Breaking down the 2016 WNBA schedule

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After many weeks of anticipation, the WNBA schedule was finally released to the public. This season, the WNBA made many significant changes to both the regular season schedule and the playoff format. With that being said, it’s time to break down the WNBA schedule and see for ourselves whether or not this is actually a “balanced schedule.”

I’ve made a chart outlining the back to backs each team faces, the long road trips as well as the long home stretches and national TV appearances (ESPN/ESPN2 only)

SCHEDULE BREAK DOWN

Team BACK TO BACK ROAD TRIP HOME NATIONAL TV
Atlanta Dream 1(June 17-18) 1(May 14-20) 1(June 5-12) 1
Chicago Sky 1(June 10-17) 1(July 8-15) 3
Connecticut Sun 1(June 24-July 2) 1(June 3 – 10)
Dallas Wings 2(May 14-15)(July 8-9) 1 (July 8-15) 1(May 21-29) 3
Indiana Fever 1(June 22-29) 1(May 14-20) 3
Los Angeles Sparks   1(May 20-21) 1(July 13-22) 2(June 14-21) & (July 3-10) 5
Minnesota Lynx 2(June 10-11) & Sept 16-17 2(May 18-25) & (Sept 6-16) 1(May 27-June 7) 6
New York Liberty 2(May 14-15) & (July 20-21) 2(May 15-June 3) & (Sept 1-9) 2
Phoenix Mercury 1(June 17-18) 1(May 20-31) 4
San Antonio Stars 1(July 1-2)
Seattle Storm 1(Sept 2-9) 2(June 19-30) & (July 10-20) 1
Washington Mystics 2(May 20-21) & (Aug 27-28) 2(May 21-29) & (July 1-15) 1(June 18-29)

*note – long road trips must be seven days or longer, the same applies for the home stretches.

Looking at the breakdown of the schedule, clearly the ESPN front office doesn’t think it’s worth showing the Sun, Stars or the Mystics on TV. These teams may not have the superstars, but they do have stars such as Stefanie Dolson, Kayla McBride and Chiney Oguwmike. ESPN should have featured them at least once instead of showing the same team over and over again.

The Mystics, Liberty, Wings and Lynx all play 2 back to back games which is the highest this year. The schedule makers did do a fairly better job at reducing the amount of back to backs (some teams such as the Storm, Sky and Sun don’t have any) which should show a better result on the floor.

The Minnesota Lynx clearly did not receive any kind of favors from the schedule makers as they go on the road for 17 days, one with a stretch of 10 days on the road. However, that is nothing compared to the Mystics who are on the road for 22 days, one with a stretch of 14 days or two weeks! Yikes!

The Liberty and the Storm are at home the most meaning they both have a fairly good shot of making the playoffs plus the Liberty do not have a long road trip (more than seven days) and the Storm’s road trip comes later on in the season when most of the team’s fates have been decided.

Overall, the WNBA schedule has improved than in years past and is definitely more balanced. The 2016 WNBA season will tip off May 14.

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