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)

 

Game #33 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Phoenix Mercury Game Recap

Diana Taurasi shoots over Jayne Appel. Taurasi had 20 points and 10 assists as the Mercury won against the Silver Stars 81-62 at US Airways Arena in Phoenix. Photo courtesy of Barrie Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

The San Antonio Silver Stars suffered their second straight loss in Phoenix and drop their 4th game in a row. The Stars finsh 4-13 on the road this season and are currently 11-22 on the season.The Mercury win the season series 3-2 against the Silver Stars. Danielle Adams and Shenise Johnson each had 11 points each and Jayne Appel had 10 rebounds. Diana Taurasi had 20 points and 10 assists to led the Mercury.

There’s just not that much to say about this game because the Silver Stars didn’t have anything to play for and the Mercury were just using this game to get better for their playoff run beginning next week. The Phoenix  Mercury started off hot and led 18-8 at one point before the Silver Stars rallied and made it a game 40-31 at half time. In the third quarter, both teams were able to stay close to one another and the Mercury lead by 7 going into the 4th Q. Momentum shifted when the Mercury got hot from 3 and were able to score 15 points easily thanks in large part of the play of Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor who played in her first game against San Antonio this season. Both players were able to feed off from one another and the Silver Stars failed to score a single point in which the Mercury won the game thanks to a 21-0 run in the fourth quarter.  San Antonio now comes home and faces the Atlanta Dream who will be desperate in winning the game so even though the Stars haven’t played well recently, they can end this rough season at home with a win.

The Silver Stars play their last regular season game against the Atlanta Dream tomorrow at home. It’s also Fan Appreciation night, so if you live in San Antonio, come out and enjoy the game!

Game #12 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Phoenix Mercury Game Recap

The San Antonio Silver Stars are back on track.  For just the fourth time this season, they won.  SIX San Antonio players were in double figures and the Silver Stars stole a win from the Phoenix Mercury. Danielle Adams was the team’s high scorer of the afternoon game with 19 points. Jayne Appel had a career night with 13 points (a new career high) and 8 rebounds.

The Silver Stars were ready and poised to play this game. The Phoenix Mercury, on the other hand were not. They were already missing Brittney Griner who did not play because of a knee sprain and Lynetta Kizer who was a game time decision. The Stars were able to avoid having Griner in the game and therefore they were able to score in the paint at will. One of the keys in my game preview for this matchup was to defend Brittney as best as they could. Without her presence, the Silver Stars benefited and the Mercury didn’t.

The Silver Stars matched the Phoenix Mercury point by point in the first quarter. Neither team was defending, and the Silver Stars were playing how the Mercury play — run, shoot, and get out on the open floor.  They were able to find each other with good passes and took good shots. The Silver Stars were able to stay close with the Mercury until the Silver Stars were able to open up their lead at 83-75 to win the game by a final score of 88-80. Diana Taurasi also fouled out of the game with THREE fouls in the fourth quarter. Diana was able to score at ease in the first half and slowed down in the second half. The Silver Stars also got contributions from Delisha Milton Jones who finished with 16 points.

This was a good win for the Silver Stars. There is no doubt. I’m beginning to think Jayne Appel is the Silver Stars most important player on the floor. She’s the Silver Stars best interior defender, she’s a good passer and a good rebounder.  When she plays, the Silver Stars play better defense, overall the offence is crisper, and the Stars often have a good shot of winning the basketball game.

The Silver Stars next game is at home against the much improved Washington Mystics on Friday, June 12.

Game #9 Phoenix Mercury vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap(Quick Hits)

Danielle Robinson’s 15 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds were not enough to secure the win

Photo courtesy of the SilverStars.com

Well, the winning didn’t continue as the Silver Stars fell to the Mercury by a final score of 83-77.

This game was the game of runs and as many basketball watchers, fans, analysts, reporters know, whoever scores the most baskets wins the game. The Silver Stars were hot early and got off to a 26  to 18 start. Then the Mercury got hot and outscored the Stars 25-7. The Silver Stars came back and outscored the Mercury 23 – 10 in the 3rd. And in the final quarter, the Mercury got the last run and were able to get a win on the road. 

The Silver Stars are now below .500 at home (2-3) while the Mercury improved a game over .500 on the road (3-2)

Brittney Griner was the player of the game. She was everywhere. Her first pro game in which she had an impact on the game and in the final score. She had a career high 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks. This was also a homecoming for Brittney as she was back in Texas for the first time since March.

Diana Taurasi was held in check and really, despite her near triple double wasn’t as effective

Danielle Robinson continues to be the Silver Stars best and most consistent player, even with veterans Jia and Shameka Christon. She was simply outstanding and the Silver Stars would be lost without her if she didn’t play this season

Nice to see a big crowd at the AT&T Center. Especially on ESPN2. And I’m glad it was a good game for basketball fans

This was the first of 5 match ups. The Silver Stars next game is on June 30th against the red hot Atlanta Dream (8-1). 

– BLOGGER’S NOTE – This is also my last post before I go on vacation. I shall be back July 2nd. Have a great week!

Game #9 Phoenix Mercury vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Day Preview

It’s game day for the Silver Stars as they take on the new and improved Phoenix Mercury.  The Silver Stars and Phoenix Mercury are coming off wins and the Silver Stars are one win behind the Mercury so this match up is important to the Silver Stars. This is also the 1st of 5 game series between both teams. This game will also be on national television(ESPN2) and it is the Silver Stars only appearance this season. This will be Phoenix 3rd national TV appearance.  The Silver Stars are .500 (2-2) at home this season, while the Mercury are also .500 (2-2) on the road so far this season.

The official game preview for tonight’s game.

The Phoenix Mercury’s beat writer Ben York discusses the keys to the game against the Silver Stars

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Defending Diana Taurasi. Diana is averaging around 24.6 ppg this season, and last week she averaged nearly 30 points. While it might be difficult to stop Diana from scoring, the Silver Stars will need to make her work on getting her shots and making it difficult for her to get going. If the Silver Stars can stop her from doing just that, it increases their chances of winning the game.

2. The Silver Stars X Factor. The Silver Stars need someone other than Danielle Adams, Jia Perkins, Danielle Robinson, Shenise Johnson to step up. Last game, it was Delisha Milton Jones who had 15 points. The Stars will need more scoring from another player in order to keep pace with the Mercury

3. Get Brittney Griner in foul trouble. This might be a little easier said than done. Jayne Appel is listed day to day, and if she does play, her job has to be keeping Griner in check, as Brittney has rounded into form the last couple of games for the Mercury and will be eager to play well in front of her home town fans (I’m sure plenty of Baylor fans will be there as will as her parents)

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS FOR THE SILVER STARS

PG – Danielle Robinson

SG – Jia Perkins

SF – Shameka Christon

PF – Delisha Milton Jones

C – Danielle Adams (Jayne Appel if she can play)

STARTING LINE UPS FOR THE PHOENIX MERCURY

G – Brianna Gilbreath

G – Diana Taurasi

G / F – Dewanna Bonner

F – Candice Dupree

C – Brittney Griner

The game will be at the AT&T Center at 7 pm local time, 8 pm EST and 5 pm PST. It will be on ESPN2 and it will be blacked out on Live Access.