Seattle Storm defeated New York Liberty 87-71 behind 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals by 2018 league MVP Breanna Stewart in the 2020 WNBA opener.
The game was played without fans in attendance to limit the spread of Covid-19, which halted US sports in mid-March.
There was a significant moment before the game got underway, as players from both teams left the court for the US national anthem in protest, and paid tribute to Breonna Taylor.
New York impressed in the early stages, wiping out a 12-point deficit to take the lead in the second quarter. However, Seattle rallied to retake the lead; an advantage they would never relinquish in the tie.
Stewart led the line for the championship favourites, with Sue Bird and Jewell Lloyd also contributing.
Meanwhile, number one overall pick Sabrina Ionescu made her debut for the Liberty, contributing 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.