WNBA Rookie Report: Mid season updates of Satou Sabally, Crystal Dangerfield, Julie Allemand and more. Weeks 2-4.

Crystal Dangerfield, Minnesota Lynx rookie

The WNBA has now passed the mid season and it is now time to update on all of the rookies that have played and to give an update from their first week as a rookie. Some rookies have shined, others got injured, some did not get enough playing time, etc. We have it all covered for you from the WNBA Rookie Report committee members Teylor Haines, Blake O’Tain and myself (Aneela Khan). The rookies are reported on by their draft order.

Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu suffered an ankle injury and left the WNBA bubble a couple of weeks ago. She is officially considered out for the rest of the season which puts a sour note on her rookie year. – Aneela

Satou Sabally

Satou Sabally has shined for Dallas at the mid season point. She has played almost about 27 minutes per game and has averaged 12.3 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and the most impressive stat is her 2.3 assists per game. Satou Sabally has only played in 11 out of 15 Dallas Wings games but she has been super productive in the games she has played. She also has 3 double doubles on the season so far. She still is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year – Aneela

Lauren Cox

Cox has now played in 10 games for the Fever. She is still adjusting to the quicker play in the WNBA. She’s averaging 3.4 points per game, and 3.7 rebounds per game (3rd among rookies). Cox is still adjusting but has shown some bright spots so far. – Blake

Chennedy Carter

Chennedy Carter was the youngest player to score 30+ points in a game, a loss to Seattle. Carter was the clear front runner to win ROY prior to her ankle injury on August 10, but has been sidelined since. Carter’s explosiveness and playmaking ability being void from Atlanta’s offense has made them appear stagnant. She’s expected to return within this week. – Teylor

Bella Alarie

Alarie has appeared in 15 games averaging 2.3 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game. Bella is also averaging 1.1 blocks per game, 2nd among rookies. Alarie has still been unable to drain a 3 in the WNBA. She has continued to develop and provide some key minutes for Dallas. – Blake

Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan

Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan is a shooter. In the limited minutes that she touches the floor that has been the overall consensus. “Kiki McBuckets” as Napheesa Collier has recently coined her is shooting over 46 percent from behind the arc. The most impressive part is that Herbert-Harrigan has an ability to take you off the dribble and handle it well enough to what ever shot she likes. – Teylor

Tyasha Harris

Ty Harris has been one of more steady rookies even with the minutes distribution within the Wings rotation not always favoring her. The recent news of Jefferson being sidelined for the rest of the season allows for Ty to run the show for that second unit. Her vision on dribble drive sets with the intent to kick it out has fit perfectly with Mabrey and Ogunbowale’s gameplay. Harris is averaging 7 points per game and nearly 3 assists. –Teylor

Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy Hebard has found playing time in a loaded, but banged up Chicago front court averaging 14 minutes in the last five outings even snagging a start versus Atlanta. Hebard’s movement without the ball and her knack for grabbing offensive boards has been put on full display. Ruthy’s effectiveness in her short minutes on the court has make Coach Wade feel as though she’s a viable option to make plays down the stretch. Hebard is averaging 4.3 points per game along with 3.2 rebounds per game. – Teylor

Megan Walker

Walker has appeared in 12 games for the Liberty. She’s averaging  3.7 points and 1.3 boards per game. She has really struggled from the 3 point line, only 13% from 3. Walker is still a year behind all the other rookies, so look for her to come on at the end of this season, or next season. – Blake

Jocelyn Willoughby

 Is averaging 5.1 points, and 1.9 rebounds per game. Willoughby is shooting 40% from 3. Willoughby has been making very strong contributions on this very young Liberty team. – Blake

Jazmine Jones

Jones is a rookie that has really found her rhythm this season. She’s averaging 10.5 points per game, ranked 4th among rookies. Averaging 3.4 rebounds which also ranks 4th among rookies. 1.3 steals per game, 2nd among rookies. Jones has really picked up for the Liberty since Ionescu went down with an ankle injury. – Blake

Kylee Shook

Kylee Shook is surprisingly doing more on the offensive end of the ball than what she was known for, but necessarily at an efficient rate. Her mid-range game is for sure the most developed part of her game. Shook has to get better at defending in the post or she becomes liability defensively for New York when their vets rest. – Teylor

Kathleen Doyle

Doyle has played in 10 games so far. She has 1.6 points per game, on 25% from the field, and 28% from 3. It’s been a rough go for Doyle so far. In this shortened season it makes it a lot tougher for rookie, kind of thrown into the fire with no preseason. – Blake

Leaonna Odom

Leaonna Odom has played in all 14 New York Liberty games so far and she is averaging about 5.3 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game in around 22 minutes per game. She has also been a starter for 9 games (out of 14 games played so far). She has looked good some games, not so great in others and is still feeling her way through her rookie season.-Aneela

Crystal Dangerfield

Crystal Dangerfield has excelled as a point guard for Minnesota at the halfway point. She is currently one of the top leading candidates for Rookie of the Year after some injuries to the top rookies. She has played in all 13 Lynx games and has been a starter for 11 of them. She is currently averaging 14.6 points per game and 3.2 assists per game in just under 29 minutes per game. She had a career high 29 points and 4 assists in a loss recently against the Los Angeles Sparks, a top 3 team. She just gets better and better every game. -Aneela

Brittany Brewer

Brittany Brewer has not gotten minutes for the Atlanta Dream, even as the Dream sit in 11th place out of 12th right now. She has not been able to make an impact as she has only played in 4 games so far. – Aneela

Te’a Cooper

Te’a Cooper does a lot of things that don’t always show up on the stat sheet and I believe that will either keep her on L.A.’s roster next season or she’ll get picked up elsewhere. Cooper has not scored much as of late, but her entry passes and ability to run point to rest Gray has been vital for the contending team. However, Te’a does have to improve her finishing at the basket and not just aim for creating contact. On the defensive side of the ball, Cooper continues to make life hard for opposing guards with her tenacious defense. -Teylor

Joyner Holmes

Holmes has played in 12 games, and averaged 2.7 points per game, and 2.1 rebounds per game. She is only shooting 7% from 3. I think Holmes is going to have to get that 3 pointer to go down to see more playing time. In this new Walt Hopkins system, shooting lots of 3s. -Blake

Beatrice Mompremier

Beatrice Mompremier has gotten limited playing time for the Connecticut Sun as the Sun have turned their season around after they got off to a bad start and has had some good, not so great games when she has more playing time. She’s still finding her way in the WNBA and still needs time to adjust to the WNBA. – Aneela

Kaila Charles

Charles has played in 13 games. She’s averaging 3.5 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. She’s now shooting 42% from the field, and 33% from 3. These shooting percentages are a huge improvement since our last rookie reports. She’s definitely developing into a good option off the bench for Connecticut. – Blake

Jaylyn Agnew

Jaylyn Agnew hasn’t seen much time on the court despite Atlanta being down a guard, specifically not playing at all in the last two games. Agnew is averaging nearly 7 minutes of playing time in her 10 games played. – Teylor

Stella Johnson

Stella Johnson was cut by the Chicago Sky and was quickly picked up by Washington. Johnson went from playing less than two minutes a game through eight games to starting for the Mystics in just two. Stella marked career-highs in points(25), minutes played (31), and field goals made (8) versus Atlanta. With this young Mystics team that doesn’t have a legit number one option, look for the Rider grad to make some more noise in her rookie campaign. – Teylor

Ezi Magbegor

Ezi Magbegor has played in all 15 Seattle Storm games and has looked good in her limited minutes of play. She is currently averaging 6.3 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game in only 13 minutes per game. She is one of the future stars for the Seattle Storm and is getting better every game. – Aneela

Julie Allemand

Allemand has had an excellent rookie campaign so far. She’s averaging 5.5 assists per game which is the most by a rookie, and second in the league. Julie is shooting 48.2% from 3 which is 4th best in the WNBA. She is getting 1.5 steals per game which is first among rookies. Allemand is averaging 8.4 points per game which ranks 5th among rookies. Julie should definitely be in the rookie of the year conversation. -Blake

WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Bracket Challenge Winner is….. + Final Remarks from the Selection Committee.

wnba coaches, tournament bracket challenge
Congratulations are in order for the Greatest WNBA Coach of All Time Bracket Challenge Winner Cheryl Reeve! She won over respected head coach Mike Thibault who was the runner up! View the updated and final bracket here.

