Inside The W with Michelle Smith: Best Games in May

The 17 days that mark the first month of the 2021 WNBA season will be star-studded, storyline-rich and standard-setting in a historic 25th season. Let’s take a look at 12 of the most intriguing games on the schedule in May as the excitement builds toward tip-off weekend.

May 14 – Phoenix at Minnesota. One of the league’s best rivalries over the past decade, this will be a matchup loaded with star power and one of our favorite post matchups with Britney Griner taking on Sylvia Fowles in the paint. Neither Griner or Fowles played a full season in 2020, so it will be great to see them back on the floor together. It was just last fall that Minnesota knocked Phoenix out of the second round of the WNBA playoffs. Diana Taurasi forgets nothing. The Lynx will be playing their first game at the Target Center since 2019. Watch on CBS Sports Network.

May 14 – Indiana vs. New York. The season opener! Both of these teams found themselves out of the playoff picture a year ago, but both are looking to start strong. Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu will make her 2021 debut after her rookie season was cut short just three games in a year ago. Meanwhile, the Fever are still pretty young and very hungry to end a five-year playoff drought with the additions of rookie Kysre Gondrezick and veterans Danielle Robinson and Jantel Lavender. Watch on NBA TV.

May 15 – Las Vegas Aces at Seattle. This is a clash of the WNBA titans. The defending league champs will host the team that many regard as a title contender – at least before the announcement that Angel McCoughtry will miss the season with an ACL injury – in a game that will feature the league’s 2020 Finals MVP in Breanna Stewart and reigning league MVP A’ja Wilson. Will the fact that Liz Cambage is back and playing alongside Wilson give the Aces the edge? And would an early win over Seattle give Vegas a confidence boost that could set a tone for a title run? Watch on ABC.

May 15 – Chicago at Washington. This game will be notable for the debut of a pair of WNBA stars wearing new uniforms. Candace Parker will play her first game for her hometown Chicago Sky after Chicago signed her in the biggest move of the offseason. Meanwhile, it’s Tina Charles first game as a Washington Mystic after sitting out the 2020 season with a medical exemption. Watch on ABC.

May 18 – Minnesota Lynx at New York Liberty. This is going to be a great barometer game for the New York Liberty and Sabrina Ionescu against a deep and balanced Lynx squad that looks playoff worthy. Walt Hopkins served as an assistant coach for Cheryl Reeve in Minnesota for three seasons. He knows what the Lynx are capable of. With the additions of Natasha Howard and Betnijah Laney to a young roster that includes a majority of players with one year or less of WNBA experience, he will learn about his own team from this game. Watch on ESPN3.

May 21 – Connecticut at Phoenix. The Sun, looking to make their fifth straight WNBA playoffs, are welcoming Jonquel Jones back to the floor this season and they will need her against the Griner-led post game of the Mercury. It’s still a little strange to see DeWanna Bonner in something other than a Mercury uniform, but the Sun couldn’t be happier to have one of the league’s most versatile players on their roster. Watch on Facebook.

May 21 – Los Angeles at Las Vegas. The biggest storyline here will be watching Chelsea Gray play against her former team. But the matchups to watch will be inside as the Ogwumike sisters go to battle against Wilson and Cambage. Watch on CBS Sports Network.

May 23 – New York at Chicago. Watch this one for the point guard duel between Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot. Vandersloot has been the standard-setter and became the first player in league history to average double-digit assists last season. Ionescu finished her collegiate career with 1,091 assists. Dimes, anyone? Watch on ESPN.

May 25 – Atlanta at Chicago. If the Dream have designs on being a postseason team, finding out how they stack up against the stacked Sky team will be a good indication of their progress. Tiffany Hayes’ return after sitting out the 2020 season is going to make for one of the most interesting comeback stories in the league considering how much the Dream roster has changed – with the addition of Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams, Odyssey Sims and Aari McDonald – to the backcourt since Hayes’ last played. Watch on CBS Sports Network.

May 26 – Las Vegas at Phoenix. In the first game of the season between these two teams a year ago, they scored a combined 197 points with the Mercury coming out with the win. Lots of scoring again? Yes, please. Watch on CBS Sports Network.

May 27 – Dallas at Atlanta. Two of the league’s top three draft picks – No. 1 Charli Collier and No. 3 Aari McDonald – will face off in a game that matches two teams looking to find their way back in the WNBA playoffs this season. Watching Arike Ogunbowale, the league’s leading scorer last season, match offensive firepower with Atlanta’s young gun in Chennedy Carter will be a blast. Watch on WNBA League Pass.

May 28 – Los Angeles at Chicago. Candace Parker, wearing a Sky uniform, faces off against her old team. That alone is worth the price of admission. But bring veteran guards Kristi Toliver and Seimone Augustus vs. Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley to the party, and two of the league’s most efficient scorers in Nneka Ogwumike and Chicago youngster Ruthy Hebard, and there is a lot to enjoy. Watch on CBS Sports Network.

May 28 – Minnesota at Seattle. The Lynx and the Storm are matching up for the first time since their 2020 WNBA semifinals series, with Seattle closing out with a three-game sweep on the way to their WNBA title. The Storm were 5-0 against Minnesota last season, so the Lynx will be looking to set a strong tone against one of the league’s best teams with a big road win. Watch on CBS Sports Network.

May 29 – Phoenix at Dallas. This matchup has all the makings of a 3-point shootout considering that both of these teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the league last season in made 3-pointers. The two teams split their season series in 2020 with Ogunbowale putting up 55 total points. Watch on WNBA League Pass.

May 30 – Connecticut at Minnesota. A matchup between Jonquel Jones and Sylvia Fowles is definitely a must-see in the WNBA. At this point in the season, both teams should begin to find their grooves, and it will be interesting to see, in particular, how the Sun have been able to fill the gap left by the season-ending injury to Alyssa Thomas and how Bonner and Jones are learning to play together. Watch on WNBA League Pass.

Longtime WNBA reporter Michelle Smith writes a weekly column on throughout the season. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.