18-Game Schedule Begins with Defending Champs Seattle vs. Phoenix
Longtime WNBA Lead Voice Ryan Ruocco to Call Play-by-Play in Opener
More Coverage of the WNBA on ABC
ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 WNBA season will tip off Saturday, May 25, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC when the defending champion Seattle Storm and Sue Bird host the Phoenix Mercury and Brittney Griner, the first of 16 regular-season games, including three on ABC. In addition, ESPN will televise one All-Star Special (ESPN), the All-Star Game (ABC) and each game of the 2019 WNBA postseason from the First Round to the Finals. All games will also stream live on the ESPN App.
For the opener, regular ESPN WNBA play-by-play will be provided by analyst Rebecca Lobo and Ryan Ruocco. Analyst LaChina Robinson will serve as a studio analyst for the opener.
Ryan Ruocco and Pam Ward will return as the lead play-by-play voices through the remainder of the season with analyst Lobo and reporter Rowe, with analyst Kara Lawson and LaChina Robinson on select games. This season, ESPN will add perspective from WNBA pioneer and three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes along with WNBA MVP in 1997 and 1998 Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and 5x All-Star and 2012 WNBA Champion Katie Douglas.
ESPN’s slate of games in the 2019 season will feature:
- Two rematches of last year’s WNBA Semifinals between the Storm and the Mercury (May 25 and September 3)
- A total of five games for Storm, Mercury and the LA Sparks
- All regular-season telecasts will feature at least one previous WNBA MVP
- 15 games will feature a former No. 1-overall draft pick including: the Lynx’s Seimone Augustus; the Sparks’ Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike; the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner; the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd; the New York Liberty’s Tina Charles; and the Las Vegas Aces’ Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young
ESPN Production Highlights
ESPN will have several special telecasts this season featuring unique production methods tailored to offer commentary and analysis from some of the best voices in the game. On Sunday, June 23 – Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream – Lobo and Lawson will be the “Coaches on the Bench”, with each sitting on an opposing team’s side of the scorer’s table and offering viewers analysis and other details from a coach’s perspective on substitutions, play decisions and in-game adjustments. Ruocco will offer traditional courtside play-by-play commentary for the game.
In addition, the Saturday, July 6 game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Connecticut Sun and the Tuesday, August 27 game between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Washington Mystics on ESPN2 will be billed as a “Legends Game.” The “Legends Game” on July 6 will have WNBA legends Cooper-Dyke calling the game courtside with Swoopes in-studio and on August 27 Swoopes will call the game courtside with Cooper-Dyke in-studio. Ward will provide play-by-play for both games.
“As the WNBA enters its 23rd season, ESPN’s production will continue the tradition of telling the stories of these phenomenal athletes,” said ESPN WNBA producer Rodney Vaughn. “ESPN will bring WNBA fans closer to the game, with various in-game access enhancements and most importantly document the spectacular play on the court. I’m most excited to see this year’s deep rookie class, the combination of the Ogwumike sisters in Los Angeles and how Diana Turasi will return from injury.”
More season highlights:
- In select games, two player mics will be added, in addition to the coaches’ mics that are utilized during each game;
- ESPN will broadcast the 2019 WNBA All-Star Special from the Mandalay Bay Center in Las Vegas on Friday July 26, at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The All-Star Special will include skills and three-point contests. Additional details for ABC’s telecast will be released closer to the game.
- ABC will broadcast the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game from the Mandalay Bay Center on Saturday July 27, at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. Additional details for ABC’s telecast will be released closer to the game.
Throughout the season, espnW columnist Mechelle Voepel will offer weekly pieces discussing some of the biggest stories in the league.
- For the third consecutive season, ESPN Stats & Info will maintain and produce the WNBA Basketball Power Index. BPI-driven storylines and graphics will appear regularly on espnW digital and social platforms.
|Sat, May 25||3:30 p.m.||Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm||ABC|
|Fri, May 31||10 p.m.||Las Vegas Aces at Phoenix Mercury||ESPN2|
|Sat, Jun 8||3:30 p.m.||Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx||ABC|
|Sun, Jun 16||3:30 p.m.||Seattle Storm at Connecticut Sun||ABC|
|Sun, Jun 23||1 p.m.||Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream||ESPN|
|Sat, Jun 29||2 p.m.||Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics||ESPN|
|Sat, Jul 6||2 p.m.||Minnesota Lynx at Connecticut Sun||ESPN2|
|Fri, Jul 12||8 p.m.||Phoenix Mercury at Connecticut Sun||ESPN2|
|Tue, Jul 23||10 p.m.||Seattle Storm at Las Vegas Aces||ESPN2|
|Fri, Jul 26||7 p.m.||2019 WNBA All-Star Special||ESPN|
|Sat, Jul 27||3:30 p.m.||2019 WNBA All-Star Game||ABC|
|Thur, Aug 1||10 p.m.||Las Vegas Aces at Los Angeles Sparks||ESPN2|
|Thur, Aug 8||10 p.m.||Phoenix Mercury at Los Angeles Sparks||ESPN2|
|Wed, Aug 14||8 p.m.||Seattle Storm at Washington Mystics||ESPN2|
|Thur, Aug 22||8 p.m.||Dallas Wings at Minnesota Lynx||ESPN2|
|Tue, Aug 27||7 p.m.||Los Angeles Sparks at Washington Mystics||ESPN2|
|Tue, Sep 3||10 p.m.||Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury||ESPN2|
|Sun, Sep 8||4 p.m.||Minnesota Lynx at Los Angeles Sparks||ESPN2|
Contact: Belen Michelis, ESPN, (860) 766-1425, [email protected]