The 2021 WNBA season is fast-approaching, and it's a highly-anticipated one for the Sky, who are viewed widely as title contenders after signing two-time MVP Candace Parker in the offseason.
On Tuesday, the Sky released their 32-game slate for the campaign -- slightly condensed from the W's normal 36-game duration, but longer than the 22 contests each team played in the 2020 bubble at IMG Academy.
The Sky open the season at the Washington Mystics, who star former Sky MVP Elena Delle Donne, on Saturday, May 15 at noon CT. A heavyweight matchup, to say the least.
Other highlights include the team's home opener against Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty on May 23, which could mark Parker's first game back in her hometown as a member of the Sky; back-to-back home bouts with the Los Angeles Sparks, Parker's former team, on May 28 and 30; and a matchup with the defending champion Seattle Storm on August 15 to open the second half of the season.
The Sky will play 20 games between May 15 and July 10, then pause until August 15 because of the Olympic games in Tokyo, which begin July 23. The Sky are scheduled to face the other 11 teams in the W three times each, except for the Minnesota Lynx, who they see twice, and will play eight different two-game "series" against opponents as a way to expedite travel.
As for fans in the stands? A statement from the Sky said the organization "continues to work with league, city, and state officials on evaluating conditions to determine if there is a timeline that would allow for fans this season." While both baseball teams in town are hosting spectators at limited capacity, neither the Bulls nor Blackhawks -- who each play indoors -- have invited fans back as of this writing.
Regardless, the Sky faithful have a lot to buzz about this year, especially with the 2021 draft coming up on Thursday. The Sky own the eighth overall pick.
"The season is around the corner," Sky general manager and head coach James Wade said in a statement. "It's a wonderful feeling to know that we will be playing at our home, in our market, so I'm super excited about this upcoming season, and we all just want to make Chicago fans proud. We're ready to compete."