The New York Liberty’s opening matchup with the Seattle Storm will officially open WNBA proceedings in the Bradenton bubble.
The New York Liberty will help officially christen the WNBA bubble setup in Bradenton, Florida…affectionately referred to as the “Wubble” by participants and media…on July 25. New York’s 2020 debut will officially open the 2020 season, the WNBA’s 24th year of operation, as they take on the Seattle Storm.
Each of the league’s dozen squads is currently headquartered at IMG Academy preparing for a 22-game season. Games will take place on two courts set up at Feld Entertainment Center in nearby Palmetto. The Liberty’s tilt with Seattle will tip-off at noon Eastern Time and be televised nationally on ESPN. It is part of a WNBA tripleheader to open the season, with a Western Conference title between the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury following at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. Opening day proceedings wrap up with the defending champion Washington Mystics taking on the Indiana Fever two hours later.
The premiere showdown against Seattle will serve as the professional debut for Sabrina Ionescu, New York’s top overall pick of April’s WNBA Draft. Ionescu is one of six rookies on the Liberty roster, which also welcomes back All-Star Kia Nurse. Ionescu’s debut coincides with the return of Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird for Seattle. The pair were key factors behind the Storm’s 2018 WNBA Finals run, which saw Stewart earn seasonal MVP honors and Bird don her third championship ring. They both missed all of last season with injuries, their ailments relegating Seattle to a sixth-place finish in the standings. The Storm would top Minnesota in the playoff quarterfinals before falling to Los Angeles.
Other key dates for the Liberty include…
July 29 (Dallas)-The youngest teams in the WNBA will square off over 3,000 miles from the University of Oregon, the alma mater of Ionescu and Satou Sabally. Dallas’ top pick heard her name called minutes after her fellow former Duck as the second overall choice last spring.
August 5 (Minnesota)-The first of two matchups with the Lynx will be a nostalgic time for each team’s respective bench. Liberty head coach Walt Hopkins spent the past three seasons as a Minnesota assistant (winning the 2017 WNBA Finals). His seat has since been occupied by Naismith Hall-of-Famer Katie Smith, who spent the last seven years in the Liberty organization, the last two as head coach.
August 7 (Washington)-Traded to the Mystics this offseason, it remains to be seen if Tina Charles, the Liberty’s all-time leading scorer, as she awaits medical clearance to partake in Floridian proceedings. It will nonetheless be the first of two meetings with the defending WNBA champions.
August 20 (Chicago)-Another Oregon reunion awaits Ionescu, as the Sky chose Ruthy Hebard with the seventh overall pick in April.
August 29 (Las Vegas)-In addition to another get-together with former head coach Bill Laimbeer (who has gone 5-1 against New York since taking the Aces’ job in 2018), this game has added meaning as the WNBA’s network debut on CBS.
All put six games on the Liberty’s current schedule have earned a national window on the networks of ESPN and CBS. An updated schedule on the team’s YES Network flagship television station will be released at a later date.
Check out the full Liberty schedule below…
|July 25||Seattle||12 p.m.||ESPN|
|July 29||Dallas||8 p.m.||CBSSN|
|July 31||Atlanta||7 p.m.||TBD|
|August 2||Phoenix||1 p.m.||ESPN|
|August 5||Minnesota||7 p.m.||CBSSN|
|August 7||Washington||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|August 9||Las Vegas||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|August 11||Los Angeles||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|August 13||Indiana||6 p.m.||TBD|
|August 15||Minnesota||6 p.m.||CBSSN|
|August 18||Seattle||10 p.m.||TBD|
|August 20||Chicago||7 p.m.||CBSSN|
|August 22||Connecticut||4 p.m.||CBSSN|
|August 25||Chicago||7 p.m.||CBSSN|
|August 27||Dallas||8 p.m.||CBSSN|
|August 29||Las Vegas||4 p.m.||CBS|
|September 1||Connecticut||7 p.m.||CBSSN|
|September 3||Atlanta||7 p.m.||TBD|
|September 5||Phoenix||8 p.m.||TBD|
|September 8||Los Angeles||7 p.m.||CBSSN|
|September 10||Indiana||7 p.m.||CBSSN|
|September 12||Washington||4 p.m.||TBD|
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags