The details surrounding the WNBA’s 20th season are beginning to come into focus as the full schedule has been released, an innovative new postseason format has been implemented, and players are starting to sign during free agency.
But before teams can start thinking about the WNBA Playoffs, which will see the top eight teams qualify based on record regardless of conference affiliation, they have to take care of business during the regular season.
Do to the new balanced schedule, each team’s slate features interesting wrinkles and the Liberty is no exception. Take closer look at what the 2016 season has in store for New York:
WE’RE GOING BACK-TO-BACK
The Libs open the season with a back-to-back. The first regular season game is at Washington on May 14, at 7 p.m., before the squad makes its Madison Square Garden debut the following evening against the Dallas Wings (formerly Tulsa Shock).
New York had five instances of back-to-back games during the 2015 season, but those difficult circumstances are not nearly as prevalent this year. After the opening weekend, the Liberty plays twice in as many days just one more time, at Washington (July 20) and home to Indiana (July 21), right before the Olympic Break.
On the heals of opening night at Washington, the Liberty returns home to play five-consecutive games at The Garden from May 15-June 3, so getting off to good start will be key. However, there is no such thing as an easy game in the WNBA and the Liberty’s early season home stand features four 2015 playoff teams, including both WNBA Finals participants.
Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks call on New York Saturday, June 21, followed three days later by a matchup with Eastern Conference rival Atlanta.
New York will have a week to regroup, but then things really get interesting. The defending champion Lynx come to town on May 31, and then on June 3 is the first of four meetings with Indiana.
The Liberty never plays more than three-straight games on the road, but it will do so three times between June 5 and July 3. That features two clusters of games against all Western Conference foes, including two contests at Los Angeles.
The first western swing features Seattle (June 5), Los Angeles (June 7) and San Antonio (June 11). Towards the end of the month the Liberty racks up the miles once again, with games at Minnesota (June 29), Phoenix (July 1) and back to Los Angeles (July 3).
The good news – after all of that time away from home, New York plays consecutive road games just once more all season.
BACK IN ACTION
Following a break for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, the Liberty returns to the court at San Antonio on August 26, then will travel to Indianapolis for the last of four regular season meetings with the Fever.
SPRINT TO THE FINISH
The final two weeks of the regular season will prove to be a test, with New York playing six games in 13 days. Four of those matchups will be at home, including three straight in early September for what is the second-longest home stand of the year.
After those games against Phoenix (September 3), Seattle (September 7) and Connecticut (Sept. 9), New York makes its only trip to Dallas (Sept. 11), then plays its regular season home finale against the Mystics (Sept. 13) and ends with its second trip to the Windy City to face the Sky (Sept. 16).