WNBA season opens Friday

For (WNBA) openers

Defending champion: The Seattle Storm finished last season with a 28-6 record and swept each of its playoffs opponents — the Sparks, Phoenix Mercury and Atlanta Dream.

Top players: Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury — A five-time All-Star and two-time WNBA champion, she led the league in scoring last season with an average of 22.6 points. Candace Parker, Sparks — The 2008 most valuable player and rookie of the year was averaging a career-high 20.6 points and 10.1 rebounds before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury. Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm — The reigning WNBA and Finals MVP led her team to the title by averaging 20.5 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Newcomers to watch: Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx — The No. 1 pick in the 2011 WNBA draft, she averaged 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds during her career at Connecticut while leading the Huskies to national championships in 2009 and 2010. Sheryl Swoopes, Tulsa Shock — The four-time WNBA champion and three-time MVP played in the league’s inaugural season in 1997 and, after a two-year hiatus, is returning to the WNBA at age 40.


Where to watch: Selected games will be shown nationally on NBA TV, ABC and ESPN 2. Selected Sparks games will be shown on Prime Ticket. Games that are not shown on ABC and ESPN2 can be found on