Storm Season Tips Off May 20

The Seattle Storm has announced its 34-game schedule for the 2004 regular season, the franchise�s fifth year in the WNBA.

Led by 2003 WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson and two-time All-WNBA guard Sue Bird, the Storm�s opening weekend includes the season opener against Minnesota at KeyArena on Thursday, May 20 and a matchup vs. the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, May 22. The Sparks will also visit Seattle in the regular season finale on Saturday, Sept. 18.

Katie Smith and the Minnesota Lynx are the Storm's opening night opponent May 20.
WNBAE/Getty Images
�I am thrilled to have the schedule in my hands as I continue to increase our preparation for the season,� Storm Head Coach Anne Donovansaid. �This is a great schedule for us, as there are fewer back-to-back games. The prospect of facing strong competition early against the West teams excites me as we strive to return to the playoffs this year.�

Highlighting the Storm schedule is a matchup against the New York Liberty at Spokane Arena on Saturday, June 26, marking the first-ever WNBA regular season game to be held at an out-of-market venue.

�We are very excited about hosting two great teams in Minnesota and Los Angeles for our opening weekend, and we look forward to many weekend games this summer which Storm fans will enjoy,� Storm Chief Operating Officer Karen Bryant said. �Hosting a Storm game in Spokane represents a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase WNBA basketball in our state�s second-largest market.�

Other notable games include the 2003 WNBA Champion Detroit Shock making their only visit to Seattle on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and a �Kids Day� game at 12 p.m. on Thursday, July 22 against Indiana. Unlike previous years, all WNBA teams will play at KeyArena this season.

The Storm will have three games televised nationally on ESPN2 � Thursday, June 3 vs. Phoenix, Saturday, July 10 at Detroit and Sunday, Sept. 12 at Connecticut.

In order to accommodate the approximately 30 WNBA players expected to represent their countries at the 2004 Olympic Games being held August 13-28 in Athens, Greece, the WNBA has lengthened the 2004 season by four weeks and will not play regular season games from August 2 to August 31. Players not representing their countries during the Olympics will participate in a variety of activities that celebrate the sport of women�s basketball, taking part in community outreach initiatives such as �WNBA Mind. Body. Spirit.,� �Read To Achieve,� and �Jr. WNBA.� Teams will also run basketball camps and host viewing parties throughout the Olympic Games.

The 2004 WNBA regular season ends on Sunday, September 19, with the playoffs scheduled to begin on Friday, September 24. The WNBA Finals will begin on Friday, October 8.

The Storm preseason schedule will be announced at a later date.

For information on 2004 Storm season tickets, click here.