The WNBA season begins Saturday with a tripleheader from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.: Storm vs. Liberty, 11 a.m. (ESPN); Sparks vs. Mercury, 2 p.m. (Ch. 5); and Fever vs. Mystics, 4 p.m. (CBSSN). Here are three story lines to watch this season:
1. Can anyone beat Seattle?
The 2018 champions took a step back last year because of injuries to Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird but still qualified for the playoffs. Watch out for them this year. Stewart, the 2018 MVP, is back, as is Bird. The Storm is intact, hardly affected rosterwise by the coronavirus pandemic. The AP's preseason power poll has them as the unanimous No. 1 team; the Lynx are No. 8.
2. Can 'Mone vie for another title — her fifth — in a different uniform?
Longtime Lynx star Seimone Augustus surprised just about everyone when she jumped to the Los Angeles Sparks during free agency. The Sparks will be without Kristi Toliver and Chiney Ogwumike, who opted out of playing this season because of the virus. But their roster is still deep, and the Sparks are one of the teams expected to vie for a championship.
3. How will having no home-court advantage affect the season?
The games will be played on TV, but with no fans in attendance. The idea of home-court advantage in the playoffs is, for one season, out the window. This could result in a more wide-open playoffs.