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WNBA to take its usual month-long break for the Olympics

FILE - Olympic rings are set up at Trocadero plaza that overlooks the Eiffel Tower, a day after the official announcement that the 2024 Summer Olympic Games will be in the French capital, in Paris, France, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. The WNBA released its schedule on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, with its usual month-long break for the Olympics. There will be no regular season contests from July 18-Aug. 14 because of the Paris Games. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA released its schedule on Monday with its usual month-long break for the Olympics.

There will be no regular season contests from July 18-Aug. 14 because of the Paris Games.

The league’s 28th season will begin on May 14 with eight teams in action, including two-time defending champion Las Vegas, which opens against Phoenix. The Aces and New York Liberty, who met in the WNBA Finals last season, will play three times, with the first meeting on June 15.

Teams will once again play 40 games with the regular season ending on Sept. 19. All 12 teams play that day.

“We eagerly anticipate tipping off the 2024 season and building on the success of last season, our most-watched in 21 years and a record-setter for social media engagement, digital consumption, All-Star merchandise sales and sports betting,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said.

“Free agency and the 2024 WNBA Draft are sure to create excitement, and the new format to the Commissioner’s Cup will provide fans a great opportunity to see the best players in the world compete for bragging rights and prize money early in the season.”

The WNBA changed the format of it’s in-season tournament with all Commissioner’s Cup games set to be played from June 1-13. The championship game will be on June 25. Teams now will only play the other five teams in their conference once instead of a home and home set.

Other tidbits from the schedule:

— Seattle has a league-record nine straight games at home from the end of June to July 14. The Storm played eight straight games at home last season.

— Indiana and Los Angeles have the top two picks in the WNBA draft and will play three times, including on May 24.

The WNBA will have its All-Star Game on July 20 in Phoenix, which will also serve as a sendoff for the U.S. Olympic team.

With a tighter schedule because of the Olympics, many teams have back-to-back contests this year. The league paid for charter flights for those games last season.

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WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball