The WNBA stands as a shining beacon of talent and excitement in the basketball world, captivating fans since its inception in the late 90s. As we dive into the heart of the season, prepare to be dazzled by the incredible skills and thrilling storylines that abound throughout the league.
From jaw-dropping plays on the court, to compelling storylines off of it, we’re here to delve into the highlights and biggest themes of the early portion of the 2023 WNBA season
Start of The Season, Surpassing Expectations
Just over a few weeks of the WNBA season, we already see players upgrading their A-game and impressive storylines that could be a massive hitter throughout the season. WNBA contender New York Liberty combined with Las Vegas Aces for a solid 6-game win with an impressive 130 points.
At another end of the list, Indiana Fevers finally broke their horrendous 20-game losing streak on Sunday under 36 points and 19 rebounds credited to Aliya Boston and Nalyssa Smith, which can be recalled as the strong player picks from WNBA 2022 and 2023. With that said, there are several contenders in basketball here today.
Lexie Brown, Los Angeles Sparks
Lexie Brown has made more contributions from Spark’s first three games, seeing her teammates on the bench or switching over in the later stages of the quarter, and no surprise, she took full advantage of this and placed good numbers on the record.
Despite the struggle between Aces, she has surprising performance averages and could be an attractive player for sports bettors and fantasy managers should she keep a strong lead forward.
Sug Sutton, Phoenix Mercury
She is playing in her second WNBA season in 2020. Sutton has given double-digit points in all three games and built vital performance metrics. With Shey Peddy and Skylar Diggins-Smith both unavailable for long periods, Sutton has a clear opportunity to bring more numbers in the game and on her name if she continues to exceed averages.
Alana Smith, Chicago Sky
Alana Smith is one of the aspiring players who made waves at the start of the season. In her first game, she played with 12 rebounds, 14 points, two hard blocks, and a 3-point shot in the 28th minute. Smith started as a replacement for Bertsch, Harrison, and Ruthy Hebard from the frontcourt, with Bertsch having a recent injury stint that could extend her resting period.
With a significant absence of reliable players for Chicago Sky, Smith made a mark that she can produce and contest for more playing time and surpass her initial records moving forward.
Indiana Fever Looking to Carry a New Streak
With the burden of a losing streak, the Fevers are looking for an opportunity to break the burden with Connecticut Sun on Uncasville. The Indiana team outlasted Atlanta by over 90 to 87 points to lose their streak since last season.
What’s interesting is that Aliyah Boston is expected to take charge of the win and break the streak, only for second-pick Nalyssa Smith to lead 23 points and 12 rebounds over Boston’s 13-point contribution. Notable mentions of the game include Queen Egdo, with 10 points and an almost rebound of a double-double within 14 minutes, and Kristy Wallace, who also made 10 points throughout.
Despite Indiana’s impressive win, there are still more games to compete in the following weeks, and it’s up to them to either use this win to build a victory streak or fall under the burden again.
Griner Ready to Share Russian Incarceration Through Memoir
Griner says she’s ready to share her prison experience of incarceration in Russia. Basketball star and personality Brittney Griner confirms that she is writing a memoir that may be published around spring 2024.
Griner was arrested in February 2022 at an airport in Moscow for drug-related criminal violations and detained for almost a year. Around the time of her media discovery, Russia announced its invasion of Ukraine, further increasing tensions between affected nations, especially the United States.
After ten months of imprisonment, Griner was released as part of an international prison exchange for Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer, which sparked conversations between social media platforms. Griner added that she made the book to raise awareness of other foreign detainees in Russia. Aside from Griner, other notable foreigners detained overseas are Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal Reporter accused of espionage, and Paul Whelan, a former military personnel accused of spying.
Since its rise in popularity, WNBA has been at the forefront of sports controversy, criticisms, and related issues in social politics. Despite the ever-present detracting factors, WNBA athletes have proven to exceed expectations and bring action to the table.
With all the latest news and surprising storylines each team brings in this year’s season, we can only speculate what could happen in the next few weeks of this season- but we’ll be watching!