ICYMI: Every single WNBA player is now on the New York Liberty or the Las Vegas Aces. Maybe not for real, but it sure can feel like it when every season preview, hype piece, and story is plastered with seafoam green or black & gold.
But not this one, because guess what, I’m excited about a lot of other stuff that’s going to happen this season! If you are looking for things to look forward to, I got you. Here are four storylines I think are worth paying attention to this WNBA season, which starts very soon on May 19!
Honorable Mention: Britney Griner's return. This is an obvious uh doi no brainer. I already bought my tickets to see her play when she comes to Chicago. We’ve covered her return previously, so I won't rehash it here. Just know I am maybe more excited about this than anything else this season.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Aliyah Boston is expected to start contributing pretty quickly for the Indiana Fever, who desperately need somebody, anybody, to lead them out of a dismal five-year stretch in which they never won more than eight games. Boston was solid in her pre-season debut against the Sky, going 4-of-5 from the field for eight points in 16 minutes played. Unfortunately for the Fever, those eight points were enough to set up Boston as the second leading scorer for the night – the team only managed to score 56 for the game while Chicago dropped 81. But, preseason is preseason, and I won’t put TOO much stock in a single game. My takeaway remains that I am excited to see what new life the No. 1 draft pick can breathe into this team!
The last time we saw Elena Delle Donne at full strength, the Washington Mystics won the championship. Since that season, EDD has dealt with a litany of injuries that required numerous surgeries, and has been either completely away from the game or extremely restricted in minutes. When healthy, Delle Donne is an unstoppable force; it often feels like she can do whatever she wants with the basketball in her hands. It is impossible to know if she will return to her previous form– it would be completely understandable if it took her more than the first handful of games to get back into rhythm. But in her own words, Delle Donne is already asking herself 'How can I be the best Elena I can possibly be on-court?' and personally, I cannot wait to find out.
After a spectacular meltdown in last year’s playoffs, Chicago has almost completely reworked their roster. This is no longer the team that won it all in 2021, not even close. But after an offseason in which the Sky’s core was gutted, the team is emerging with a new look that is more scrappy, more gritty, and perhaps more true to the ethos of the city they play in. Sure, I'm a Sky fan, so maybe I am looking for hope where there is none; but also, it doesn’t actually feel like I have to search that hard! Fan-favorite Dana Evans is set to make a jump in playing time, new addition Courtney Williams is already winning over fans, and Kahleah Copper has the power to make the jump from really good to really great with the keys to the team in her hands.
For eight seasons, Cheryl Reeve has been able to rely on Sylvia Fowles to anchor her team. Now, with Fowles’ retirement and the addition of five rookies from the draft (including standout Diamond Miller), Reeve is once again getting ready to flex her player development muscles. Napheesa Collier is back for the full season after giving birth to her daughter and returning for the end of 2022, and Lynx fans can expect her to put up big numbers with big minutes. With all the focus on New York and Las Vegas this season, Minnesota may be able to fly under the radar, lying in wait as Collier works back into the game and Miller finds her shine at the pro level. If anyone can lead a team above expectation, it's Reeve.
(Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)