My final thoughts on the 2018 WNBA season

Wow. I cannot believe the 2018 WNBA season is over. It seems surreal to me that the time just flew by. It feels like it was just yesterday that the 2018 WNBA season got underway. It was by far the most fastest, hectic, rewarding and amazing season. The Twitter support I received along with writing articles for Hashtag Basketball made the season go faster than normal for me. It was a ton of fun writing and interacting with people via on Twitter. Thank you to everyone who took time to read my articles. It meant the world to me. This season was by far the most fulfilling season for me on a personal level because I got to connect with a new basketball audience that was not there in previous seasons. I got to reach out to other basketball fans and try to bridge the gap between the WNBA and other sports fans. It was so nice to see other outlets cover the WNBA in their own unique way and try to bring more coverage forward. I am so thankful for each and everyone of you who also viewed this blog when looking for updates. The blog was not frequently as updated as in previous seasons, but I will have coverage of the upcoming FIBA Women’s World Championship — specifically for Team Canada.

Thanks for always tweeting, reading, commenting, interacting on various mediums on the WNBA this year. I may have not always replied, but I always appreciated. Thank you to everyone for the constant support. I appreciate you all!

Best wishes,

Aneela

 

 

WNBA Draft Lottery — Who will win the #1 overall pick?

The 2019 WNBA Draft Lottery will take place tonight during half time of the WNBA semi final game 2 (Washington vs Atlanta). The four worst teams in the league this season have the opportunity to grab a great college player in yet another deep WNBA draft class.

The four worst teams this season were the Indiana Fever, Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty. The lottery rules have shifted and instead of the 1 year record, it now accounts for 2 years (or seasons). So, this means that the Fever and the Sky have the best odds of landing a top 2 pick. The Las Vegas Aces improved significantly this season but can still land a top 3 pick. The “worst” odds out of all the teams belongs to the New York Liberty. The Liberty were great in 2017, and that great year will affect them for this draft lottery. However, it should be noted that finishing fourth in this year’s lottery is not that bad. There are a ton of talented players available and the Liberty should fare well.

Keeping all that in mind, I believe that lottery drawings are a luck of the draw. The Indiana Fever REALLY need this top pick and would be thrilled to have it. However, I do not think the Fever will win tonight. I have a feeling it will be the Chicago Sky who come away with the #1 overall pick. I think the Fever will pick #2, the Aces at #3 and the Liberty at #4 overall. (I could be totally wrong, and it could just be the Fever who finally manage to win the #1 overall pick)

Whatever team will end up winning the #1 overall pick in 2019, they will have plenty of talented senior college players to choose from. Players such as Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr, Arike Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Kalani Brown and more. I tracked all of the college players for two years running and here was the latest on who the top overall junior player was for 2018.

This could change a WNBA teams fortune. So, who do you think will win the #1 overall pick? Tune in tonight to find out!

The 2018 WNBA Season at the first quarter point.

A'ja Wilson

The 2018 WNBA season has now reached the quarter point of the season as a large majority of teams have played 10 or 11 games now. Only Phoenix has played up to 13 games (the most in the WNBA, currently). A month of WNBA games has flown by in this condensed schedule, which has meant craziness around the league. Let’s break it down in terms of what teams have stood out, what players have excelled and those that have not yet so far. There’s still a lot of season left to be played, but at this point, we are starting to see what potential playoff and championship contenders could be.

Team(s) that have stood out:

The Connecticut Sun stood out in the very early part of the season before the schedule as well as injuries caught up to them. They were in first place for the start of the season but now have lost three straight and sit in fourth place overall. The Los Angeles Sparks have been the steadying force and as a result of other teams slipping up, they are now in first place. They’ve been solid and playing to their expectation level as many thought they would still be a top team. The Seattle Storm have been excellent as well and they have played really well under new coach Dan Hughes. Last but not least, is the Phoenix Mercury. Many had the Mercury making the playoffs and possibly a top 4 team, but no one expected this hot start from them. They have won eight straight games, they have the best road record and Diana Taurasi is playing excellent basketball along side Brittney Griner. Diana Taurasi may have a serious case for the WNBA MVP award if the Mercury keep this up.

