- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Washington Mystics will raise the franchise’s first championship banner at their season opener against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, May 16 at 4 p.m. 

The team announced the news Thursday in conjunction with the release of the 2020 WNBA schedule. The league also revealed the expansion of the schedule from 34 games to 36 and the introduction of a new “Commissioner’s Cup,” an in-season tournament similar to the ones reportedly being proposed in the NBA league office.

Ten regular-season games for each WNBA team between May 15 and July 10 will count as “Commissioner’s Cup” games. The team from each conference with the best record will square off in a championship game tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14; the winning team will also win a “special prize pool,” likely monetary bonuses.

The season opener against the Sparks will be Washington’s only home game in the month of May. After four consecutive road games, their schedule becomes more balanced in June. That month, the Mystics will play the Connecticut Sun for the first rematch of the 2019 WNBA Finals on Sunday, June 28.

The WNBA will take off from July 10 to Aug. 16 for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The regular season concludes on Sept. 20, when the Mystics again will host Connecticut.

The Mystics will play five nationally televised games next season, tied for the most of any WNBA team, including their season opener and both home games against Connecticut.

The Mystics won the 2019 WNBA title by beating the Sun in a five-game series last October.

Like last year, Washington will play all but one of its home games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The Mystics will hold their annual “camp day” game for local children’s groups at Capital One Arena on July 8 at 11:30 a.m., when they host the New York Liberty.

“Seeing our schedule gets everyone excited to begin preparing to try to defend our championship in front of our great fans,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said in a statement. “We will need the electric atmosphere that was created at ESA last season to propel us again this summer.”

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