This past week in the WNBA continued a great start to the season. On Tuesday June 9th, The Liberty got the win against a struggling Indiana Fever, winning 86-79, while the Tulsa Shock beat the Seattle Storm 68-54, continuing to improve and look more and more like a team that could finally make the playoffs for the first time since moving from Detroit.
On Thursday, the surprising Sun edged out the Sky for their second win of the season, 67 to 65, the Liberty won big against the Mercury at home 68-57, and the Atlanta Dream got back to back wins against the Stars and the Mystics, but then fell on Sunday to Connecticut.
The Minnesota Lynx dominated the Seattle Storm on Friday winning 94-70. Sunday’s group of games saw the Sky destroy the Fever, the Mercury hand the Lynx their first loss of the season, Tulsa downing the struggling Stars, Seattle coming back in the second half and beating Los Angeles, and the Mystics beating New York.
Looking back on the week of games, we had teams that were up and down, like the Lynx and Dream, while other teams continue to surprise with their play, namely Connecticut. Tulsa is really rebounding this season, and at 3-1, they are looking like the strongest contender to take on the Lynx in the Western Conference. Depsite the road loss to Phoenix on Sunday, the Lynx still won once this week, and still look like the best team in the league.
The Washington Mystics look like they will make good on their chance to finish better than .500 this year, and honestly look like the best team in the East. the Chicago Sky could still be a force in the East as well, however, as they saw Elena Delle Donne continue to dominate with a game high 24 points on Sunday against the Fever, with 27 year-old rookie Clarissa Dos Santos getting 12 points and 5 great rebounds.
The Connecticut Sun are playing well thus far, and in their win against Atlanta four players scored in double figures, led by Kelsey Bone and Shekinna Stricklen who had 18 points each. They look like the second best team in the East behind the Mystics, and just ahead of the Liberty, who round out the top in the standings so far. The Sun, Mystics and Liberty are the only teams in the east with winning records, while Tulsa and Minnesota are the only two in the West with winning records. Everyone else in the league stand at or below .500, but again, it’s early in the season.
Despite some teams’ up and down play, plenty of teams still look like they can be competitive and anything could happen as the season goes on. Atlanta could improve and really build on last year, the Sky can continue to grow as well, and with Cappie Pondexter, resurgent Vandersloot, and MVP candidate Delle Donne, they could still end up the team that makes it back to the Finals.
In the Western Conference, teams like the Mercury and Sparks are short-handed, but have the talent to still give the Shock and Lynx a tough battle, especially in the Playoffs. San Antonio is the team that has simply looked bad, with the 3rd worst points per game average and the least rebounds per game average as well. If you don’t rebound, you don’t win. It will be interesting to see if they stay basement dwellers, or if they can turn things around and improve on their 16-18 record from last year.
All told, it was an exciting week in the WNBA, and it will great to see how the rest of the early part of the season unfolds.