|12:00 PM PT1:00 PM MT2:00 PM CT3:00 PM ET19:00 GMT3:00 12:00 PM MST2:00 PM EST23:00 UAE20:0015:00 ET1:00 PM CT18:00 , May 15, 2021
Angel of the Winds Arena, Everett, Washington Attendance: 1,031
Champion Storm, Aces open season in marquee matchup
The Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm will meet up to open their 2020-21 WNBA seasons because, well, of course. Totally makes sense.
After all, the two met for the championship last year and rate as favorites to get back to the WNBA Finals. Pitting them against each other in the season-opener in Seattle is a fun way to get this party started again.
Bonus: The game is one of two that will be televised nationally Saturday on ABC, along with the Chicago Sky-Washington Mystics matchup.
ESPN.com has the Aces listed in the top spot of its preseason power rankings, with the defending champion Storm ranked No. 2.
Las Vegas features reigning MVP A'ja Wilson, who averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds last season. The Aces received a major blow when Angel McCoughtry sustained a torn ACL last week -- her second in three years -- and is expected to be out for the season.
The Aces welcome back 6-foot-8 center Liz Cambage back into the fold after she took the 2020 off for medical purposes, and Dearica Hamby, Kelsey Plum and Sparks transplant Chelsea Gray also figure to be key contributors.
"How it all works together with our lineups, and how I mix and match -- that's going to be a work in process, it's a mystery," Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer told ESPN.com. "You never know until you start playing."
Seattle, which swept the Aces 3-0 to win their fourth WNBA championship last year, will once again rely on Breanna Stewart. The versatile star averaged 19.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a year ago.
Sue Bird is back as a youthful 40-year-old point guard -- returning for a remarkable 18th season in Seattle. She has been a key part of all four Storm championships.
Two-time All-Star Jewell Loyd also returns for the Storm, who will need players to fill the defensive void left by the departure of 2019 defensive player of the year Natasha Howard (New York Liberty) and longtime Seattle starter Alysha Clark (Washington Mystics, but lost for the season with a foot injury).
"We just try to play to the strengths that we have," coach Dan Hughes told ESPN.com. "We're not asking anybody to be exactly like somebody from last year."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 14, 2021