Players that have stood out:

As mentioned above, Diana Taurasi has stood out early one quarter in the WNBA season, but Natasha Howard has been an excellent addition to the Seattle Storm. She has played well beside Breanna Stewart which has allowed her offensive game to flourish. She’s on track to being a WNBA All Star next month. Chiney Ogwumike has also stood out from the Sun simply because she was injured last season and has performed well so far. If not for her injuries, she would have already been in star form. She’s just that good. Elizabeth Cambage from Dallas also stands out because, despite not playing in the WNBA for many years, she’s become the second best player for the Wings and she’s performed really well for that team.

Team(s) that have not performed well so far

The two teams that have not played well so far are the defending WNBA champion the Minnesota Lynx and the New York Liberty. Prior to the season starting, many thought the Lynx would be the #1 team to beat but so far they have not been that team. As for the New York Liberty, they were thought of being a playoff contender but so far, they have struggled. Even with a healthy lineup, they have not been consistent so far and would miss the playoffs as they sit in ninth place overall.  Both the Liberty and the Lynx can be better than they are right now and they still have three quarters of the WNBA season to prove it.

The 2018 WNBA Rookie Class

ROOKIES!! These WNBA rookies came to play this season. Led by A’ja Wilson, the #1 overall WNBA draft pick, Kelsey Mitchell, Kia Nurse, Ariel Atkins, Victoria Vivians, Myisha Hines Allen, Azura Stevens, Diamond DeShields, Gabby Williams have ALL shown flashes or have had games in which they have stood out so far. These rookies are different from previous recent classes because they have played well or have contributed to their teams in some kind of capacity. The WNBA is in good hands with these rookies as some of them have shown superstar or WNBA All Star potential. Some have shown they can be future great defenders or great starters.

SCHEDULE

The WNBA schedule is a talking point because let’s face it, these condensed schedule is nuts. We are already in Week 5, some teams have been on crazy road trips out West, some teams have played 4 games in 7 days, etc. Also there have been some really bad back to back game schedules. Each team will experience it or already have experienced it. Teams are now starting to lose players due to it which does not help teams in terms of making the playoffs. Thanks a lot, FIBA. It’s all your fault. (On the other hand, it does increase the amount of WNBA games on the schedule, which is a bonus for us, personally speaking)

STAT LEADERS

Point guard / Shooting guard Skylar Diggins-Smith currently leads the WNBA in scoring with 21.9 points per game followed by Breanna Stewart and Tina Charles.

Center Sylvia Fowles leads the way in rebounding with 11.8 rebounds per game followed by Elizabeth Williams and Alyssa Thomas.

Point guard Sue Bird leads the way in assists with 5.9 assists per game followed by Chelsea Gray and Skylar Diggins- Smith

There’s many more categories, but I chose the main three statistics.


 

That wraps up the 2018 WNBA season at the quarter point. There’s still so much to be decided, and we will have much more to discuss when the WNBA reaches at it’s halfway point, so stay tuned for that blog post. (The halfway point — believe it or not, is in two weeks!)

WNBA Players Scoring/Rebounding/Assists Milestones for the 2018 season

A new WNBA season is upon us. There’s so much to look forward too, but for these following WNBA players, it will be even more special as they can cross certain milestones and move themselves up in the WNBA lists. As always, my inspiration for this comes from Kevin Brown’s WNBA site where you can find all of these information and much more. I also used Across the Timeline’s website in which they detailed all of the upcoming WNBA players milestones.  I only cover the three main categories and will update every single time via my Twitter when a player is near a certain milestone just like I have in previous years. *Note: I only put WNBA players who I think are capable of reaching the milestone THIS season ONLY.*

SCORING MILESTONES

8000 points

Diana Taurasi needs 133 points to reach 8000 points.  She will be the FIRST EVER WNBA player to reach that scoring milestone. (Phoenix Mercury)

