No team is the same in this 2013 WNBA season. Each team has a drastically different roster. There are a lot of different injuries this season for many different teams. There are so many teams whose dynamics have changed due to the injuries of key players. Even without injuries, some team’s chemistry was thrown out because of trades. Each team is going to need players to step up and build the team up.
Phoenix Mercury: The Mercury had the first round draft pick and selected Brittney Griner. Diana Taurasi is now healthy and Penny Taylor is working back into the lineup. Griner and Taurasi seemingly were the duo to beat but Chicago definitely shut them down in their season opener. Griner has a lot to learn about the league and Taurasi and Griner still have to find their rhythm. Although these two players are going to be good together eventually, the player you want to see is Dewanna Bonner. Bonner kept hope alive for all the team. She created plays and opportunities for her teammates but she also did hard work on the defensive end stopping Elena Delle Donne and forcing some turnovers. She was th3 6th woman for her team and she is definitely fighting for her starting position. Even if Bonner doesn’t start, she is still going to be fantastic for this team!
Washington Mystics: The Mystics received Ivory Latta from Tulsa in a 3 team trade. Ivory Latta was pretty silent with the Shock. She was never really hit the same caliber of play as she did in college. She definitely has this opportunity with the Mystics. She really helped her team out when they faced her former team. She was a huge part of their overtime success. She was the leading scorer for her team and she not only scored, but she passed the ball and created big plays especially in overtime. That is definitely where she was most successful. If she continues to play like that the Mystics have a chance to make a playoff run. Latta has great chemistry with several of her new teammates and it is going to make a huge difference for her when the season is well on its way.
Chicago Sky: Elena Delle Donne is a standout player by herself, but with the help of Epiphanny Prince the Sky have a definite chance at playoffs. Delle Donne was huge in her debut game. She shut down much of the Mercury team and continued to be a huge scorer on the offensive side. Griner, a fellow rookie, couldn’t stop her. Delle Donne said that she is used to having a double team on her so it is easier just to be guarded by one person. She has had so many different things thrown at her in college because she was so big and so athletic. The same thing is going to happen I the WNBA because she is doing the exact same things. Prince set up so many opportunities for Delle Donne including a huge 3 that Delle Donne put in after a Prince crossover. Prince is so quick and has so much court vision. These two are going to by dynamic this season!
New York Liberty: We’ve seen time and time again that Cappie Pondexter is an excellent player. We’ve also seen that he can’t do it by herself. She needs another Liberty player to step up and help her this season. That player this year needs to be Essence Carson. Carson did an excellent job in their past game and definitely lifted the tram to an OT win. She is such an amazing player and adds so much the Liberty, whether she starts the game or comes off the bench. She’s going to be another huge player in the league and definitely will be a huge 6th person for the Liberty.
There are going to be a lot of game changers this season and almost every team is going to need one, and will eventually have one! I’m not sure which players are going to step up but when they do they will change the team dynamic!
I would like to start off by thanking all the members of the Armed Forces that have served our country, whether that is past, present, or future. We appreciate all your courage and dedication!
The Tulsa Shock started the action against the Washington Mystics. This was a great game and ended in a Mystics overtime win! The Shock had a phenomenal game but experience won this game! Although this was not the Shock’s first game, they were apart of this Memorial Day Action. Skylar Diggins, the number 3 pick, led her team the entire time through regulation. She was making plays for herself, but also for her teammates. Diggins ended the game with 11 assists. She is great at the PG position, especially with the absence of Candice Wiggins. Her game didn’t falter until overtime began! Overtime was a new experience for her. Sue Bird, during some between games commentary, said in college there aren’t mant overtime games but in the WNBA, every game might go into overtime. She didn’t have the experience, or the ability, to lead her team in the extra quarter. She began to miss shots and make simple mistakes. This is the beginning of the season and I definitely expect her to find her rhythm and to really step into that PG roll that the Shock are in desperate need.
