NEW YORK, March 19, 2013 The WNBA will tip off the 2013 campaign with a slate of 14 preseason games in 14 cities, competing against league and international teams, beginning on May 9 when the Tulsa Shock hosts the Atlanta Dream at the BOK Center. For the fourth consecutive year WNBA teams will face international competition during the preseason as both the Brazilian and Japanese Womens National Teams are scheduled to visit.
The Phoenix Mercury, owner of the first overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, will host the Japanese National Women's Basketball Team on May 19, while the Brazilian National Womens Basketball Team will visit both the Atlanta Dream (May 13) and the Washington Mystics (May 15).
The new-look Shock, who will select third overall in the draft, will take to the court after acquiring a pair of accomplished veterans in a three-team trade this winter Nicole Powell (from New York) and Candice Wiggins (from Minnesota). In addition to hosting Atlanta, Tulsa will visit the Seattle Storm on May 17 and the Los Angeles Sparks on May 19. The Chicago Sky, owner of the No. 2 overall pick in the Draft, will host the New York Liberty (May 15 at Chicago State University).
The defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever, led by 2012 WNBA Finals MVP Tamika Catchings, will play a home-and-away series against the San Antonio Silver Stars. The All-Star laden Minnesota Lynx, featuring Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, and Rebekkah Brunson, will prepare for a run at a third consecutive WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile appearance by hosting Washington on May 18 in Bismarck, N.D. and closing out the WNBAs preseason at home vs. Connecticut on May 21.
Los Angeles, which reached the Western Conference Finals last season behind All-Star Candace Parker, WNBA Rookie of the Year Nneka Ogwumike, and WNBA Most Improved Player Kristi Toliver, added veteran free agent Lindsey Harding to the mix and will host a pair of games in Southern California Seattle (May 12 at Long Beach State) and Tulsa (May 19 at the University of California-Riverside).
The 2013 preseason will also mark the return of a pair of head coaches with WNBA championships to their credit. Bill Laimbeer, head coach and general manager of the Liberty, will lead his new team in a pair of preseason tilts against the Connecticut Sun, who are led by new head coach Anne Donovan. Laimbeer coached the Detroit Shock to WNBA titles in 2003, 2006, and 2008, and Donovan guided the Seattle Storm to the championship in 2004. New York first visits Connecticut on May 11 and the two teams will meet again on May 18 in Newark, N.J.
The WNBA will open its 17th regular season as part of WNBA Tip-Off 2013 presented by Boost Mobile on Friday, May 24, when Catchings leads the Fever into San Antonio to face the Silver Stars. WNBA Tip-Off 2013 presented by Boost Mobile will feature a total of six games including a nationally televised doubleheader on ESPN2 on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, featuring the Mystics at the Shock (3 p.m. ET) followed by the Sky at the Mercury (5 p.m. ET). The Memorial Day games are likely to include the debuts of the top four picks from the highly anticipated 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, widely considered to be one of the most anticipated draft classes ever.