The WNBA will return later this month in Florida
A cute puppy carrying a tennis ball. A rocking Mohegan Sun Arena.
Ear-to-ear smiles from Erica Wheeler, Kelsey Mitchell and Tyasha Harris.
When the WNBA begins its 2020 season later this month at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., it will be one of the first professional team-sport leagues to resume play after the COVID-19 hiatus, and the aforementioned players and their teams — and yes, a giddy Australian shepherd — expressed excitement about it Wednesday on Twitter.
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Teams are scheduled to report to the west coast of Florida for training camps in the coming days, per the WNBA’s June 15 statement.
One player who’s likely now more excited than any other is Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who expressed disappointment (see below) with this week’s ESPN WNBA power ranking. The veteran guard, who sat out the 2019 season after giving birth and is entering her first campaign with the Mercury, was shocked (or maybe it’s bewildered) that her team checked in at No. 6 on the 12-team.
The day was also a celebration for the league’s three Canadian-born players.
WNBA play begins *this* month
Four teams took to Twitter to point out, given all goes well with Coronavirus testing, the league will resume play this month. Other than the National Women’s Soccer League, no North American team sports have been played since March.
WNBA players and teams celebrated Canada Day on Wednesday, including the league’s three resident players who hail from the Great White North: Natalie Achonwa (Indiana Fever), Kayla Alexander (Minnesota Lynx) and Kia Nurse (New York Liberty).
Nurse — who’s regarded as Canada’s greatest women’s basketball product — averaged 13.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season, all career highs. Alexander played three games for the Chicago Sky and averaged three points and 2.3 rebounds in just 6.6 minutes per game. Achonwa enters her fifth season with Indiana after averaging 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season.
One Seattle guard was born in Los Angeles, but the Storm decided to honor her anyway.