The WNBA Regular Season – Taking a look back on all 12 teams

*Note: With the WNBA regular season ended more than a week ago and the WNBA Playoffs well underway, I know that this post is a bit late. This post is taking a look back on all 12 teams and how they finished post All Star break into the end of the regular season.

The 2017 WNBA regular season came to a close more than a week ago. It was a successful 2017 WNBA season as this season saw more fans attend more games since 2011. It was also one of the most highly social interacted on social media platforms thanks to the Twitter partnership, FanDuel deal and the introduction of the WNBA in a video game in NBA Live 18. There were some memorable moments in the 2017 season and there’s more to look forward to in 2018 as the league continues to grow.

All 12 teams at one point or another save for the San Antonio Stars were in playoff contention at some point in the year and the new playoff format saw teams playing their best until the very end of the regular season which is something that would not have happened under the old format in which teams tended to rest their players the final day.

We now take a look back at all 12 WNBA teams starting from the team to the worst record to the team with the best record post All Star break.

WNBA Team: San Antonio Stars

The San Antonio Stars were much better in the second half of the year in which they not only produced more wins but were more competitive and could have pulled out a few more wins. After struggling through the first 2 months, Stars first pick Kelsey Plum found her groove and played much better in the final months. She was in contention for WNBA  Rookie of the Month honors for the month of August. After a slow start, she started coming into form and showed that she can be a great point guard although she still has much to learn. Meanwhile, the other Stars point guard Moriah Jefferson struggled with knee injuries and barely played in the final months and the Stars have not yet updated her status but she should be ready to play next May. The Stars have this off- season to decide whether or not to retain Vicky Johnson and need to upgrade some of the starting lineup so that the Stars can be compete for the playoffs which has not happened since 2014.

WNBA Team: Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever had a rough second half of the season with many players having season ending injuries and the other players not performing up to their level save for Fever star Candice Dupree and Fever guard Erica Wheeler. When a team often loses their franchise player there are often growing pains and the Fever experienced that as they had a record WNBA loss against the Minnesota Lynx in the second half of the season and failed to make the playoffs in which they used to do regularly. Not all of it was bad however. Tiffany Mitchell had her moments, Shenise Johnson was the team’s leading scorer before she went down with a season ending injury and some of the team’s younger players got a chance to grow for next season. The Fever have work to do in the off- season if they want to get back to the WNBA playoffs next year.

WNBA Team: Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream were a complete mess in the second half of the season. They were mostly hovering around the .500 mark before going on a losing streak which saw them not only lose their shot at the WNBA playoffs but they also lost their shot of drafting a top player next year when they traded for Imani Boyette and Tamera Young in exchange for Jordan Hooper and their 2018 first round pick. Because of the way the Dream finished the season, the first round pick became even more vital. After having 3 WNBA All Stars in the WNBA ASG, the Dream struggled and while rookie Brittney Sykes continued to bloom and was the Rookie of the Month for August and is in contention for Rookie of the Year, the rest of the team took a step back and the Dream management fired head coach Michael Cooper at the end of the disappointing end to what was a promising start. The Dream will get Angel McCoughtry back after she sat out the 2017 season but they also have work to do to get back into the WNBA playoffs for next season.

WNBA Team: Chicago Sky

The Chicago Sky were somewhat respectable in the second half of the season. They had moments where they looked playoff ready and others were they looked like they were lottery bound. It was an up and down second half of the season for the Sky. Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley remain one of the top back court duos in the WNBA and Stefanie Dolson is emerging as a top WNBA forward/center but other than that, the Sky could not get consistency beyond Jessica Breland and therefore was stuck in the dreaded 9th place where a team is good but not great enough for the playoffs. However, the 2018 outlook looks much better as the Sky are the most rich lottery team in terms of first round picks and should have much to look forward to in 2018 as they aim for the WNBA Playoffs.

WNBA Team: Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm struggled with inconsistency for most of the season but during the second half of the season, the head coach Jenny Boucek was fired as the team was struggling and the team needed new leadership. Interim coach Gary Kloppenburg took control and the Storm seemed to trend in an upward direction as they won four straight and then struggled with inconsistency the rest of the year. However it was good enough to make the WNBA Playoffs which was a goal the organization had in mind and at least for this season was good enough. However, while Storm star Breanna Stewart was great, Jewell Loyd struggled with inconsistency and it showed in games. The Storm bench was not always up to par and so the Storm have work to do and have to address their needs otherwise they maybe a lottery team next season. They also have to address whether or not they will keep Gary Kloppenburg or hire a new head coach altogether.