7000 points

Cappie Pondexter needs 409 points to reach 7000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

6000 points

Sue Bird needs 160 points to reach 6000 points. (Seattle Storm)

Candice Dupree needs 398 points to reach 6000 points. (Indiana Fever)

Seimone Augustus needs 521 points to reach 6000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

5000 points

Angel McCoughtry needs 10 points to reach 5000 points. (Atlanta Dream)

Tina Charles needs 228 points to reach 5000 points. (New York Liberty)

Candace Parker needs 422 points to reach 5000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

Maya Moore needs 628 points to reach 5000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

Sylvia Fowles needs 681 points to reach 5000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

4000 points

Rebekkah Brunson needs 32 points to reach 4000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

DeWanna Bonner needs 353 points to reach 4000 points. (Phoenix Mercury)

3000 points

Renee Montgomery needs 141 points to reach 3000 points. (Atlanta Dream)

Epiphanny Prince needs 146 points to reach 3000 points. (New York Liberty)

Shavonte Zellous needs 322 points to reach 3000 points. (New York Liberty)

Elena Delle Donne needs 352 points to reach 3000 points. (Washington Mystics)

2000 points

Courtney Vandersloot needs 84 points to reach 2000 points. (Chicago Sky)

Karima Christmas-Kelly needs 162 points to reach 2000 points. (Dallas Wings)

Danielle Robinson needs 182 points to reach 2000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

Kia Vaughn needs 214 points to reach 2000 points. (New York Liberty)

Alex Bentley needs 239 points to reach 2000 points. (Connecticut Sun)

Allie Quigley needs 243 points to reach 2000 points. (Chicago Sky)

Odyssey Sims needs 288 points to reach 2000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

Kayla McBride needs 433 points to reach 2000 points. (Las Vegas Aces)

Jewell Loyd needs 473 points to reach 2000 points. (Seattle Storm)

1000 points

Chelsea Gray needs 68 points to reach 1000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

Chiney Ogwumike needs 104 points to reach 1000 points. (Connecticut Sun)

Alex Montgomery needs 113 points to reach 1000 points. (Chicago Sky)

Bria Hartley needs 144 points to reach 1000 points. (New York Liberty)

Elizabeth Williams needs 170 points to reach 1000 points. (Atlanta Dream)

Erica Wheeler needs 225 points to reach 1000 points. (Indiana Fever)

Jonquel Jones needs 246 points to reach 1000 points. (Connecticut Sun)

Natasha Howard needs 262 points to reach 1000 points. (Seattle Storm)

Liz Cambage needs 294 points to reach 1000 points. (Dallas Wings)

Moriah Jefferson needs 337 points to reach 1000 points. (Las Vegas Aces)

3000 rebounds

Tina Charles needs 347 rebounds to reach 3000 rebounds. (New York Liberty)

Sylvia Fowles needs 374 rebounds to reach 3000 rebounds. (Minnesota Lynx)

1000 rebounds

Noelle Quinn needs 6 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Seattle Storm)

Marissa Coleman needs 45 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (New York Liberty)

Jessica Breland needs 86 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Atlanta Dream)

Karima Christmas-Kelly needs 136 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Dallas Wings)

Elena Delle Donne needs 143 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Washington Mystics)

Krystal Thomas needs 197 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Washington Mystics)

1000 assists

Renee Montgomery needs 75 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Atlanta Dream)

Kristi Toliver needs 79 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Washington Mystics)

Briann January needs 91 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Phoenix Mercury)

Danielle Robinson needs 121 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Minnesota Lynx)

Leilani Mitchell needs 197 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Phoenix Mercury)

 

2018 EuroLeague Women Final Four Semi finals Recap

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a while since I last posted a blog post and I thought I would recap both the EuroLeague Women Final Four semi finals games.


Semi Final Game #1 : UMMC vs Dynamo Kursk

There will be a new champion in EuroLeague Women as Russian powerhouse UMMC defeated the reigning champion Dynamo Kursk by a final score of 84 to 77.

