The WNBA in 2023 will have 40 regular-season games, the most in league history. Major events won’t impact the league’s calendar next summer or fall, with no Olympics or FIBA World Cup. Stricter prioritization regulations go into effect, meaning late arrivals for the season will be a no-go. And with five of the 12 teams under new coaches, many eyes will be on how those franchises adjust to new leadership.
The Las Vegas Aces won their first WNBA title under Becky Hammon, whose coaching career in the league began last year. The Aces’ WNBA Finals opponent, the Connecticut Sun, will be guided now by former league player and coach Stephanie White. Hammon and White played against each other in the WNBA, both entering the league in 1999 after graduating from college.
The Aces-Sun matchups are among many we are looking forward to watching next summer. While we don’t know for sure exactly what the teams will look like personnel-wise — free agent signings don’t begin until Feb. 1 and will shake up some things — we can examine 10 games that right now appear intriguing.
Las Vegas Aces at Seattle Storm
Saturday, May 20, 3 p.m. ET
A rematch of their 2022 semifinal, although Storm legend Sue Bird has retired. Will free agent Breanna Stewart still be with the Storm? Without Bird, it’s a new era for Seattle, and that will be even more the case if Stewart is gone. As for the Aces, they will be trying to be the first team to repeat since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-2002.
The 2021 champion Sky have so many roster questions, with players like Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Emma Meesseman as unrestricted free agents. The Mystics have their core of Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins under contract, and now have Eric Thibault taking over from his father, Mike, as head coach.
The Fever and the Lynx will draft 1-2 in April, so this projects as the first matchup of the top two picks. That might be South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and Stanford’s Haley Jones, who might be coming off an NCAA championship match in April.
Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury
Tuesday, June 13, 10 p.m. ET
Will the Mercury and the NBA’s Suns have new ownership by this point? The Mercury might be in their second season without Brittney Griner, who is imprisoned in Russia. Diana Taurasi , whose 41st birthday is two days before this game, has indicated she expects to play in 2023. The Mercury made the 2022 playoffs, but dealt with a lot.
Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks
Sunday, June 18, 7:30 p.m. ET
New Sparks coach Curt Miller will face the Sun, whom he led to two WNBA Finals appearances in seven seasons at Connecticut. Los Angeles currently has just five players under contract, although face-of-the-franchise Nneka Ogwumike, an unrestricted free agent, has made it pretty clear she wants to return.
Seattle Storm at New York Liberty
Saturday, July 8, 7 p.m. ET
The Liberty had their moments last season, but can they become a WNBA championship team in the next few years? They currently don’t have all the pieces needed to do it, or a ton of cap space. But let’s see what the team looks like by the start of the season.
Connecticut Sun at Chicago Sky
Wednesday, July 12, noon ET
Under White, the Sun hope to finally get to the last step: winning a championship. They lost to the Sky in the 2021 semifinals and beat Chicago in the same round in 2022. This will be the second of four matchups between the Sun and Sky.
Los Angeles Sparks at Dallas Wings
Saturday, July 22, 8 p.m. ET
This will be the fourth time next season new Wings coach Latricia Trammell will face a Sparks team for which she was an assistant coach for four seasons before going to Dallas. Miller had some interest in Dallas before opting for Los Angeles, where he previously had been an assistant. By this point, we might know if the Wings are a team capable of more than just making the playoffs.
Las Vegas Aces at Chicago Sky
Tuesday, July 25, 7 p.m. ET
Many thought these teams would meet in the WNBA Finals last season, as they tied at 26-10 atop the league. It wasn’t to be: Game 5 of the semifinals got away late from Chicago against Connecticut. The Aces and Sky are in very different positions this offseason; Las Vegas has all its key players signed for 2023, including two-time MVP A’ja Wilson. Chicago, as mentioned, has many questions.
Atlanta Dream at Indiana Fever
Sunday, Aug. 27, 4 p.m. ET
This game could be about two teams that have made dramatic improvements with the 2022 (Rhyne Howard) and 2023 No. 1 picks and are making playoff runs. Or it could be that the Dream and the Fever will once again be looking at the draft lottery.
Washington Mystics vs. Las Vegas Aces
Thursday Aug. 31, 10 p.m. ET
The Mystics did well in regulating Delle Donne’s schedule last season to keep her as rested as possible and not put excessive strain on her back due to travel. This will be the first of a three-game stretch on the West Coast near the end of the regular season, and Delle Donne might be geared up for what could be a key run for Washington.
Phoenix Mercury at Minnesota Lynx
Sunday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m.
Last season, the Lynx missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and star center Sylvia Fowles retired. The lottery went Minnesota’s way, though, giving them the second pick, and they expect Napheesa Collier back strong after maternity leave kept her out most of last season. Both these teams could need a big win here for playoff position.