It is time to circle some dates on the calendar. The 2023 WNBA schedule was released on Wednesday, and we’ve reviewed all 240 matchups – the most in the WNBA since 2002, as all 12 teams will play a record-high 40 games apiece this upcoming season – to find ten games you should not miss.
In the most recent collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ association, the number of games in the regular season could be increased to a maximum of 44 games. And with no major international competitions – Olympics or FIBA World Cup – to take dates away from the calendar, the league opted to increase the total games played to 40 for 2023. It is another step toward growing the league by giving fans more opportunities to see the best players in the world compete at the highest level.
Note: All broadcast schedules will be released at a later date.
Las Vegas Aces at Seattle Storm
Saturday, May 20, 3:00 PM ET
Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, WA
The Aces’ title defense begins with a rematch of their semifinal series with the Seattle Storm, which Las Vegas won in four games (3-1) to advance to the WNBA Finals. While the Aces are bringing back the full core of their squad – we’ll have to see when Dearica Hamby will be ready to play in 2023 as she announced her pregnancy at Las Vegas’ championship celebration – the Storm are set to enter a new era following the retirement of Sue Bird. Seattle’s roster is loaded with free agents – none bigger than two-time Finals MVP Breanna Stewart – so the Storm may look a bit different than when we last saw them face the Aces.
1. Los Angeles Sparks at Las Vegas Aces
Saturday, May 27, 9:00 PM ET
Michelob ULTRA Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Aces open the season with road games at Seattle (May 20) and at Los Angeles (May 25) before making their home debut as the defending champions on May 27 against the Sparks. The Aces will hang the first championship banner in franchise history — a history that dates back to the start of the WNBA in 1997 as the Utah Starzz continued in San Antonio from 2003-2017 and finally came to Las Vegas in 2018.
2. Indiana Fever at Atlanta Dream
Sunday, May 28, 3:00 PM ET
Gateway Center Arena @ College Park, Atlanta, GA
The matchup with the two most recent No. 1 overall picks in the WNBA Draft. The Dream held the top pick in 2022 and selected Rhyne Howard, who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors as she led all rookies (and ranked 11th overall in the league) at 16.2 points per game. The Fever holds the No. 1 pick in the 2023 Draft after winning the draft lottery for the first time in franchise history. The Fever had the youngest team in the league last season – a roster that consisted of seven rookies – and will add another piece this April that can help them climb out of the cellar and back into the playoff picture.
3. Las Vegas Aces at Connecticut Sun
Tuesday, June 6, 7:00 PM ET
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
The Las Vegas Aces will return to Mohegan Sun for the first time since winning their first WNBA title on September 18, 2022. A total of 262 days will have passed since the Sun players were forced to see another team celebrate a championship on their home court, only adding more fuel to their fire to get back to the Finals and avenge that loss. This is the first game of a two-game set over the span of three days in Connecticut, a scheduling quirk that will make this resemble the two games played in one city during a playoff series.
4. Dallas Wings at Phoenix Mercury
Tuesday, June 27, 10:00 PM ET
Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
If you’re looking for a matchup of high-scoring guards, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top five scorers in WNBA history based on scoring average (with a minimum of 100 games played): Cynthia Cooper (21.0 ppg), Breanna Stewart (20.3), Elena Delle Donne (19.8), Arike Ogunbowale (19.8) and Diana Taurasi (19.3). This game features the player with the most WNBA scoring titles (five: 2006, 2008-11) and most total points scored in league history (9,693) in Taurasi against the first player to win the WNBA scoring title before their third season in the league in Ogunbowale (2020).
5. Connecticut Sun at Chicago Sky
Wednesday, July 12, 12:00 PM ET
Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
The last day of action prior to the All-Star break features a rematch of the WNBA playoff semifinal from each of the past two seasons. In 2021, Chicago upset the top-ranked Sun in four games (3-1) and went on to win their first WNBA title. Last season, the Sun ended Chicago’s hopes for a title repeat by ousting the defending champs in five games (3-2) and advancing to the WNBA Finals, where they came up short against Las Vegas. Will this be a preview of a third-straight postseason meeting between these two perennial playoff teams?