Led by Maya Moore’s 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, UMMC was efficient both on the perimeter and in the paint. After UMMC Ekatrinburg took a two point lead after the first quarter, Dynamo Kursk stormed back and took a nine point lead thanks to the play of Angel McCoughtry who came off the bench. However, the lead was short lived as UMMC came storming back and was only down by one at the half. In the third quarter, UMMC was red hot and Dynamo Kursk just didn’t have enough scoring power other than Angel McCoughtry to keep up. UMMC was then able to control the game from that excellent third quarter and maintained the lead to grab a win. Now, UMMC will have a chance to become Euroleague champions when they face off in the final versus either Sopron or YDU this Sunday, April 22nd.  Not only was Maya Moore excellent but Brittney Griner, Emma Messeman and Kristi Toliver helped in delivering a great win for UMMC Ekatrinburg.

Semi Final Game #2: Yakin Dogu vs Sopron Basket

The fairytale season continues on for Sopron Basket. They are heading to the Euroleague Women final versus UMMC. Sopron Basket took full advantage of the Euroleague Women Final Four being held in Sopron. From the start of the game, they took control of the game and played stellar defense versus the Euroleague’s scoring leader Kayla McBride and caused several turnovers that led to easy baskets for Sopron. They never allowed Yakin Dogu to get comfortable. They went into halftime with a 10 point lead.

After halftime, it was a different story. Despite maintaining the lead, Yakin Dogu was able to get easier baskets both on the perimeter and in the paint. Yakin Dogu’s defence was much better in the second half which caused problems for Sopron. They had trouble scoring and Yakin Dogu came back. With roughly 3 minutes left, Yakin Dogu and Sopron Basket held brief leads over another until the score was tied at 65 a piece. Jelena Milavonic then hit a huge three pointer with about two seconds remaining. Yakin Dogu then recieved a 5 second violation on the other end which sealed the deal for Sopron. This is a historic win for Sopron as they head off to the title game taking place on Sunday April 22nd.

FINAL 2018 WNBA Mock Draft

Diamond DeShields. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Well, this is it. We have reached the final week. The WNBA Draft tips off THIS Thursday at 7 pm on ESPN2. Make sure you tune in and watch. As for me, this is the final 2018 WNBA Mock Draft you will get from this blog. Thank you everyone for your constant support through out all of these WNBA mock drafts. I have received over 2,500+ views on all three previous versions which is mind blowing. So again, THANK YOU! And I am wishing all those draftees good luck as well as to the draft invitees and may your future be forever changed.

FIRST ROUND

  1. A’ja Wilson (F) – Las Vegas Aces
  2. Kelsey Mitchell (G) – Indiana Fever
  3. Diamond DeShields (G/F) – Chicago Sky
  4. Azura Stevens (F) – Chicago Sky
  5. Jordin Canada (G) – Seattle Storm
  6. Gabby Williams (F) – Dallas Wings
  7. Victoria Vivians (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Lexie Brown (G) – Indiana Fever
  9. Kia Nurse (G) – Connecticut Sun
  10. Maria Vadeeva (C) – New York Liberty
  11. Monique Billings (F) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Marie Gulich (C) – Phoenix Mercury

SECOND ROUND

  1. Stephanie Mavunga (C) – Las Vegas Aces
  2. Jaime Nared (F) – Indiana Fever
  3. Myisha Hines-Allen (F) – Connecticut Sun
  4. Jill Barta (F) – Atlanta Dream
  5. Ariel Atkins (G) – Minnesota Lynx
  6. Mercedes Russell (C) – Dallas Wings
  7. Tyler Scaife (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Loryn Goodwin (G) – Phoenix Mercury
  9. Roshunda Johnson (F) – Phoenix Mercury
  10. Shakayla Thomas (G) – New York Liberty
  11. Tyra Buss (G) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Katelynn Flaherty (G) – Minnesota Lynx