Cheryl Reeve was placed in the first region, region W. She beat out #4 seed Corey Gaines in the Sweet 16, #3 seed Sandy Brondello in the Elite 8 and #1 seed Van Chancellor (from Region N) in the Final Four. She beat out some great coaches and that is why she is the winner of the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Bracket Challenge.

Listed below are the final thoughts of the committee members who helped shape the process of making the bracket, selecting the coaches and shaping the overall bracket.

Committee Member: Kevin Brown | Twitter: @over_short

Final Thoughts: Like the players bracket, there were few surprises.  Lin Dunn upsetting Bill Laimbeer was the biggest upset.  Mostly what I learned from this exercise is how difficult it is to compare coaches.

Thoughts on Cheryl Reeve winning the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Challenge: This is the result supported by the numbers.  Winning percentage, playoff success, rings, you name it, if it’s measurable then it points to Cheryl Reeve.  

Committee Member: Aneela Khan | Twitter: @whoopsblogger

Final Thoughts: My final thoughts on the WNBA Coach Challenge that it was interesting and unique. With only 16 entries, it flew by quickly! I think it was also interesting that Coach Linn Dunn managed to knock off the only #1 seed Bill Laimbeer to advance to the Final Four.

Thoughts on Cheryl Reeve winning the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Challenge:
Not a surprise. Her four titles speaks volumes as well as her popularity of the Minnesota Lynx fan base and organization. Although, I would like to still tip my hat to one of the best coaches ever, Mike Thibault. He is also a legendary coach.

Committee Member: Albert Lee | Twitter: @aleeinthedmv

Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought the bracket went as expected in the end with Cheryl Reeve going head to head against Mike Thibault or Bill Laimbeer in the final of this bracket pool. I was a bit surprised that Sandy Brondello defeated Brian Agler in the first round, which was an upset in my opinion.

Thoughts on Cheryl Reeve winning the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Challenge: Reeve is one of two WNBA head coaches to win four titles, along with Van Chancellor who she defeated in the semifinals. I have no problem with her winning the bracket, because her Lynx teams of the 2010s have played to their potential with a dynastic core that featured Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson.

Committee Member: Glenn Starkey | Twitter: @Starkman55

Final Thoughts: It went pretty much as I expected and I already knew of some upsets that were going to happen. Linn Dunn was an amazing coach who was responsible for Tamika Catchings prime and had a significant impact during her time with the Fever that goes beyond her one title win. Linn Dunn almost beat out Mike Thibault for a Finals berth. Just like her Fever teams, Linn Dunn was always a contender most overlooked until it was too late.

Thoughts on Cheryl Reeve winning the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Challenge: This makes sense. 4 titles, and took over a team that before had little known else but losing. Reeve has showed above and beyond, she is a true winner and also turned a sparsely attended Lynx team into an attendance leader year in and year out, even as her dynasty fades in the last few years.

Committee Member: Tee | Twitter: @HipsterHoopz

Final Thoughts: Despite unprecedented times, this challenge has been great to observe and a blast to work on. From a few upsets to some unexpectedly close match ups, it had everything you like in a challenge of this kind. It creates great dialogue in women’s basketball about what is valued more and that is all you can hope for. More discussions lead to more quality content.

Thoughts on Cheryl Reeve winning the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Challenge: Coach Reeve winning this challenge doesn’t shock me at all. She was the number one overall seed in this challenge for a reason. It’s hard to argue with her resume because she wins on the biggest of stages. Reeve has the most playoff wins and the highest playoff winning percentage in league history. The Lynx’s four championships and six conference titles from 2011-2017 puts the dynasty in a league of their own.

