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WNBA releases 2017 schedule with intriguing opening day matchup

JUL 19 2016: Indiana Fever forward Lynetta Kizer (12) and Indiana Fever guard Shenise Johnson (42) bocks out LA Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) during the game between the Los Angeles Sparks at Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. The Indiana Fever defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 92-82. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire)
Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire

The WNBA will begin its 21st season on Saturday, May 13 in 2017, with three games, highlighted by the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks hosting the Seattle Storm.

Los Angeles, who is led by 2016 WNBA regular-season MVP Nneka Ogwumike and Final MVP Candace Parker, will receive its championship rings prior in a pregame ceremony. After that, fans will get to witness the defending champions take on the reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year Breanna Stewart and nine-time All-Star Sue Bird.

Including the opening day matchup, the Sparks will make four appearances on ESPN and the Storm will have three. The Minnesota Lynx, who have won the WNBA title three times, will also appear on ESPN on three occasions. The Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury will each be on the major network twice.

The WNBA and the Disney company have pretty much set it up so every single telecast on ESPN is must-watch television for women’s basketball fans. Eight of the nine regular-season telecasts on either ESPN or ESPN2 will feature at least one former league MVP, and six of the nine matchups will include a WNBA champion from the last six seasons.

All nine of ESPN’s telecasts will have at least one former No. 1 overall pick, and six of the matchups will have two former No. 1 picks going head-to-head.

The other two opening day games for the league will feature the San Antonio Stars visiting the New York Liberty and the Atlanta Dream at the Connecticut Sun.

After telecasting nine regular-season games, ESPN and ESPN2 could also air up to 20 additional playoff games.

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