The countdown to the WNBA’s 20th season is officially on.
And the landmark anniversary is not just a reason to celebrate the past 19 years; after Thursday’s schedule release, it’s also a time to look forward to the league’s bright future — a future that will come in full focus starting with a marquee Opening Night.
Here are 20 dates to highlight on the 2016 WNBA schedule (part 3):
June 25: Tamika’s Homecoming
Before she became a women’s basketball great, Tamika Catchings grew her legend at Duncanville High School right outside of Dallas. She was named an All-American, recorded the only known quintuple-double at any level, and went on to bigger things as a Tennessee Volunteer.
In June, the 36-year-old returns to Texas — where the Tulsa Shock have relocated — as the WNBA’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer and rebounder in a game Catchings surely has highlighted on her farewell tour.
June 28: Shoni Madness in Seattle
Dream head coach Michael Cooper has compared flashy guard Shoni Schimmel’s visits to Seattle to “a rock star coming to town.” This year, the show rolls into the Emerald City in late June in what will surely be a charged atmosphere at Key Arena.
Raised on a reservation in nearby Oregon, Schimmel has a huge Native American fan base she will be looking to entertain. Between Schimmel, backcourt mate Angel McCoughtry, Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd, this matchup will offer plenty of intrigue.
July 1: Star-Studded Weekend
There will be plenty of hoops to go around on July 4 weekend, which tips off with a three-game slate on Friday, July 1: San Antonio-Indiana, Washington-Chicago and New York-Phoenix.
Saturday and Sunday will feature two more games apiece before the league rests for the holiday.
July 15: McCoughtry, Catchings Meet for (Potentially) Final Time
You won’t find two fiercer competitors than Angel McCoughtry and Tamika Catchings. Since McCoughtry entered the league in 2009, the Dream and Fever have combined to win the East six times in seven seasons, meeting in the playoffs three times.
Their July 15 game could be the two stars’ final clash — unless, of course, another postseason series is in the cards.
July 23 – August 24: Break for Summer Olympics
All eyes will turn to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the month as the U.S. Women’s National Team aims for its sixth straight gold medal. Which WNBA stars make the cut for the roster and which take the lead on the world’s stage? Follow the storylines at WNBA.com, before the home stretch back in the States.