Teams touch down ahead of WNBA restart
A busy weekend in WNBA news, it was!
The WNBA finally gave us some details about the schedule, and we have to say — it looks pretty good to have basketball back (all things considered).
Here’s what we know, via Kurtis Zimmerman:
- Three games will be played on each game day, with the regular season-ending Saturday, September 12.
- At this time, there are no back-to-back game days scheduled for any teams.
- Though all teams are on-site at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, games will run as late as a 10 P.M. ET start time, though those have been kept to one per game day.
- Mondays will mostly remain “off” days for games, with the exception of one Monday being used at this time.
More from ACC
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, November 9: Emma Meesseman tests positive for COVID-19
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, November 2: Shakeup in the ACC with Bollin commit, UNC retool
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, October 19: NCAA shakes up schedules, not scholarships
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, October 5: Seattle Storm take 2-0 Finals lead
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 10: Dream are (mathematically) stayin’ alive
As players (finally!) started arriving in the IMG bubble, we learned a lot about who’s in, who’s out, and how teams are forging ahead.
The defending champion Washington Mystics may be without reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne and key add Tina Charles, who both are waiting on medical exemptions. The Mystics could be left with just one starter from last year’s championship team, and would likely see the offense revolve more around big lineups, with Finals MVP Emma Meesseman taking on a large share of the scoring load.
And yet, the Mystics were deep last year and probably be fine… or at least in a better position than the “almost-all-rookie-team” up in the Big Apple. The New York Liberty, who arrived in Florida without 2020’s ninth overall pick Megan Walker, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the team left. Sabrina Ionescu’s squad will also be without standout sophomore guard Asia Durr, who will miss the season after a positive COVID-19 test.
The team in the most precarious position, however, might be the Las Vegas Aces, who opened training camp with eight (yes, you DID read that right, eight) players.
We already knew Liz Cambage and Kelsey Plum would miss time, but now the team starts off without veteran guard Sugar Rodgers, who is currently dealing with a personal issue. But she’ll join the team later on this season.
Major hurdles have also arisen for last year’s runner-up, the Connecticut Sun. Natisha Hiedeman and Briann January, who both were expected to make the trip and provide a spark off the bench for the Sun.
It’s definitely been an adjustment after four grueling months without basketball, but (in a surprise to no one) that hasn’t slowed down the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi.
“I feel great,” Taurasi said. “After two days of training camp, to be able to get through everything, that to me is an accomplishment alone.” Keep in mind, Taurasi hasn’t played WNBA ball since 2018. Welcome back, Diana.
As the Lynx touched down in Florida, they announced they’d be starting off without Odyssey Sims, who is still weighing her options with the recent birth of her son.
Finally in NCAAW news, Celtics assistant Kara Lawson snagged the most coveted job on the women’s basketball market: the next head coach for the Duke Blue Devils.
“Well, it is a dream come true for me,” Lawson said in a press release. “I have wanted to be a coach since I was a kid. To have an opportunity to lead a group of young women at a prestigious university like Duke – I have run out of words; it is unbelievable and very exciting.”