NEW YORK, Mar. 10, 2014 The WNBA will tip off the 2014 campaign with a slate of 12 preseason games in 12 cities beginning on May 2, when the Tulsa Shock hosts the San Antonio Stars at the BOK Center. For the fifth consecutive year, WNBA teams will face international competition during the preseason as both the Australian National Womens Basketball Team and the Chinese National Women's Olympic Basketball Team are scheduled to visit.
The Los Angeles Sparks, who reached the postseason last year behind league MVP Candace Parker, will play host to both the Australian National Women's Basketball Team (May 3, at Southwest College in Los Angeles) and the Chinese National Women's Olympic Basketball Team (May 10, at University of California, Riverside). The Australian National Team also will visit the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, led by Maya Moore, MVP of the 2013 WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile (May 5, at Target Center).
Top WNBA draft picks and veterans debuting with their new teams, as well as a number of home-and-home series between conference rivals, will be among the highlights of preseason action. The Connecticut Sun, who has the first overall selection in the 2014 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, will play a home-and-home series with the New York Liberty, owners of the fourth overall selection. The teams will meet at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on May 4, and again four days later at Madison Square Garden in New York. After opening the WNBAs slate of preseason games, Tulsa and San Antonio, owners of the second and third overall picks, respectively, will meet again in San Antonio (May 6, at AT&T Center).
The three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream, under the direction of new head coach Michael Cooper, who led the Sparks to a pair of WNBA titles (2001, 2002), will begin its quest for a fourth straight trip to the WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile when it hosts the Liberty on May 11, at Philips Arena. On the West Coast, the Seattle Storm will take the first step toward adding to its league record 10 consecutive postseason berths when it hosts Los Angeles (May 11, at KeyArena).
The final game of the 2014 WNBA preseason will see the Chicago Sky, led by reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne -- a Delaware native and former University of Delaware All-America -- host the Washington Mystics at the universitys Bob Carpenter Center Acierno Arena.
The Sparks 2014 preseason game against the Chinese National Women's Olympic Basketball Team marks the latest cooperation between the NBA and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), which have a long history of working together to grow the game of basketball in China. In 1985, the NBA first hosted the Chinese National Mens Basketball Team with exhibition games in the U.S. The NBA and CBA have worked together to stage six sets of NBA preseason games in China and are currently in the fifth year of a joint coaching program that has trained more than 700 coaches. In addition, the CBA Dongguan Basketball School -- an NBA Training Center launched in September, 2011 -- trains elite players in China, ages 12-17.
The WNBA will open its 18th regular season as part of WNBA Tip-Off 2014 presented by Boost Mobile on Friday, May 16, when the Lynx and its quartet of All-Stars -- Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, and Rebekkah Brunson -- visit the nations capital to face the Mystics (at Verizon Center), led by reigning WNBA Coach of the Year, Mike Thibault. WNBA Tip-Off 2014 presented by Boost Mobile will feature 22 games from May 16 through Memorial Day (May 26), culminating with the launch of ESPN2s seasonlong coverage of the WNBA. ESPN2 will debut its schedule of WNBA games on Memorial Day with a matchup of three of the top four vote-getters in last years MVP race -- Minnesotas Moore, who finished second, and Chicagos Delle Donne and Sylvia Fowles, who finished third and fourth, respectively. The Sky will host the Lynx at Allstate Arena at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The full preseason schedule is as follows:
2014 WNBA Preseason Schedule
Australian Natl Team
Los Angeles, Calif.
Mohegan Sun Arena
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Australian Natl Team
San Antonio, Tex.
Madison Square Garden
New York, N.Y.
China Olympic Team
University of Delaware
* Schedule subject to change
About the WNBA
The WNBA which features 12 teams and is the most successful womens professional team sports league in the world is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. The league, which counts Boost Mobile as its leaguewide marquee partner, will tip off its 18th season in May 2014. Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and womens health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.