WNBA Tips Off 15th Season with 12 Preseason Games in 12 Cities, Including Manchester, England

NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2010 � Prior to tip-off of the WNBA�s 15th regular season, the league will play 12 preseason games in 12 cities, including a pair of games featuring WNBA teams and international squads. The preseason begins on May 24 with a 12 p.m. CT matinee between the Indiana Fever and Minnesota Lynx at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.

The games will take on an international flavor when the Phoenix Mercury hosts the JX Sunflowers, 2010 champions of the Women's Japan Basketball League at US Airways center on May 24. Five days later on May 29 the defending Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream will participate in the first WNBA game to be played in Europe. The game, against an opponent to be announced at a later date, will be played at the 18,095-seat Manchester Evening News Arena as part of a new, multiyear partnership between the Manchester City Council and the National Basketball Association.

These contests against international foes come on the heels of the 2009 preseason in which the Los Angeles Sparks, San Antonio Silver Stars and the Phoenix Mercury hosted the China National Team and the Connecticut Sun hosted the Poland National Team.

WNBA teams will play an additional four games in non-WNBA arenas, highlighted by the Chicago Sky squaring off against the New York Liberty at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. on May 27 and by the Phoenix Mercury game against the Los Angeles Sparks at �The Pit� on the campus of the University of New Mexico on May 28. In other games in non-WNBA markets, the Sparks will host the Seattle Storm at the Torodome at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif. on May 25, and the Connecticut Sun will host the San Antonio Silver Stars at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Penn. on May 27.

The WNBA will tip off its 15th regular season on Friday, June 3, with the Lynx visiting the Sparks, highlighted by the return to action of former MVP Candace Parker for the Sparks. The defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm, along with reigning MVP Lauren Jackson and All-Star Sue Bird, begins its title defense when it hosts league scoring champion, Diana Taurasi, and the Phoenix Mercury on Saturday, June 4, in a nationally-televised game on ABC.

The full preseason schedule is as follows:

Day Date Visiting Team Home Team Local Time Venue City
Tues.May 24 Indiana Minnesota12:00 p.m.Concordia UniversitySt. Paul, Minn.
Tues.May 24JX Sunflowers (Japan)Phoenix7:00 p.m.US Airways CenterPhoenix, Ariz.
Wed.May 25WashingtonNew York10:30 a.m.Prudential CenterNewark, NJ
Wed.May 25SeattleLos Angeles12:00 p.m.Torodome (Cal State D. Hills) Carson, Calif.
Wed.May 25 San AntonioConnecticut7:00 p.m.Mohegan Sun ArenaUncasville, Conn.
Thurs.May 26ChicagoWashington11:30 a.m.Verizon CenterWashington, D.C.
Fri.May 27San AntonioConnecticut7:00 p.m.Mohegan Sun ArenaWilkes Barre, Penn.
Fri.May 27ChicagoNew York7:00 p.m. Times Union CenterAlbany, N.Y.
Sat.May 28PhoenixLos Angeles7:00 p.m.University Arena (�The Pit�) Albuquerque, N.M.
Sun.May 29AtlantaTBD5:00 p.m.Manchester Evening News ArenaManchester, Eng.
*Sun.May 29TulsaSeattle2:00 p.m.KeyArenaSeattle, Wash.
Tues.May 31MinnesotaIndiana7:00 p.m.Conseco FieldhouseIndianapolis, Ind.

* The previous WNBA game played outside the United States was a preseason contest between the San Antonio Silver Stars and Detroit Shock at the Arena de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico, on May 6, 2004.