6. Washington Mystics at Minnesota Lynx
Wednesday, July 26, 8:00 PM ET
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
This is an intriguing coaching matchup as you have the longest-tenured coach in WNBA history with Cheryl Reeve getting ready to open her 14th season leading the Minnesota Lynx, taking on a first-time head coach Eric Thibault as he takes over the reins of the Washington Mystics from his father Mike Thibault, who retired as the winningest coaching in league history with 379 wins. The Lynx missed the playoffs in 2022, snapping a streak of 11 straight playoff appearances. Reeve will look to get the Lynx back in the postseason but will have to do so without legendary center Sylvia Fowles, who retired at the end of last season. While the elder Thibault is no longer coaching, he is still leading basketball operations as general manager, and he has work to do as the Mystics currently have only five players under contract and a bunch of free agents from last year’s squad.
7. Chicago Sky at New York Liberty
Friday, August 11, 7:30 PM ET
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
This is a rematch of last year’s first-round series, won by the Sky in three games (2-1). It is also a matchup between two of the three players with at least three career triple-doubles: Sabrina Ionescu and Candace Parker with three apiece, trailing only Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas with four. While the Sky has a number of marquee players entering free agency – Courtney Vandersloot, Candace Parker, Emma Meesseman, Azura’ Stevens, and Allie Quigley are all unrestricted – the Liberty will return much of their core that is coming off their most wins since 2017, but has suffered two straight first-round playoff exits.
Los Angeles Sparks at Connecticut Sun
8. Sunday, August 27, 1:00 PM ET
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
We have yet to hit free agency or the offseason trade market, so we can’t circle any dates of a player returning to face their former team. But we can with coaches, most notably Curt Miller, returning to Connecticut – where he coached for seven seasons (2016-2022), winning Coach of the Year honors twice, turning the Sun into a perennial playoff team and title contender, compiling a 140-86 (.619) regular season record and 16-17 (.485) playoff record with two appearances in the WNBA Finals. After the Sun’s loss to Las Vegas in the 2022 WNBA Finals, Miller and Sun agreed to part ways, and he took the head coaching job in Los Angeles, where he began his WNBA coaching career as an assistant. Replacing Miller for the Sun is Stephanie White, who served as head coach in Indiana for two seasons (2015-16) before coaching at Vanderbilt for the past five years.
Potential Final Home Games
The final spot on the list is being held for two potentially huge games as they involve two of the league’s all-time greats – Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi – who have both announced their intentions to play in 2023 as retirement speculation has swirled around them since the end of last season.
In 2022, we saw Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles take their final bows – both announcing that it would be their last season in the WNBA – and teams and fans from across the league celebrated them throughout the season. But it was the home finale for each player that really stood out, as the tribute from the home crowds was overwhelming in recognition of what those players gave to the game and to their respective cities.
Now, we have no idea if Parker or Taurasi will hang up their kicks at the end of the 2023 season – both have taken time in the offseason to ultimately make that decision. But if this is the end of the road for one or both of them, it will be fitting to celebrate them during these two games – both of which will be played on the same day:
9. Minnesota Lynx at Chicago Sky
Friday, September 8, 8:00 PM ET
Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
While Parker spent the majority of her career in Los Angeles, she joined her hometown team in 2021 and brought the franchise its first WNBA title. Parker has said how special the experience was to play and win in front of her friends and family in the greater Chicago area.
10. Las Vegas Aces at Phoenix Mercury
Friday, September 8, 10:00 PM ET
Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Taurasi has played her entire WNBA career with the Phoenix Mercury, joining the team as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft. She’s led the Mercury to three championships and is the league’s all-time leading scorer.
Longtime WNBA reporter Brian Martin writes articles on WNBA.com throughout the season. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.