2010 WNBA Season Tips Off May 15

-- Defending Champion Phoenix Mercury Opens 2010 WNBA Season on ESPN2 --
-- Tulsa Franchise Debuts at Home on Opening Day --
-- ESPN2 to Continue �WNBA Tuesdays� National Broadcast --

The 2010 season opens with a rematch of the 2009 Western Conference Finals as the defending champion Phoenix Mercury host the L.A. Sparks at 2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2009 � The WNBA will tip off its 14th season on Saturday, May 15 with five games that day. Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and the defending champion Phoenix Mercury will begin the WNBA season when they host Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Tulsa franchise, whose name will be announced in January, will debut at the BOK Center against the Minnesota Lynx the same day at 8 p.m. ET.

For the fifth consecutive year, ESPN2 will feature �WNBA Tuesdays� as the viewing destination for WNBA fans as part of its programming. �WNBA Tuesdays� begin May 25 as the Mercury visits Oklahoma for the first time to play Tulsa, who will compete in the Western Conference. The Indiana Fever, the defending Eastern Conference champion, will make its first national television appearance of the season on Tuesday, June 29 against the Mystics in Washington, D.C. With all televised games available in high definition and on ESPN360.com, ESPN2 will also air several Thursday primetime games and two additional weekend games throughout the summer.

The 2010 WNBA season marks the second year of the league�s eight-year deal that allows ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 to televise games through 2016. The agreement provides the WNBA a rights fee, a first in U.S. women�s professional sports league history. The deal extends the WNBA�s relationship with ESPN, which commenced in 1997, to 20 years. The WNBA wrapped up the 2009 season with an 8 percent increase in viewership.

Combined WNBA coverage on ESPN2 and NBA TV, the league�s 24-hour television network, will feature over 70 contests.

Other key television matchups throughout the regular season include:

  • Reigning Rookie of the Year Angel McCoughtry, Chamique Holdsclaw and the Atlanta Dream visiting Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and the Storm in Seattle on June 1 (ESPN2, 9:30 p.m. ET)
  • The Storm visiting the Sparks on July 3 in a Western Conference matchup featuring two of the premier front court players in Jackson and Parker (ESPN2, 5:00 p.m. ET)
  • The New York Liberty traveling to the Connecticut Sun for an Eastern Conference rivalry game on July 20 (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET)
  • Becky Hammon returning to New York when the San Antonio Silver Stars play the Liberty on July 27 (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m. ET)
  • The Lynx and former No. 1 overall pick Seimone Augustus, who missed the majority of the 2009 season due to injury, taking on former No. 2 overall pick Sylvia Fowles and the Chicago Sky on Aug. 7 (ESPN2, 3 p.m. ET)

The 2010 WNBA regular season runs from Saturday, May 15 to Sunday, Aug. 22. Click here to see the complete 2010 regular season and game broadcast schedules.

Team-by-Team Schedules