A few days before the draft, the Minnesota Lynx released their 2021 regular-season schedule. The WNBA will kick off its 25th season on May 14 with four games between eight teams. Action begins at 6 p.m. CT between the Indiana Fever and the New York Liberty, followed by the Connecticut Sun vs. the Atlanta Dream at 6:30 p.m. CT, the Phoenix Mercury vs. Minnesota at 8 p.m. CT, and the Dallas Wings vs. the Los Angeles Sparks at 9:30 p.m. CT. The rest of the league will begin action over the weekend.
The season, which will run through Sept. 19 before postseason play begins, will feature 32 games rather than the normal 36. Last year the entirety of the season was played in a bubble location in Bradenton, Fla., but WNBA teams will be returning to their home markets next year with a limited number of fans on site to begin the season.
The Lynx enter 2021 with a somewhat retooled roster — and new-look uniforms — at home in Minneapolis against the Phoenix Mercury. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. CT.
Outside of the home opener, Minnesota will have a total of five games in the first month of the season (three at home, two away), 10 games in June (five home, five away), four in July (one home, three away), six in August (three home, three away), and seven games in September (four home, three away). Their longest homestand comes at the end of August through early September, when they have four-straight games at Target Center. The longest stretch on the road the team will have is a three-game trip in mid-June and a three-game trip in mid-August.
The WNBA will celebrate its historic 25th season with several new features this season beyond a new league basketball and new jerseys for all 12 teams — plus the return of the All-Star Game after a hiatus last year. The inaugural Commissioner’s Cup is an in-season competition comprised of 10 designated regular season games per team, and which culminates in a championship game between the two teams atop the standings in each conference. The league will announce the selection of The W25, the greatest players since the WNBA’s inception in 1997, and over the second half of the season and into the playoffs the league will unveil the WNBA’s 25 Greatest Moments. The 2021 season will also see a nearly month-long Olympic Break spanning from July 15 to Aug. 11.
With the regular season schedule now set, let’s take a look at five games worth tuning in to — or attending at Target Center — when the Lynx return to Minneapolis this summer.
Five EARLY Games To Watch
May 14 vs. Phoenix, 8 p.m.
This game is worth watching for multiple reasons. Not only is it opening night of the 2021 WNBA season, but it is also the Lynx’s first game back at Target Center since 2019.
Outside of those two factors, this game will feature two teams who squared off in the postseason. Minnesota ended last season with the No. 4 seed, finishing a spot ahead of Phoenix. The two teams squared off in the second round of the playoffs, with Minnesota winning that single-elimination contest to advance to the semifinals.
Both the Lynx and Mercury will likely end up in the postseason yet again this summer, so this game will be a fun early-season contest.
May 20 vs. Seattle, 7 p.m.
Minnesota face a tough test in the first few games of the year when the defending-champion Seattle Storm come to Target Center on May 20.
Seattle is going to be a solid team once again this year, despite losing former Lynx forward Natasha Howard over the offseason. The Storm are still flooded with talent and could be viewed as an early-season favorite to win the WNBA title once again.
June 12 vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
The Lynx and their fans have been waiting for this one since Seimone Augustus decided to leave Minnesota as a free agent prior to the 2020 season to join the rival Los Angeles Sparks. Augustus didn’t have the opportunity to play in Target Center a year ago, as the teams all played in the bubble location in Florida, so this summer will be the first time she steps on the floor in Minneapolis wearing another uniform.
It will be interesting to see how fans react to Augustus, who has always been a favorite in Minnesota. Plus, it’s always an entertaining game when the Lynx and Sparks square off, regardless of the location of the contest. You won’t want to miss this one.
June 15 vs. Chicago, 8 p.m.
This offseason, the WNBA saw significant shifting of players during free agency, most notably the surprise move of longtime Los Angeles Sparks center Candace Parker to the Chicago Sky.
Parker, an Illinois native, joins her hometown team. They will be one of the top teams in the league this summer, and Minnesota will get its first look at Parker and Chicago on June 15 in Minneapolis. The other intriguing aspect of this matchup is that Sky head coach James Wade is a former Lynx assistant, so there is plenty of familiarity between the two squads.
June 25 vs. Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
Not only will the Las Vegas Aces once again be a tough team, but there’s now another layer to make the June 25 contest at Target Center even more interesting.
The Lynx’s recent free-agent addition Kayla McBride will lace it up against her former team for the first time. With McBride’s competitive personality, you would think that means the three-time All-Star will do all she can to have a good performance and try lead the Lynx to a win over her former squad.
And it’s always interesting to watch Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer and Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve on the court at the same time.
Full 2021 Minnesota Lynx Schedule
- Friday, May 14 vs. Phoenix, 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 18 at New York, 6 p.m.
- Thursday, May 20 vs. Seattle, 7 p.m.
- Friday, May 28 at Seattle, 9 p.m.
- Sunday, May 30 vs. Connecticut, 6 p.m.
- Friday, June 4 vs. Atlanta, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, June 6 vs. Atlanta, 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 8 at Washington, 6 p.m.
- Saturday, June 12 vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, June 15 vs. Chicago, 8 p.m.
- Thursday, June 17 at Dallas, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, June 19 at Dallas, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 23 at Atlanta, 6 p.m.
- Friday, June 25 vs. Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 30 at Phoenix, 9 p.m.
- Friday, July 2 at Phoenix, 9 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 7 vs. Dallas, 7 p.m.
- Friday, July 9 at Las Vegas, 9:30 p.m.
- Sunday, July 11 at Los Angeles, 8 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 15 vs. New York, 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 17 at Connecticut, 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 19 at Connecticut, 6 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 21 at Chicago, 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 24 vs. Seattle, 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 31 vs. New York, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 2 vs. Los Angeles, 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 4 vs. Washington, 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 8 at Las Vegas, 9 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 10 vs. Indiana, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 12 vs. Indiana, 6 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 17 at Indiana, 6 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 19 at Washington, 2 p.m.
All times listed above are Central Time
Broadcast schedule to be announced at a later date