Elena Delle Donne did it for her team today! Phoenix had no answer to her! The closest one was DeWanna Bonner and Delle Donne still went around her. The thing about Delle Donne is that she didn’t change her game because she was in the WNBA. She might have turned up the intensity but she is playing the same way she did in college. She is definitely a fundamental basketball player! There was not a single thing she did wrong in this game. She ended her rookie debut with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks! She did so much for the Sky team. There were so many opportunities that Prince made for her. Prince and Delle Donne are gonna be a great team this season. Delle Donne is a great scorer from anywhere on the floor. She can shut it down on the drive, or pop the 3. She showed both of these in this game! If the Sky continue to play like this, they are definitely a huge playoff contendor.
Brittney Griner ended her rookie debut with 2 dunks in a single game. She had a huge 2 handed dunk, and another dunk a couple feet from the basket! She is the only player in the league that vertically dunk the ball but it isn’t gonna help if her team is down by 20 points. Griner needs to be able to do more than dunk and block shots. She has to move her feet and play solid offense and defense otherwise she can kiss a great season goodbye. She had some moments where she played fundamental basketball and got into the paint and put up a nice shot, but most of the game she was trying to go through players and over players. She is not the only big in the league she’s gonna have to stop playing like she is. Griner has the potential to be a great player and I think once the season gets on its way and once Coach Corey Gaines gets her off her pedestal , she’ll become such a great player!
Tamika Catchings is playing like the champion she is. She came out of the locker room hot and stayed that way all game! Catchings and the Fever did an excellent job defending their title against the Silver Stars. The first game for the returning champions tells a lot about the team and the coach. By the Fever winning, they keep intimidating other teams by showing they are still winning and they are still contender for another ring.
Tamika Catchings ended the game with 19 points, 4 blocks, and 5 rebounds. Catchings didn’t lead her team with points but she did have the same amount as Shavonte Zellous who had an excellent first game of the season. Zellous also had 19 points and 5 rebounds. There was nothing more she could do in this game! she was fantastic and did an amazing job helping lead her team to victory. Katie Douglas may not have had a great offensive game, but she had a huge defensive game grabbing 4 steals as well as leading several fastbreaks from Silver Stars errors. Briann January led her team in assists by dishing out 5 of them. She did a phenomenal job creating offensive opportunities for her teammates.
The Silver Stars had a huge obstacle to face without Becky Hammon. Hammon is out until the end of June. Not only was Hammon out, but Sophia Young is still out. The Stars were losing two off their biggest stars but they still made great things happen in this game. The Stars were up by one at the half but couldn’t keep it up. The Fever brought the heat in the second half. Shenise Johnson led her team with 14 points! That was a spectacular game for her and it is going to be a great season. Danielle Robinson, another young player, stepped up huge in this game. She had total of 9 assists and 3 steals. She really stepped into the Becky Hammon position and it is likely she will continue.
The Stars may be down, but they aren’t out. They played a great game against the returning champs even though they lost. Their season is full of obstacles but it seems as though thy are ready and capable to beat the odds. This was a good gave for the Fever and the Silver Stars and it seems they will both have a great season!
The Chicago Sky finished last season in the 5th spot of their division right behind the New York Liberty. They were a few games away from making playoffs. They have about the same roster this season along with Elena Delle Donne who they were lucky enough to get in the 2013 WNBA Draft. Last year they had the 3rd pick and selected Courtney Vandersloot which improved their game so much! Delle Donne is going to help her team out immensely. She is an overall good player regardless of what position she is. She is a great scorer! She score from just about anywhere on the court. She has one of the best free throw percentages of the draft picks this year. With her aggresive offense and ability to make her own plays, she will be a great on and off line scorer.
Swin Cash you lead this team to victory but for some reason she hasn’t. Swin Cash was a great player when she was with the Detroit Shock, she did a great job being apart of the Big 3 for Seattle, but now that she’s with Chicago, she doesn’t seem to be the same game changer. She is one of the best players in the WNBA and has been for a while. She needs to step up and lead this team and if she does that, the Sky will have a successful season.
Sylvia Fowles and Cortney Vandersloot still have their chemistry that will keep helping the team make a playoffs push. Now that Fowles has Delle Donne that may possibly play the Forward spot, she can use her body and stay down low in the post. Fowles is great at grabbing the rebound and outletting the ball, now she has more options for people that can get the call down the floor. The only thing the Sky need after picking up Delle Donne, is a player that can shoot on the outside. Even though they don’t have a huge range shooter, they might do great things with what they have.
