The WNBA is the premier women’s basketball league in the US, and has arguably the best collection of talent of women’s basketball players in the world. It has been home to countless superstars throughout its nearly 30-year existence and built a loyal and enthusiastic fan base. Whether you’re new to the fun and excitement of the WNBA or a long standing fan, it is vital to know who the biggest names are and how they can influence and impact the future of the WNBA.
Like any sports league, the WNBA is made up of players varying from legendary players with years-long careers to bright-eyed up and coming stars of the future. Keeping track of the latest additions to the WNBA can help you improve your overall understanding of the game and stay ahead of any changes that might be coming for your favourite team.
Here are nine of the key up-and-coming players to keep an eye on in the 2023 WNBA season:
Howard has had a successful career in both college and professional basketball. She currently plays for Atlanta Dream and has been a prominent player, helping bring her team back-to-back wins over the recent months. As a basketball pro at the very start of her career, Howard is definitely one to watch in the upcoming seasons. She’s been the first pick since the beginning of her pro career and looks set to continue on this promising trajectory.
Michaela Onyenwere is an up-and-coming basketball player in the WNBA. She was originally selected by the New York Liberty with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, but right now she plays for Phoenix Mercury, after being traded in a four-team trade involving the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, Dallas Wings, and Chicago Sky.
Onyenwere is a 6’0″ forward who played college basketball at UCLA, where she was a two-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection and a three-time All-Pac-12 honouree. She was also named to the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team in 2018. In her rookie season with the Liberty, Onyenwere showed her versatility and potential as a scorer, rebounder, and defender.
Sika Koné was selected by the New York Liberty in the 2022 draft. Sika is a Malian basketball player, who represented Gran Canaria in the Spanish women’s basketball league. This young Malian is trying to be the best African player of her generation. This is thanks to her ability to be effective both in attack and defence.
Sika was originally the 29th pick in the 2022 draft, she finally reached her dream league, something she has been dreaming of since she was young. She found out that she was picked while watching back home in Spain, and her hard work is starting to pay off. Sika will be one to watch out for going forward.
Boston is a clear rising star in basketball and likely to see her WNBA debut in the coming seasons. She has won almost every award there is in the league she’s in currently and has been instrumental in bringing South Carolina to a win in the national championship league of 2021-2022. Keep an eye out for her in the WNBA draft in the coming months, as she’s sure to have a bright future in pro basketball.
Her stats over the last season have been incredible, and if you want to learn more about reading and understanding stats for your favourite WNBA stars, consider trying out some slot games. Learning what to look for in the best payout slots can be invaluable to help you better understand basketball odds and stats.
Haley Jones of the Minnesota Lynx has an incredible set of skills that allows her to make some incredible plays and help guide the play around her. She has some skills to develop in areas of her game yet, but the performances that have been seen from her so far are nothing less than exceptional.
With a quality team around her, she is unstoppable in the areas she excels at and is likely only to improve as she progresses throughout her career. Every player needs the support of her team to be an effective part of the group, and it seems that Jones doesn’t lack an enthusiastic and close knit team in the Minnesota Lynx.
NaLyssa is an American basketball player who represents the Indiana Fever, playing her trade in the WNBA. She originally played college basketball at Baylor, seeing success as she helped the team lift the NCAA Division I Championship in 20219. In 2022, she was drafted second by Indiana Fever.
Smith represented the Lady Bears during her freshman year, and played minutes off the bench, helping the team to big wins. By the time it came to her junior year, Smith started to play more and more, helping her win major awards. These awards certainly helped her stand out during the draft.
Another player representing the Indiana Fever, Emily was selected with the fourth overall pick in 2022. Towards the end of 2022, Emily scored a season-high 18 points, five rebounds and three blocks during the loss to the Washington Mystics. During her rookie season, she managed some good points and averages, showing that she could be ready to start some more games.
Speaking of the Washington Mystics, they drafted Shakira Austin as the third overall pick in the 2022 draft. Her college career saw a lot of success, representing Maryland and Ole Miss. Austin was ranked fourth in the nation in the 2018 recruiting class, and was ranked as the second best forward. She joined Maryland straight out of high school, and was awarded the Gillom Trophy in 2021 during her time with Ole Miss.
Down in Dallas, Veronica Burton was drafted in the first round, being the 7th overall pick with the Dallas Wings in 2022. Burton is a 5’9″ guard who had been a standout player for Northwestern since her freshman year. She was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team in 2019 and has been a two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection in 2020 and 2021. She was also named to the All-Big Ten Defensive Team in 2020 and 2021. You should watch out for her career with great interest.
The WNBA is awash with the top women’s basketball talent in the world today. There is so much to learn from all of these players that it is sure to boost your understanding of the game, its rules and its intricacies. Following players on the lower levels who look set to become some of the biggest stars can give you a deeper understanding of what it takes to make a player truly great. Following any of these women’s careers is sure to be a rewarding and educational experience that can give you an even greater enjoyment of basketball.