Committee Member: Rebecca Wininger | Twitter: @zombiebecca

Thoughts on Cheryl Reeve winning the WNBA G.O.A.T Coach Challenge: Cheryl Reeve has a coaching history that is currently unparalleled in the WNBA. She’s not just a women’s basketball coach. She can coach with the best on any global court.

Who is the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time? Tournament Bracket Challenge!

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

Welcome to the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time Tournament Bracket Challenge presented by wbasketballblog.com!

The constant debates between who REALLY is the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time can be put to rest in this bracket challenge. There are so many different ideas of what makes a great player in terms of scoring the ball, defending, rebounding and what kind of impact they had in the game, etc.  We thought it would be a great idea to put it in the public’s hands once and for all to determine who is the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time.

The world is consumed of bad news everyday and since the NCAA Tournament was cancelled, why not throw our own tournament but still represent the WNBA and women’s basketball? So, we came up with this idea.

In order to undertake this challenge of putting the top 64 players, I reached out to ask individuals if they would like to participate. In turn, I received a lot of interest and we were able to quickly form a committee. The following committee members are: Kevin Brown, Glenn Starkey, Nathan Hiatt, Lamar Smith, Michael Olsen and myself (Aneela Khan).

As a committee, we decided that Diana Taurasi is the overall #1 seed and the four #1 seeds are Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson, Maya Moore and Lisa Leslie. The four regions are named W, N, B and A. Tomorrow, we will release the 64 players bios to give you an informed opinion on who to vote for.

Voting will begin at 10 am EST on Monday, March 30th and we will conduct the polls via Twitter. We will do one region each day. The winner will be announced some time in April.  Voting will be for 24 hours.

The G.O.A.T bracket is below. (We apologize for the size of the table and how small it is but it will make it easier for you to see.) Again, we deeply apologize for the size and the fact that there are no printed copies. Truly.

Listed below are the committee members bios who contributed to making this bracket happen. They are very diverse and come from different walks of life.

Aneela KhanTwitter@whoopsblogger

Aneela Khan is the owner of wbasketballblog.com. She became a fan of the WNBA in the year 2008 when Candace Parker entered the league. She was a fan of the San Antonio Stars before they were sold to Las Vegas. She started to blog and write about women’s college basketball, WNBA, Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team seriously in the year 2016.

Glenn Starkey  – Twitter – @Starkman55

Glenn Starkey has followed the WNBA since the year 2000. In 2004, he became a season ticket holder to the New York Liberty. He married a fellow New York Liberty fan, Rebecca in 2011. He has seen the New York Liberty go through many ups and downs throughout their tenure and has found a community with many other fellow Liberty fans. Glenn works in business insurance and also supports six women’s college basketball teams.

Kevin BrownTwitter – @over_short

Kevin Brown has been a WNBA fan since the inaugural season. He preferred the WNBA over the ABL because of how dominant Sheryl Swoopes was. Kevin has tracked WNBA stats and trivia over at his personal website WNBA odds and ends in which he has kept records from old and new seasons. His site has been simply instrumental in keeping WNBA data when there was no other option.

Lamar Smith – Twitter – @inside380

Lamar Smith is a sports journalism Masters graduate at Arizona State University. He is an avid basketball fan and in the fall he will be publishing his first book.

Michael OlsonTwitter @colombianmikey

Michael Olsen is a senior in high school. He is from Minnesota and is a Lynx fan and was able to witness the Lynx’s great dynasty. He really became supportive of the WNBA in 2016 and in his free time, he watches women’s college basketball, the WNBA and he also plays basketball. He also likes to study both the history of the league and historical players while still watching the young talent we see in the game today.

Nathan HiattTwitter – @NATE_HIATT

Nathan Hiatt is a sports journalist who graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2018. He currently attends Arizona State University as a graduate student and is set to graduate this coming May.

