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Griner’s WNBA return kicks off ESPN, ABC slate

Are superteams good for the WNBA? (2:10)The Around the Horn crew discusses the impact that the loaded rosters of the Aces and Liberty will have on the WNBA. (2:10)Mar 8, 2023M.A. CloseM.A. Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has

Griner’s WNBA return kicks off ESPN, ABC slate

Are superteams good for the WNBA? (2:10)

The Across the Horn crew discusses the influence that the loaded rosters of the Aces and Liberty can have on the WNBA. (2:10)

Mar 8, 2023

  • M.A.


      M.A. Voepel covers the WNBA, girls’s faculty basketball, and different faculty sports activities for espnW. Voepel started overlaying girls’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Brittney Griner‘s return to the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury would be the first of 25 regular-season broadcasts on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 this season, it was introduced Wednesday.

The networks may even air playoff video games, and the WNBA All-Star Sport will make its ABC primetime debut July 15 in Las Vegas (8:30 p.m. ET).

Griner, who missed final season after she was detained for 10 months in Russia earlier than her launch in a high-profile prisoner swap, will make her return with the Phoenix Mercury as they go to the Los Angeles Sparks when the season suggestions off Could 19 (11 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App).

Griner, who additionally performed professional basketball in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February 2022 after Russian authorities stated she was carrying vape canisters with hashish oil. The U.S. State Division had declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained.” She returned to the US in December and signed in February with the Mercury, who drafted her No. 1 in 2013.

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As a part of the printed protection, there is also “WNBA Countdown offered by Google,” an ESPN-produced pregame present that can air earlier than a minimum of 10 regular-season broadcasts and throughout the postseason.

“As we get set to tip off our twenty seventh season, ESPN is as soon as once more stepping up as an extremely engaged broadcast companion for the WNBA,” league commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated in a press release. “We’re grateful that ESPN will present important alternatives to inform the tales of the unbelievable gamers throughout the league in 2023.

“From tip-off weekend by the extremely anticipated postseason, ESPN and Google will proceed to serve our rising fan base and ship a sturdy nationwide platform for WNBA gamers with recreation broadcasts and new, regular-season pregame reveals.”

Opening weekend additionally consists of an ABC doubleheader on Could 20 that options the Atlanta Dream visiting the Dallas Wings (1 p.m. ET) and the Seattle Storm internet hosting the defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces.

The Dream acquired guard Allisha Gray, the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Yr, from Dallas by way of a commerce in January. On Tuesday, the Dream prolonged Grey’s contract by 2025, a supply informed ESPN.

Seattle misplaced coveted free agent Breanna Stewart to the New York Liberty and Sue Chicken to retirement, however the group returns All-Star Jewell Loyd. The Aces are led by WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and fellow standouts Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young, and so they additionally added free agent Candace Parker.

Two of Stewart’s video games in opposition to her former group may even air on the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 platform when the Liberty and the Storm conflict in Seattle on Could 30 (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET), and in New York on July 8 (ESPN, 1:30 p.m. ET).

The opening weekend concludes Could 21, when the Mercury host the Chicago Sky in a rematch of the 2021 WNBA Finals (4 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Star guard Courtney Vandersloot left the Sky in free company and joined Stewart in New York. The Liberty, who additionally added 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones in a commerce, can have 9 regular-season video games proven on ESPN platforms. The Aces will seem seven instances.

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New York and Las Vegas meet on ABC on Aug. 6 (3 p.m. ET).

Six groups will probably be showcased 4 instances: Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, the Washington Mystics and the Connecticut Sun.

“As ESPN enters its twenty seventh season with the WNBA, we proceed to raise our protection of this distinctive league with premier broadcast home windows, expanded studio programming and best-in-class storytelling,” stated Matt Kenny, ESPN’s vice chairman of programming and acquisitions. “Our ongoing collaboration with the WNBA resulted in unprecedented progress and success final yr and we now have a marquee schedule that can as soon as once more showcase the league’s greatest gamers and groups throughout ESPN platforms.”

The WNBA’s full tv and streaming schedule for all networks will probably be introduced at a later date.

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