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Seven Key WNBA Matchups to Watch in 2023

After an electrifying 2022 season for the WNBA, the ’23 regular-season schedule brings an exciting slate of games from the league’s opening weekend and all throughout the year.

The league will seek to increase its popularity even more after the 2022 campaign was the most watched in 14 years and surpassed new thresholds for social media consumption and merchandise sales. Fans will also get more chances to watch their favorite teams battle on the hardwood, as the league increased the number of games to 40, up from 36 last season. The Commissioner’s Cup competition will also make a return for a third year. 

Let’s take a look at some of the more captivating games in 2023, which include playoff rematches during opening weekend and what could be the final home games for two WNBA legends. 

Aces forward A’ja Wilson holds up the WNBA championship trophy with her teammates around her.

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Aces at Storm: May 20, 2023

Before A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and the Aces earned their first WNBA title in Becky Hammon’s first year as coach in 2022, Las Vegas navigated through a star-studded and challenging best-of-five semifinal series against the Storm. While the Aces won in four games, the series was one for the books that included spectacular shot-making performances from Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, Gray, and Wilson, and the end of Sue Bird’s WNBA career. While the retired Bird will not grace the floor this year, the tense and pressure-packed games between these two teams will surely go on starting on opening weekend. Get your popcorn ready and plan accordingly. 

Aces at Sparks: May 25, 2023

Six days into the season, the reigning WNBA champions will make the short trip to Los Angeles for a clash with the Sparks. Los Angeles faced a bit of turmoil a season ago, missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season. However, former Sun coach Curt Miller enters his first season with the franchise. There is nothing better than to watch another clash between Miller and Hammon, who are connected through the Tom Collen coaching tree. While it may not be a Finals rematch—the Aces bested the Sun to win it all—it will be interesting to see how Miller constructs this team to face an immensely talented Aces squad so early in the season. 

Liberty at Sky: June 2, 2023

The Liberty came out strong in the first round last year, besting the 2021 champs in the first game of their best-of-three series. The victory even gave New York its first playoff win since September 2015. But in the next two games, the Sky stepped up defensively and limited the play of Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu to eliminate New York. With a new season and the Liberty seeking to build on their ’22 campaign, the early June rematch between the Candace Parker–led Chicago squad and New York will be a treat.

Sky at Aces: June 11, 2023

All throughout last season, many thought the matchups between Las Vegas and Chicago served as WNBA Finals previews (though the Sun had something to say about those predictions). When these two teams get after it, the back-and-forth battles are intense. Last season the Aces squandered a 28-point lead to the Sky as Chicago completed the largest comeback in WNBA history on the Aces’ floor. But then the Las Vegas returned the favor, defeating the Sky in the Commissioner’s Cup while adding a third win against Chicago in its second-to-last game of the regular season. With two teams full of All-Star players, this clash will not be any less intense in 2023 and will be one to tune in for. 

Sun at Sparks: June 18, 2023

Miller spent seven seasons with the Sun and made two WNBA Finals appearances but was unable to bring a title to Connecticut. As he enters his first season with Los Angeles, Miller will get the chance to face his former team nearly a month into the 2023 season. However, depending on the aftermath of WNBA free agency, things could look drastically different when the two teams meet. The majority of the Sun’s salary cap space is tied into ’21 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones, four-time All-Star DeWanna Bonner and three-time All-Star Alyssa Thomas under first-year coach Stephanie White. As White seeks to pair the right players around the trio, Miller faces a similar situation: Only five Sparks players are under contract for the ’23 season. Currently, those players do not include Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike. Despite all of that, this is one to mark on your calendar. 

Aces at Mercury: Sept. 8, 2023 

If you thought it was hard to watch Bird play her last game, get prepared for what could be Diana Taurasi’s final regular-season home game at the Footprint Center. Taurasi, who returns for her 19th season, will likely be in the middle of helping Phoenix secure a playoff spot in the final days of the ’23 campaign. With Skylar Diggins-Smith’s status for next season in limbo now due to recently announcing her pregnancy and the ongoing situation with the incarceration of Brittney Griner in Russia, Taurasi will have her hands full.

Taurasi ended the 2022 season early, on Aug. 8, due to a quadriceps strain before Phoenix went on to lose in the first round of the playoffs. If this is the last home game for the three-time WNBA champion, she will undoubtedly leave everything she has on the floor against a highly competitive Aces’ team. Circle this matchup immediately. 

Sky at Sun: Sept. 10, 2023

Much like Taurasi, Parker had been contemplating whether she would return for a 16th season in 2023. In May, the 36-year-old thought the ’22 season was her last. Two weeks ago, the two-time champion announced that she was planning to play in the ’23 season, per Richard Deitsch of The Athletic.

Last season, Parker broke the league’s triple double record in late June, earned her seventh All-Star selection and started in last year’s All-Star game in Chicago, a city that is very near and dear to her. In what could be Parker’s final regular-season game of her career, it’s fitting that Chicago squares off against the Sun, a squad that got the best of the Sky in a best-of-five semifinals series in the 2022 playoffs. This game would also mark the fourth matchup between the two teams in the ’23 season. 


EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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