Well, that’s it, we’re three days away from the start of the WNBA season, the ten preseason games are over, and it’s decision-making time. Teams need to finalize their rosters and many talented players will be waived over the next couple of days. Some of those cuts will not be popular with fans of the game, but that’s what you get with only 144 spots in the league. This is when the rubber hits the road.
What have we learned in the preseason about the teams and the players fighting for the final roster spots?
One thing’s for sure, we know this year’s ESPN ranked top 25 WNBA players are safe. They’re the best of the best and the only things stopping them are injuries (knock on wood) but a number of them are on the mend and it was great to see them back in action!
These are no-brainers, but what about those rookies? We’ve had a couple of heartbreaks already with Seattle waiving NC State’s Elissa Cunane and Raina Perez. (But don’t worry, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them again after some experience overseas.)
Another Seattle rookie has stood out this preseason, second-round #21 pick, Evina Westbrook who scored 15 points in their game against Pheonix Mercury. Pairing up with fellow UConn player Breanna Stewart will be a solid big-small combo.
Other rookies that impressed were the #1 pick Rhyne Howard for Atlanta Dream and the Fever group who have been getting a lot of minutes thanks to this being a rebuilding year. Of that group, Fashionista Destanni Henderson seems to be a lock, I mean you can’t put someone on your poster and then not take them, right?
As far as teams go, the preseason is hard to tell as many of the games were under cloak and dagger and weren’t even streamable (boo!). Stat sheets and social media from those in attendance were all we could see. One team didn’t even play, New York decided to keep the Broadway curtain closed for their game against Washington so we have nothing to “see” there.
It’s okay though as these games can be misleading with overseas players still to return (next year that will change with the prioritization clause the WNBA and the players agreed upon), coaches playing different line-ups to see how they fit together, and it takes time for teams to gel together.
Although one thing the teams did show us… we’re in for a lot of fun this season! Here are a couple of reasons why:
- Chicago can touch the Sky again – the reigning champ is bringing back most of their team from last year including a number of all-stars.
- Las Vegas Shooting Aces – coach Becky Hammon brings a new style of play with plenty of threes (23 in their preseason loss to the Lynx 89-86 and coach says 25+ will be the new norm).
- Seattle Storm chasers – it’s Sue Bird’s last year, Breanna Stewart is on a one-year contract, and Jewel Lloyd for two. They are here to chase that Championship trophy. Period.
- Mystical cloud in Washington – with Elena Delle Donne and Alysha Clark back and picking up Japan’s speedy guard Rui Machida, they may be undercover now but it won’t last long.
This season’s going to be a party and we’re here for it!
SO excited! It’s only a couple more days to see who makes those final roster spots before the WNBA regular season tips off on Friday, May 6th!