WNBA commissioner still optimistic that the league 'can have a season this summer’

The WNBA still has no set date to kick off the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

League commissioner Cathy Engelbert, however, isn’t giving up hope just yet. 

Engelbert said on Friday that they are looking at about a half dozen scenarios, including playing at a single site or a handful of sites, to get some version of the season in this summer. She also said that she’s been in close contact with the NBA about scenarios, as that league is also searching for a solution to finish its season. 

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

It’s unlikely, however, that the two would play in the same cities and venues.

“I feel really good about how things are now evolving and settling,” Engelbert said, via the Associated Press. “There’s still no date [to start play]. We have had a variety of conversations [about] moving forward. None are without challenge.”

The WNBA was originally set to open its season on Friday, though Engelbert postponed it indefinitely due to the coronavirus. It was due to take a break throughout most of July and early August, too, due to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

The Games have since been pushed back to 2021, something that could allow for the WNBA to end up having a full season.

“We haven’t taken off the table having a full season while other scenarios have a reduced amount of games,” Engelbert said, via the Associated Press. “A lot depends on the trajectory and restrictions in markets.”

There were more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Saturday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 88,000 deaths attributed to it. 

Though both of those figures continue to climb, Engelbert said that she was encouraged by increased availability in testing for the virus and different safety protocols being implemented by leagues across the country.

“Things are starting to open and starting to settle,” Engelbert said, via the Associated Press. “Medical experts are starting to feel better about testing and protocols. There’s still a lot of things to get through.”

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is still hopeful that the league can have a season this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP/Nick Wass)

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