Canadian Senior Women’s Basketball Team Member Kayla Alexander speaks on the postponed Olympics and COVID-19.

kayla alexander

The corona virus continues to spread across the world and wreak havoc on sporting events, both big and small. It has now forced the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo to no later than summer 2021. The Olympic Games were set to start from July 24 to August 9th.

The IOC were originally supposed to have a decision come April, but national team federations such as Canada and Australia pulled their athletes from the Games and Team Australia even told their athletes to prepare for the games in summer 2021 before there was even a final decision made.

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team was headed to the Olympics after they went 3-0 in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. This was one of their best teams ever assembled as they had a mix of youth, experience and great defense and Team Canada was ranked fourth in the world, the highest standing yet.

Team Canada women’s basketball member Kayla Alexander was set to debut in her first Olympics this year and she took some time out of her day to answer questions regarding the Olympics, COVID-19 and the WNBA.  Recently,  she signed a standard contract with the Minnesota Lynx.

Q: As a Canadian Senior Women’s National Team member who was vying for a spot on the team, how were you training as COVID – 19 virus was becoming more and more serious?

KAYLA: When it was becoming more serious I was in season in Poland. Things progressed pretty quickly once the NBA suspended the season and the NCAA cancelled March Madness and all spring sports. Shortly after that our season went from the possibility of having a condensed playoff format to cancelled. When I returned home a decision had not yet been made by the COC and IOC, so I was doing what I could at home. My dad has some old workout equipment in the basement so our CB trainer created some strength workouts for me that I could do at home based on the equipment I had. I was also using the Nike NTC app for more endurance/cardio type workouts and yoga.

It was hard, but I am sure many athletes were trying to do the best with what we had. There is no way to replicate all of the skills and physical aspects required to play basketball, at home, so I could only imagine what other athletes felt not having access to pools, climbing walls, pole vaults, tracks, etc.

Q: How did you feel about the IOC still wanting to continue with the Olympics despite the global outbreak?

KAYLA: I think that they, like myself and I am sure many others, were trying to remain positive and see how the virus would play out. None of us know the future, and what would take place, so I think they were waiting and hoping that something positive would happen regarding the virus.

At the same time, it was frustrating not being able to train at the level that I wanted and needed to in order to prepare for the games. I can only imagine the stress this was causing fellow athletes, having to try to stay/ be fit, but also dealing with the unknown of what tomorrow held. I don’t think that the IOC would put the athletes, staff and the world at risk and expect us all to show up and perform if it wasn’t safe, and would have made a decision soon.

Q:  What was your real, raw reaction when you got the news that Team Canada was not going to send it’s athletes to the Games?

Heartbroken, sad and upset if I’m being honest. This would have hopefully been my first ever games. However, the leadership role Canada took as a nation, makes me proud of our country. I  respected their decision because it showed that their priority was to concentrate on the collective health and well being and take all necessary steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In due time, sports will bring the world together again, when it’s safe for each and everyone of us.

Q: Your thoughts on the IOC’s postponement on the Games to summer 2021 and how it affects your plans going forward?

I think it was the right call, we will all still have a chance to compete in the future when it is safe to do so. It’s also takes a little of the stress out of the situation knowing that we have at the very least an idea of when to expect the games instead of a question mark.  I don’t know at what extent it affects my plans going forward because at this time, none of us know the future, we don’t know how long until we find a cure, how long it will spread, when it will be safe again, etc. So I am focused on the present, staying positive and doing my part, and trying my best to stay as ready as I can for when sports are safe again.

Q: Finally, your thoughts on the WNBA season? Should it go on? What do you think the WNBA should do if you were the WNBA commissioner?

I believe Cathy and the league will make a decision when appropriate that prioritizes the health and wellness of everyone. We don’t know what the future holds, but I am sure they will monitor the situation closely and come to a conclusion soon. Being my optimistic self, I’d like to hope that the world quickly heals from this virus and the WNBA can proceed as scheduled, but the health and safety of everyone will always come first.

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!)