WNBA Team: Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings had a stable second half of the season. They mostly hovered around the .500 mark for the second half of the season and were competitive in many games despite their defense being the worst in the league. Skylar Diggins was exceptional for the Wings and the Wings also got help from Glory Johnson, Theresa Plaisance, Allisha Gray, Karima Christmas-Kelly to help them make the playoffs after their move to Dallas last season. Allisha Gray struggled in the second half of the season but still was a solid rookie and in contention for WNBA Rookie of the Year. The Wings with 5 rookies were able to make the playoffs and have much to look forward to in 2018 but must address their defense otherwise they may take a step back next season.

WNBA Team: Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics did not have a great ending to the 2017 season. Their second half was marred with injuries to key players such as Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud. They were in contention for the #4 overall seed before injuries took a toll and the Mystics lost a couple of games. After a promising start to the season, the Mystics just could not pull it together during the second half of the season and dropped in the standings to the #6 seed. However, it was not all bad for the Mystics. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough showed she can play, Emma Messeman stepped up her game and Krystal Thomas shined. Because of injuries, it is difficult to tell how good the Mystics can be but they will be definitely better next season when all of the key players are healthy and ready to go.

WNBA Team: Phoenix Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury overachieved during the second half of the season. Although they were in contention for the #4 spot along with the Mystics, they dropped a couple of games while Brittney Griner was sidelined. When Griner returned and still one of the best players in the game Diana Taurasi were able to guide the Mercury to win some much needed games and eventually won the #5 seed. The Mercury had a great ending to the season not only due to Griner and Taurasi but Leilani Mitchell, Monique Currie, etc helped. It’s a truly remarkable season for the Mercury as Griner becomes into the top player in the league. The Mercury outlook for 2018 looks bright.

WNBA Team: Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun dropped off a little bit during the second half of the season. They started off and stayed mostly at the #3 seed for majority of the year before some losses dropped them to #4. It was still a great year for the Sun as they not only made the WNBA Playoffs but to do so well with such a young team. Jasmine Thomas and Alyssa Thomas were excellent for the Sun, Jonquel Jones showed why she will be a force in the WNBA and other players helped such as Courtney Williams, Alex Bentley, etc. The Sun exceeded expectations and with that comes new expectations. The 2018 season for the Sun looks very good and they will get back their star who was injured in Chiney Oguwmike.

WNBA Team: New York Liberty

The New York Liberty ended the season on a roll. After hovering near the .500 mark the first half of the season, they managed to win 10 in a row and end up as the #3 seed just like last season. Tina Charles was dominant once again, and the Liberty got solid contributions from Bria Hartley, Shavonte Zellous, and others. After struggling majority of the season, the Liberty turned things around because of their defense and finally played like one of the top teams that they were expected to be. However, the Liberty’s end to the regular season was going to be defined on how they played in the WNBA playoffs after suffering two first round exits the previous two years. (The Liberty’s great end of the season was all for naught, as they once again lost in the first round and have many questions to address including whether or not Bill Laimbeer should continue to be the head coach.) The Liberty are still a top team, but they have their work cut out for them if they want to advance in the playoffs and have great success in 2018.

WNBA Team: Los Angeles Sparks

The Los Angeles Sparks ended the second half of the season on a great note. They managed to stay in contention for the #1 overall seed till the very last day and managed to win the regular season series versus the Lynx two games to one. The defending champions showed that they are still one of the best teams in the WNBA and are on a mission to win the WNBA title again this season. Nneka Oguwmike and Candace Parker are still one of the very best front court duos and Alana Beard’s defence is top notch. Along with that the Sparks have very good guard play in Chelsea Gray and Odyssey Sims plus excellent defence. The Sparks have tough offensive firepower heading into the WNBA Playoffs which will be difficult for any team to stop. The Sparks outlook for 2018 is once again very great as the majority of the team is still young enough for perhaps, another title run next season.

WNBA Team: Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx ended the second half of the season after such a strong start in the first half of the season just good enough to secure the overall top seed. They struggled in the second half of the season after losing their point guard Lindsay Whalen to injury. Although Renee Montgomery stepped up in her absence, the Lynx managed to win enough games and the Lynx’s age showed as many of their players just did not have the energy they had during the first half of the season. However, after setting a record start the slide was able to prevent the Sparks from gaining ground and the Lynx managed to stay tough. The Lynx were led by Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Sylvia Fowles plus their savy vets off the bench. The Lynx are still one of the top teams in the WNBA and it will be tough to stop them come WNBA playoff time. The 2018 outlook for the Lynx is still very good and the Lynx will be yet on another WNBA title chase.

