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This Week in Women’s Basketball: Get ready for WNBA end-of-season award announcements

Two WNBA items highlight this week’s women’s hoops news. While the end-of-season awards announcement schedule is reason for excitement, a memo about playoff travel is reason for frustration.

2022 WNBA Finals - Game One
Will Commissioner Cathy Engelbert again present the MVP award to A’ja Wilson?
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Here’s the latest women’s basketball news and notes:

WNBA announces end-of-season awards schedule

On Thursday, the WNBA revealed the schedule for the announcement of end-of-season awards. The process will begin on Monday, Sep. 11 with the Peak Performers awards, which are given to per-game leaders in points, rebounds and assists. The most hotly-contested award—MVP—will be announced on Tuesday, Sep. 26. The Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award will conclude awards season on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

The league also announced that the 2023 All-Defensive Team will be selected without regard for position. Last season, the league adopted positionless voting for the two All-WNBA Teams.

WNBA memo reveals playoff teams may be forced to take commercial flights

On Wednesday, The Next’s Howard Megdal reported on a memo recently sent to WNBA teams that highlighted the fine-print details of the league’s postseason travel policy, revealing exceptions to Commissioner Cathy Engelbert’s preseason proclamation that, “We will have charter flights for all postseason games.”

For more on players’ continuing concerns about league travel policies, as well as other issues, please take a look at “The biggest issues in the WNBA, according to players.”

Stanford, Cal heading to ACC in 2024

The dissolution of the Pac-12 is nearly complete. On Friday, ACC presidents and chancellors voted to add Stanford and Cal-Berkeley, as well as SMU, to the conference.

For women’s college hoops fans, Stanford’s inclusion in the ACC piques the most interest. Although the Pac-12 was a high-quality women’s basketball conference that did not deserve to die, the ACC traditionally has had more top-to-bottom depth. Seeing Stanford tussle with the likes of Notre Dame, North Carolina, Louisville and Virginia Tech beginning in the 2024-25 season promises to be pretty fun.

As reported by ESPN’s M.A. Voepel, Cardinal head Tara VanDerveer long had been a fierce advocate of the Pac-12. Yet, the legendary coach is embracing the challenge of joining a new conference with characteristic aplomb, asserting:

I think it’s going to a fabulous conference for women’s basketball. We’re really thankful the ACC wanted Stanford. And the biggest thing for us is to continue to be able to compete on the highest level, and I want to keep coaching players who want that combination of great academics and great basketball. We’ve recruited a lot of kids from the East Coast, so our recruiting is going to be fine.

Considering VanDerveer and the Cardinal won the 2021 national championship, despite dealing with a nine-week road trip due to COVID-19 restrictions, expect VanDerveer to have Stanford well prepared to manage that increased travel burdens that will come with ACC membership.

Washington State and Oregon State are the only former Pac-12 members without a new conference. Arizona, Arizona State and Utah will join the Big 12 in 2024, while Oregon, Washington and Colorado will enter the Big Ten.