WNBA sets 22 game season for late July in Bradenton

The WNBA on Monday announced plans to play a reduced season, with a 22-game schedule that would begin in late July with all of the games being played in Bradenton without fans in attendance

“There’s a lot to do between now and the tip of the season, now that we’ve selected IMG Academy” as the location to play, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a phone interview. “My hope is the July 24 date will stick. We have scenarios and plans to lift and shift the tip of the season. It could slip to a couple of days later. We want to have the appropriate number of days for training camp.”

Players and team officials for the league’s 12 teams would be housed at IMG and hold training camps there.

Engelbert, who said she had a site visit at IMG, hopes to have teams in Florida by the first week of July to start training camps.

The season had been postponed indefinitely in April because of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak.

Officials stated that the top eight teams would move on to the playoffs, maintaining the normal format with the first two rounds being single-elimination. The top two seeds would have byes until the semifinals.

The playoffs would begin in the middle of September and end in early October.

In the 22-game schedule would be two head-to-head games and the details would be announced soon.

The The IMG facility has four courts, but the WNBA remains open to playing games at other sites, which points to game possibly coming to St. Petersburg and/or Tampa.

Players would receive their entire salaries for the year despite playing a schedule that’s only about two-thirds the length of the 36-game one that was supposed to start May 15.

“It was an important message the owners said to pay the players 100%,” Engelbert said. “There are people taking pay cuts in the country and people being furloughed. It was a really important signal from the owners and the league.”

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