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WNBA postpones start of season because of coronavirus

The league’s 24th season was to begin in May. Two WNBA cities are major virus hot spots, and two teams’ arenas are shut.
In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics in Washington. She announced Friday that the league's 24th season, scheduled to begin in May, is postponed indefinitely.
In this Sept. 29, 2019, file photo, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics in Washington. She announced Friday that the league's 24th season, scheduled to begin in May, is postponed indefinitely. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]
Published Apr. 3, 2020

NEW YORK — The WNBA has postponed the start of its season because of the coronavirus pandemic, with no indication when play would begin.

The league was scheduled to open training camps April 26 and start its 24th season May 15. The WNBA will still hold a “virtual” draft April 17.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement Friday the league will “use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats.”

“Our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees,” Engelbert said.

The WNBA is the longest-running professional women’s league.

The postponement of this year’s Olympics gives the WNBA flexibility with its schedule. The league was set to go on a monthlong break starting July 10 to allow players to participate in the Games in Tokyo.

Two WNBA cities are major hot spots for the virus: New York and Seattle. One of the Seattle Storm’s homes for the season, the Angel of the Winds Arena, is being used as a coronavirus isolation site.

The Las Vegas casino where the Aces play is shut, as is the Connecticut Sun’s home arena.

“We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to our players, fans, and all of those in the community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are grateful to those selfless health care workers and first responders who work tirelessly on the front lines,” Engelbert said.

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