With that, my review of the 2017 season through all 12 teams is completed and with the WNBA Playoffs well underway, there’s still some more endings needed to be written for the 2017 season. Make sure you tune into ESPN2 and catch the exciting playoff games to see who wins the WNBA title this year.

 

Game #30 Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap

Jia Perkins shoots over a defender as the Sparks take down the Stars 80-67 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Daniel Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

The Silver Stars didn’t have enough energy and it showed with a 67-80 loss to the second place Los Angeles Sparks. The Stars are now 7-8 at home and only have 2 home games left to play. They are also 11-19 on the season. Jia Perkins led SA with 25 points and Jayne Appel had 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Stars loss meant that Seattle has clinched a playoff berth and 3 teams in the Western Conference are set. The Stars playoff hopes are fading away but as long as Phoenix doesn’t clinch, there is still hope. The Stars now get a couple of days rest and will play next Friday Sept 6 at Phoenix.

GAME RECAP

San Antonio – August 31, 2013

The Stars knew heading into this game that they would need to dig in within themselves and find ways to compete with one of the top teams in the WNBA the Los Angeles Sparks. They also knew they had to play well and compete after they suffered two of their biggest blowout losses this season in Los Angeles. Alas, it was just not meant to be. The Stars struggled shooting in the game at 35% from the field and 33% from three. The Sparks had command of this game from the beginning and the Stars did try to claw back into the game but could not get within more than 5 points. The Sparks All Stars were too much for San Antonio to handle as Candace Parker had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Kristi Toliver had 15 points and Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jia Perkins led the way for San Antonio with 25 points and Jayne Appel had 10 points and 12 rebounds.  San Antonio now gets a couple days of rest after a busy month of games played in August. 

GAME NOTES + OBSERVATIONS

  • Too much LA firepower for San Antonio. SASS didn’t stand a chance when all 3 All Stars are playing well and getting help from the bench from Marissa Coleman and Jantel Lavender. SASS also hasn’t played well against LA this season dropping their third straight game to LA. LA wins the series against San Antonio 3 games to 1. Other teams that have won the season series against SA this season are (Chicago 2-0, MINN 4-0, SEA 3-2, IND 2-0, WASH 2-0)
  • Silver linings in loss. Jayne Appel continues to play well and get better. She had a double double 10 points and 12 rebounds. Kayla Alexander also played well off the bench with 5 rebounds and 4 rebounds. Chelsea Poppens also had a career high 8 rebounds in the loss.
  • Tough season and game for SA. SA didn’t have Davellyn Whyte as she was battling an illness. Danielle Robinson hasn’t played in two weeks either. Would be nice to get an update from the team on her status.

Game #30 Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Day Preview

The Silver Stars are back at it after their win against Tulsa yesterday. The Stars will need to keep winning if they stand a shot of getting into the playoffs. The Stars are facing one of the top teams in the Western Conference in the LA Sparks who have a 20-8 record and are 7-6 on the road this season. The Sparks are 2-1 against the Stars in the 4 game series. This will also be the last time the Stars see the Sparks this season. The Stars are 11-18 and 7-7 at home this season. It’s also Military Appreciation Night at the AT&t Center which is always nice to see and to thank all those who did service overseas.

Probable Starting Lineup for the Los Angeles Sparks

PG – Lindsey Harding

SG – Kristi Toliver

SF – Alana Beard

F – Nneka Ogwumike

F – Candace Parker

Probable Starting Lineup for the San Antonio Silver Stars

PG – Davellyn Whyte (Danielle Robinson might play)

SG – Jia Perkins

SF – Shenise Johnson

F/C – Danielle Adams

C – Jayne Appel

THREE KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Contain the Sparks All Stars – Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver all have unique aspects to their games that makes it difficult to defend them. Candace can be a matchup nightmare and Danielle Adams as well as Jayne Appel will have their hands full trying to guard her. Nneka Ogwumike is able to get to the basket at will and will also be a tough matchup for Shenise Johnson. Kristi Toliver is a scorer who can get hot in a hurry and Jia Perkins as well as Davellyn Whyte will need to make sure that she doesn’t score 20 points or more. If the Stars can guard all 3 players and make their lives difficult they can steal the game away from the Sparks. All 11 players will be needed to stop one of the top offenses in the WNBA this season.

2. Find energy –  The Stars will be at one point, have low energy and their legs will be tired. They will need to find a way or will themselves into getting to the basket and finding ways to either score or defend.  If they can find some energy or be able to stay in the game, the Stars can win the game.

