda Griffith and the defending WNBA champion Sacramento Monarchs taking on Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and the Phoenix Mercury at 4 p.m. (ET) on ABC.

Here are the top TEN reasons the WNBA will rock your world all summer long!

All-Time Greats
Between now and May 27, you can vote on up to ten players from the 30 nominees for the WNBA's 10th Anniversary All-Decade Team. The list is a who's who in women's basketball lore, from Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes to Lauren Jackson and Alana Beard. You can actually still catch most of these living legends in action... The ten names will be announced in June, then honored at a special presentation at the All-Star Game in July.

New Rules = More Scoring
In our ongoing effort to make the game more enjoyable for fans and a greater overall experience for everyone, the WNBA implemented a number of rules changes this season. Instead of two 20-minutes halves, games are now broken up into four 10-minute quarters. The :30-second shot clock has also been cut to :24 seconds. This will increase the number of possessions per team and, likely, the scoring as well. Scoring is up in the preseason and rosters aren't even set yet!

Look Up At the Sky
That flash of blue and yellow coming your way in the WNBA's newest team... the Chicago Sky. Under the direction of Hall-of-Famer Dave Cowens, the Sky are not your typical expansion team. Sure, they may not win every game this season, but this team has enough talent to contend in every game and win its fair share. Stacey Dales came out of retirement, Chelsea Newton came from a championship team, Elaine Powell has also won a title, Brooke Wyckoff has hit big shots in two straight WNBA Finals and rookie Candice Dupree has a bright future in the WNBA.

More Games This Summer
With the World Championships pushing up the end of the season, more games will be played per team each week. So instead of having to wait three or four days to see your favorite team in action, now you only have to wait a day or so. YES!

The East is Hungry
The Eastern Conference is 1-8 in WNBA Finals, and they are fed up watching their Western Conference rivals hoist the trophy and the trash talk is already flying. Oh yeah, it's on. The East has also never won an All-Star Game. So they're ready to prove there is no East Coast bias.

1-2 Punch
At this stage in the WNBA's ongoing development, virtually every team has not only one potential All-Star, but perhaps even two... or three... or four. The Sparks will be tough yet again with Lisa Leslie and Chamique Holdsclaw. When Seattle comes to town, you have Sue Bird, Leuren Jackson and Betty Lennox top prepare for. Houston has three future Hall-of-Famers and longtime Olympic teammates in Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Dawn Staley. Connecticut and Detroit's entire starting lineup deserves All-Star consideration. With that much talent in the WNBA, each game will be a showcase in and of itself.

Stellar Rookies
How good is this year's rookie class? Not only will the top three picks start this season, but one or more could even be selected to the All-Star Game. Hey, you never know. In preseason games this season, Seimone Augustus and Cappie Pondexter have been the leadering scorers on their respective teams. Augustus even scored 26 points against the Storm.

Howdy, Stranger
Want big names in new places? How about... Anna Deforge in Indiana. Tamecka Dixon in Houston. Temeka Johnson in Los Angeles. Vickie Johnson in San Antonio. Wendy Palmer in Seattle. Crystal Robinson and Nikki Teasley in Washington. Tamika Whitmore in Indiana... and there are more.

WNBA.com can make your Fantasy become a reality
If your fantasy is bragging rights and a trip to the 2006 WNBA Finals, take your shot and play WNBA Triple Threat Fantasy Challenge -- the official online WNBA fantasy game.

More Ways to Follow the Action:
Tune In! With more games than ever on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and NBA TV, you now have more ways to watch your favorite stars from the comfort of your own home.
Log On! Once again, WNBA.com is offering free audio and free video this season. That's right. Free audio of every game, free broadband highlights every day and up to 100 live video webcasts this season. Oh, and it's free.
Show Up! Why stay at home when you can see some of the best athletes in the world showing their stuff? Plus, the popcorn!

Have You Seen her?
-Saturday, May 20: Opening Day: 2006 WNBA season tips off with Phoenix @ Sacramento at 4 p.m. ET on ABC.
-Saturday, May 27: The bad blood is boiled and rivalries renewed as Detroit visits Connecticut at 4 p.m. ET on ABC.
Join in. Tell us what you think about the WNBA this season. The tenth season opens this Saturday!

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