THIRD ROUND

  1. Brooke McCarty (G) – Phoenix Mercury
  2. Natalie Butler (C) – Indiana Fever
  3. Vionise Pierre – Louis (C) – Atlanta Dream
  4. Morgan William (G) – Chicago Sky
  5. Rebecca Greenwell (G) – Seattle Storm
  6. Lexi Bando (G) – Dallas Wings
  7. Carlie Wagner (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Gabbi Ortiz (G) – Las Vegas Aces
  9. Linnae Harper (G) – Connecticut Sun
  10. Maria Jespersen (F) – New York Liberty
  11. Kaylee Jensen (C) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Raisa Musina (C) – Minnesota Lynx

WNBA Draft 2018: Your handy TV viewing guide to watching the draft.

The WNBA Draft is upon us. In just a couple of days, we will get to learn of new names, new faces who will become future stars of the WNBA. As an avid WNBA watcher for 10 years now, I think it’s time to unveil my TV viewing guide to those watching the WNBA Draft for the very first time.

 

  1. The WNBA Draft is a big event for the WNBA and for all the 12 teams. The draft invitees get treated like superstars that day. By the time the draft starts, the anxiety and nerves set in.
  2. There will be an ESPN crew to handle the draft. Usually it’s Rebecca Lobo + another analyst, Holly Rowe and Ryan Rucco plus LaChina Robinson. Their job is to moderate and comment on all of the draft picks immediately, especially in the first round.
  3. The WNBA commissioner will come out onto the stage and declare that the draft is now underway. The timer then sets to 3:00 minutes for the first round.
  4. The first round is made for TV so those 3 minutes between picks for talking EVEN when the draft pick is in.
  5. The ESPN crew will then discuss who the top prospects are. EX: A’ja Wilson, Azura Stevens, Jordin Canada.
  6. Expect LOTS of camera shots of A’ja Wilson. And on her coach Dawn Staley
  7. If Wilson goes as #1 pick, expect Holly Rowe to interview head coach Dawn Staley as well as presumed pick A’ja Wilson.
  8. When it’s time for the #2 pick, expect lots of camera shots of Kelsey Mitchell, Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, etc.
  9. When that #2 player is announced, look at the other players faces. That’s always fun. Or look at the parents/families faces.
  10. Expect lots of words such as “potential”, “raw talent”, “can be a contributor right away” to be used.
  11. When Holly Rowe is interviewing players, expect her to ask these two questions, 1) Congratulations! How do you feel right now? and 2) What do  you feel like you can bring to Team X?
  12. We may or may not get war room shots of teams in the first round.
  13. The first round can be dramatic occasionally. Or it can go as planned. They usually finish the first round by the alloted time, however if it goes late, you have to quickly turn to ESPNU. Which most people don’t have. It’s usually the 11th or 12th pick that ends up in that situation.
  14. Trades. For whatever reason, everyone always thinks there’s so many TRADES that will happen. NO. I’m here to set the record straight. Yes, there may be trades, but expect only 1 or 2 in the first round. The rest can be done in the second or third round but it may not have an impact.
  15. Also, if there is a trade, the ESPN crew will acknowledge it and analyze the trade on the spot. You will get the analysts opinion right away.
  16. If you want constant updates on the draft order selection, do not trust the WNBA Twitter page. It can be slow and a bit behind. ESPN on TV for the first round is reliable. After that, they are barely announced. It’s on the score ticker below the screen.
  17. If you do want constant updates, trust one of the bloggers or reporters that are there live. They will be your best source that day.
  18. When that second round starts, usually ESPN does announce the first couple of picks. But after the 15th or 16th pick, they start interviewing coaches. Or players from the first round. Expect them to interview A’ja Wilson during this time. As well as head coach Bill Laimbeer of the Las Vegas Aces.
  19. More war room shots.
  20. The second and third rounds go by so fast. Like a blur. The draft is done in the alloted time.
  21. When it’s done and completed with, expect the next ESPN program to start immediately.
  22. For the most part, ESPN does do a great job of televising the WNBA Draft. But as an avid WNBA watcher & part time blogger I would love more. I would love for the second round picks to be announced. The same with the third round.