3. NO X-Factor – Don’t let  any of the Sparks bench players have a great game otherwise it will make the task of defending that much harder.  If the Stars can limit the bench points, they have a great shot of winning the game.

The game will be on WNBA LiveAccess and should also be on TWC SportsNet for those that live in LA. The game will tip off at 7 pm local time, 8 pm EST and 5 pm PST.

 

THE VERY LATE – Game #6 Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap

*NOTE – I’ve been very busy the past couple of days, and I never got the chance to write the game recap as the game ended roughly around 12:30 am EST on Saturday night. This game was the second game of a 4 game series between both teams. The Silver Stars won the first game and the Sparks took revenge and blew out the Silver Stars by a final score of 84 – 48. It was ugly. VERY ugly. And so therefore, this recap will be VERY short and simple. 

GAME STORY

Los Angeles – June 14, 2013

The San Antonio SIlver Stars came into Los Angeles having lost both road games on their three day road trip and were looking for redemption against a team who they had beaten previously before. The Sparks on the other hand, were also looking to play a lot tougher than they did the previous night before against the Phoenix Mercury. The game started off with LA starting hot before the Silver Stars came back and made it a game which ended the first quarter with LA up 3 18 – 15. The Sparks and Silver Stars battled in the second quarter also but LA was able to pull away and have a seven point lead at half time. In the third quarter, the Sparks were just too much for the Silver Stars as the Sparks were able to get easy baskets in transition and the Silver Stars had a difficult time scoring. The third quarter was what LA needed to pull out the win and eventually won by a final score of 84-48. In the third quarter, Candace Parker of the LA Sparks had more total points than the entire Silver Stars team. The Silver Stars also were down to 8 players as Jayne Appel was sidelined due to concussion symptoms and were keeping her out for precautionary measures. The Silver Stars next game is a home game against the Seattle Storm on Friday, June 21.

NOTES

– The LA Sparks got contributions from Nneka, Kristi and Marissa Coleman and hence Candace Parker didn’t need to have a big game for the Sparks to win

– Alana Beard played after being out for several games due to a hamstring injury

– Shameka Christon continues to struggle and I will point this out until she is able to have a good game. Her contributions are NEEDED as the Stars try to get into the playoffs.

– Danielle Adams and Shenise Johnson were the only two double figure scorers for the Stars. 

– Danielle Robinson struggled for the second straight game as LA defended her quite well – She is the Silver Stars engine, the Stars won’t win games without her being the leading point guard

– That was UGLY. I hope I never have to watch a blowout of that extreme again this season.

 

Game #6 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Los Angeles Sparks Game Day Preview

The Silver Stars are concluding their 3 game road trip tonight in Los Angeles. The Silver Stars are win less on the road this season, and also on the road trip. The Los Angeles Sparks are coming off from a tough loss yesterday in Phoenix and the Silver Stars will need to play they way they have been playing ALL season to get their first road win of the year. This is also the second game of a 4 game series between the Silver Stars and the Sparks. The Silver Stars won the first game behind Danielle Robinson’s great performance and by making LA’s players other than Candace Parker non factors.

LINKS

The AP has the official preview of tonight’s game.

Possible Starting Lineups for the Silver Stars

PG – Danielle Robinson

SG – Jia Perkins

SF – Shameka Christon

PF – Delisha Milton Jones

C – Jayne Appel

Possible Starting Lineups for the Los Angeles Sparks

PG – Lindsey Harding

SG – Kristi Toliver

SF – Nneka Ogwumike

F – Marissa Coleman

F/C – Candace Parker

The game will tip off at 10.30 pm ET / 7 pm PT / 9:30 pm CT and will be on LiveAccess and or Time Warner Cable Sportsnet if you live in LA.

WHO WILL WIN?

The Los Angeles Sparks. I don’t see the Sparks losing back to back games and usually the second night of a back to back in which a team has lost the night before, doesn’t bode well for the visitors. It will be a close affair and the Silver Stars will make it competitive. Sparks by 5.

