The 41st season of the league will be contested in the sunshine state with 56 regular-season games, plus four finals, played in Townsville, Cairns and Mackay, forming the six-week hub-based competition.
Victorian teams – Southside Flyers, Melbourne Boomers and Bendigo Spirit – will fly north on October 26 for 14 days of quarantine in Brisbane before travelling further north ahead of the opening round of action on November 12.
The hub season is a collaboration between both Basketball Australia and the Queensland government.
It will be an all-Australian campaign with no imports playing in the league due to Covid-19 and international travel restrictions but there is a huge buzz around the homegrown talent which will be on show including the return of superstar and league MVP Liz Cambage, who has signed with the Flyers, and newly-crowned WNBA champion Ezi Magbegor who is back in action with the Boomers.
Flyers captain Jenna O’Hea said the athletes were grateful to be able to hit the court and play during an unprecedented time in Australia and the country’s sporting landscape.
“We are really looking forward to the season and while it’s not the season we all want, we know how fortunate we are to be playing and to have a competition during these times,” she said.
“What an exciting challenge for everyone, we will certainly embrace the season and look forward to working hard to go one better than last season.
“We will miss playing in front of our fans but we will make sure they stay involved as they are such an important part of our Flyers family.”
Basketball Australia chief executive Jerril Rechter said the revised season was just the beginning of a huge two years for women’s hoops.
“We’ve been working in partnership with the eight club owners via their participation and collaboration on the WNBL Commission since the beginning of the pandemic," she said.
"We all agreed it was critical to deliver the season and ensure the league puts a much-needed smile on the face of our fans and members, maintains the growth of women’s basketball throughout Australia and continues to inspire future generations of players, coaches and officials.
“All of this as basketball finds itself on the doorstep of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics where the Australian Opals are eyeing glory again and, just twelve months later, the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup will be hosted by Sydney."
Teams such as the Sydney Uni Flames and Adelaide Lightning have welcomed their Victorian-based players across the borders in recent weeks. Players have undergone hotel quarantine before linking up with their clubs and starting pre-season training.
The UC Capitals, coached by reigning Coach of the Year Paul Goriss, have won the past two WNBL championships.
The Caps went back-to-back after defeating Southside Flyers, 2-0, in last season’s Grand Final series which concluded in the nation’s capital in March.
The WNBL introduced a best-of-three Grand Final Series in 2015-16, where the Townsville Fire swept Perth Lynx 2-0, but will revert to a standalone deciding championship game for this unique hub season.