The Silver Stars had a huge streak last year! They finished well just behind the Sparks. They are a really good team and are usually the team that should be feared. This season, however, things might change and be different. The Stars have some obstacles that they are gonna have to conquer in order to be the same great team.
Becky Hammon is back again planning to lead her team to another playoffs run. She is such a great player. She connects with everyone on her team and makes plays happen for all of them. Last year, she took a huge step up and had some great games that propelled her team to victory. Not only does she score well but she also has is her team leading assister. There’s no one that can say she doesn’t do everything for her team. Although she is a great individual player, she is a better team player. One of her teammates is down so it’s possible that she may not do as well.
Sophia Young is out this season with an ACL injury. She was a huge part of the Silver Stars success last season. Y0ung and Hammon made a great team and it is very unfortunate that she’s going to be out this season and the Stars are going to have to perform without her. She added so much to this team and without her everyone needs to step up to fill that void. Danielle Adams and Danielle Robinson will definitely be another huge part of the success of the team. Jayne Appel and Shenise Johnson will also big players to watch this season in Young’s absence.
The Tulsa Shock over the years have had all the pieces but it seems they never do anything with it. This year is no different. They had the 3rd pick of the 2013 and they made trades that rearranged their roster. They’ve made several improvements and there is a possibility that it may finally work.
The biggest point to talk about with the Shock and the draft is Skylar Diggins. The Shock always picked up good players when it comes to the draft. Kayla Pedersen is still one of the most underrated players on their team. She performed great in college but she didn’t get the chance to show that on her team. This year if she performs as well as she did in college and how well she could potentially perform that will change the game. Glory Johnson was another draft pick that proved to be a great choice. Both of these players are young and when they get to a good spot on their team, they will improve the team immensely.
During the offseason, they picked up Candice Wiggins. Candice Wiggins and Skylar Diggins were planning to be on the same team since their college years. It is no shock (no pun intended) or surprise to me that Wiggins is with the Shock. She is going to bring a little veteran experience and points to their score. They also have Nicole Powell which will add some veteran experience as well as another forward. She’s not a great player but she can sink 3s when her team needs it. The Shock have all the components but only time will tell if they are going to use them.
Liz Cambage has decided to return to the Shock this season so I’m sure she’s going to be filtered in quicly. The Shock are going to use her to their advantage now that they have her. She’s coming from Australia where she played with some of the best Australian players. She will undeniably have to step up her game to compete with the World’s best players.
The Phoenix Mercury were outrageously lucky to get the first pick. It’s unbelievable! The Mercury haven’t had a good season in years so I’m sure they want this season to turn out better than the last few. The Mercury haven’t been the same since Cappie Pondexter left and went to New York. The Mercury have a definite playoff spot but who knows what is going to happen.
As you already know, Brittney Griner was the #1 draft pick and she went to the Mercury. She is literally the face of the Mercury. Phoenix is hoping that she will bring a spark that will ignite this team. The team without Griner is good but she’s hoping to make this team great. Griner has some work to do though. She’s got to change her mentality from college to the WNBA. She’s got bigger, stronger, more solid players to battle against in the paint. She isn’t going to block everyone’s shot, or shut down these veterans. Griner is going to have to go back to the fundamentals and body these women if she wants to be successful. The Mercury can make her into a good player and that’s exactly what she has the potential to be.
Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor are both back from injuries. These two always have great chemistry with each other and with the rest of the team. Taurasi has been with this team her entire career and she’s become one of the leaders. She does a great job at the 2 position. She can either pull up with the shot or take it through the lane and get fouled and end up on the line. Taurasi does a good job making sure the foul gets called. Taylor is a good all around player. She usually stays in the 3 spot and rounds out PG and SG position. When they are in a zone offense, she makes huge outside shots from the corner when the defense is rotating. Taylor is a threat when she has the ball.