Game #2 – Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Day Recap

Image

Photo c/o of Daniel Clark Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

June 1st 2013 – GAME STORY

The San Antonio Silver Stars got off to a quick start and never looked back as they were able to withstand key LA runs that would’ve given LA the lead. The Silver Stars were led by the second year player Shenise Johnson who scored a team high 19 points. It was also her career high. The Silver Stars were able to withstand LA because LA’s two potent offensive players in Nneka Oguwmike and Kristi Toliver struggled in the game. The game would’ve ended with San Antonio winning by a larger margin had they not had their free throw troubles. San Antonio also shot the ball remarkably well and played a much more smoother and crisp offense than their home opener. The Sparks outside of Candace Parker, who is one of the early MVP candidates and Lindsey Harding, couldn’t find anyone else willing to share the load. The Silver Stars also shot more free throws in the game than LA. The San Antonio Silver Stars who already had a week’s rest, now get 5 more days to rest before they face the Chicago Sky at home on June 6th.

NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS

– It looked like LA thought that the Stars would roll over and play dead. Seriously, it looked like LA thought they would have an easy game to play and didn’t take San Antonio seriously enough

– With that first observation, the Sparks could have easily overcame their struggles and STILL would’ve won or come close to winning had that 3 by Lindsey Harding with less than a minute remaining had gone in. Which is saying something.

– Shenise Johnson continues to impress me. She shot the ball well, she attacked the floor, she made a 3, and she was rewarded for leading the team with 19 points. She looks every bit as the player that came advertised out of the draft for possibly competing to be the ROY last year alongside Glory Johnson, Nneka Ogwumike and Shekinna Stricklen.

– Danielle Robinson made good plays and was more assertive in terms of what Dan Hughes asked from her. She needs to keep this up in order to help the Silver Stars fight in the tough Western Conference.

– Marissa Coleman looked like a different player than she did against the Seattle Storm. And that’s not a good thing. 

-Ebony Hoffman once in a while will come off the bench and play well. She certainly did that against the Stars.

– One last note – Delisha Milton Jones came to PLAY today. No doubt about that.

The LA Sparks have now lost TWELVE of their last FOURTEEN games at the AT&T Center. I have no idea about why they play poorly in that arena.

The Sparks and Stars now have identical records tied at 1-1 a piece in the early 2013 WNBA season.

Game #2 – Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Day Preview

The Silver Stars are FINALLY back in action tonight as they host the visiting LA Sparks at the AT&T Center. It’s been one week since they last played and after tonight, they will get another 5 days of rest before their next game.

Here are some articles about tonight’s game

LA Sparks – http://www.twcsportsnet.com/articles/2013/05/31/preview–la-sparks-vs-san-antonio-silver-sparks

San Antonio Silver Stars – http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/silver_stars/article/Silver-Stars-look-to-shore-up-defense-4567897.php

http://silverstarstream.com/2013/05/31/silver-stars-look-for-first-win-of-year-against-sparks/

Official Preview(AP) – http://www.wnba.com/games/20130601/LASSAN/gameinfo.html#nbaGIlive

This is the first of 4 meetings between the teams. They will play again in LA on June 15th. The game will be at 8 pm local time and be televised on TWC Sportsnet and on WNBA LiveAccess.

LAST TIME OUT

The Silver Stars are coming off a bad loss against the defending WNBA champs in the Indiana Fever. They started off the game on the right foot, but eventually let Indiana back into the game and could not sustain the energy and effort in the first half. Indiana went on to win and did so in a convincing matter.

The Los Angeles Sparks are coming off a blowout win against the Seattle Storm. The game was close throughout until the third quarter started, with LA outscoring Seattle 31 to 12. The Sparks were led by Kristi Toliver who scored a game high 17 points.

PROBABLE STARTING LINE UPS

PG – Danielle Robinson, SG – Jia Perkins, SF – Shameka Christon, PF – Delisha Milton Jones, C -Jayne Appel

PG – Lindsey Harding, SG – Kristi Toliver, SF – Alana Beard, PF – Nneka Ogwumike, F/C – Candace Parker

THREE KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Defend the interior or paint – Last time, the Fever had a field day with the paint, and were able to score easily inside against the players. If the Stars don’t defend well inside, both Candace and Nneka will be able to score easily and effectively.

2. Make the “others” beat you – Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver all will play well. But in order for the Sparks to win, they will need contributions from other players such as Jenna O’Hea, Marissa Coleman and the others. If the Silver Stars can make those players a non factor, they have a great shot of winning the game.

3. A potent offense – The Silver Stars struggled with their offense last game and need to run better plays and sets for Jia Perkins and Danielle Adams. Danielle Robinson will need to be better at getting the ball at the right spots to the right people.

WHO WILL WIN?

The Sparks ultimately will prevail because they just simply have too many weapons to counter, but it will be a close game, as the Silver Stars should be fresh and ready after a week long layoff. LA by 10

Notes* – Becky Hammon is still injured and is out for the month. Sophia Young is out indefinitely.