Unique season: August reserved for Athens


NEW YORK -- The WNBA season will last four weeks longer than
usual when the league takes a break in August to allow its top
players to compete in the Athens Olympics.

The league released its schedule Wednesday, with three games on
opening day May 20, and a rematch (televised by ABC) between 2003 WNBA title finalists
Detroit and Los Angeles on May 29.

The Sparks won back-to-back titles before the Shock rallied after losing the
series opener last year.

The Olympic break is Aug. 2-31, with the games scheduled for
Aug. 13-28. The league said about 30 WNBA players will represent
their countries at the Olympics.

ABC will televise seven regular-season Saturday games in the
WNBA's eighth season, beginning with the Phoenix Mercury at the
Connecticut Sun on May 22.

On opening day, four-time WNBA champion Houston plays host to the San Antonio Silver Stars, the Sacramento Monarchs visit
the Phoenix Mercury and the Seattle Storm play host to the Minnesota Lynx.

The regular season ends Sept. 19. The playoffs are scheduled to begin Sept. 24, while the finals start Oct. 8.

ESPN2 will televise 10 games, the Oxygen network will show five
games, and a total of 40 regular-season and playoff game will air on NBA TV.

The New York Liberty will play six games at Radio City Music
Hall as Madison Square Garden will be used for the Republican
National Convention.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.