Last year, they picked up Sammy Prahalis from Ohio State. She turned out to be a good PG and a great pick for the Mercury. She has to continue to step up if she wants to fill that spot again. Candice Dupree did a good job last year but she could have been such a bigger and better player. When Dupree is involved in games, the Phoenix offense is automatically different. She is the player that will go after it and punish the opposite team but she isn’t consistent. On defense, she could force a lot of turnovers and grab a lot of steals but she doesn’t always commit. Dupree needs to have more tenacity this year.
The Lynx are one of those teams that you look at and you say, “They have the key to success.” The key to success for them is Seimone Augustus. If it weren’t for Augustus this team would not be nearly as successful. Augustus is a leader when she’s on the floor and when she’s off the floor. When she was injured for a season, she still lead her team. Augustus is definitely one of the best players in the league She is such a great scorer! It’s hard to say in words how much she actually does for this team. You definitely have to watch her play in order to see her skill at work.
Maya Moore is another good player for the Lynx. There aren’t many moments where she’s been shut down. She was a huge part of their Championship runs. She has a huge presence for the Lynx and I know she will continue to do that throughout this season. Rebekkah Brunson is a HUGE factor the Lynx. She is a great rebounder and usually grabs anything that leaves the hoop that isn’t a bucket. Devereaux Peters is now within her second year in the league and I know that she is gaining experience each day. She has the height and the skill to fit right into this team and I’m sure she won’t change that this year.
The Lynx now have Janel McCarville. She hasn’t been in the WNBA for a couple years but she will hopefully come into the season better than when she left. McCarville will be another post player and that will add another factor that the Lynx can use. All the Lynx need is every player to be versatile and they are half way there. The Lynx will continue to be a playoff contender.
The Atlanta Dream are a gonna be the same good team they were last year. They have lost some players but they still have most of their main players. The Dream can be a championship team but they are inconsistent. They have the potential to do so, but you never know what Dream team you are going to see. The Dream will undoubtedly beat out several teams in their conference but who knows who will get the number 1 spot this year.
Angel McCoughtry will always be one of the main players for the Dream. She was their best draft pick and that pick keeps paying off! She did a very good job last year with the help of Lindsay Harding. When McCoughtry stays in her forward position, anything can happen for the team. She is a great 3 spot player. What gets her into trouble is when she tries to overshadow the 1 and 2 spot. McCoughtry is a game changer and makes the team so much better when she gets down to business and gets after it.
The Dream are going to go season with out Lindsay Harding who is now with the Los Angeles Sparks. Harding was a great point guard for the Dream. She led this team on every fast break and made so much offense happen. Without her, Tiffany Hayes is going to have to step up and be what her team needs. They don’t need a leader because McCoughtry fills that role. They need a guard that can take control of the game and keep control. The rest will fall into place. Erika de Souza, and Sancho Lyttle will always have the low post game. There is nothing that these two ladies can’t do together. They grab the rebounds and the always keep up on the defensive end. The Dream always traded away draft picks to pick up Jasmine Thomas from the Washington Mystics. The Dream are trying to fill the spot and hopefully these changes keep the team going.
The Fever are hot off the trail of Championships. They haven’t lost a single person and have gained a great draftee. It is very possible that the Fever will repeat this season if someone from the Western Conference doesn’t stop them. The Fever have a good team and they use every person to be successful. There is a big chance that they will have another successful season.
Tamika Catchings is such a phenomenal player. She deserved the Championship last year and I believe she is thirst for another. They have a really good chance of doing it again and I know she won’t settle for less. In 2011 she was the League MVP and last year she was the Finals MVP. She has Most Valuable Player written all over her and that’s exactly what she is for the Fever.
Tamika Catchings has a lot of help being successful. Briann January and Katie Douglas do a very good job in the background creating plays, leading fastbreaks, and sealing games. January does a great job at PG position and Catch has fallen into the forward spot very well. The Big 3 for the Fever are huge for this team and Coach Linn Dunn knows it. Coach Dunn has kept her team going constantly reminding them of their goal. She is also a big part of their succes.
The Fever now need some depth and their draft selection helps them out. The Fever chose Layshia Clarendon this year during the draft. She’s going to add to the depth to the guard spot. The Fever are in need of a deeper bench. There were games where Douglas, January, and Catchings nearly played the entire game. The Fever are definitely getting after bench depth this year.