Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 28: All-Rookie team announced

Carter, Sabally, and Jones took three different routes to make the All-Rookie squad

The WNBA announced the All-Rookie teams, and they look nothing like we expected at the start of the year. Here is the squad, which was selected by the 12 WNBA coaches.

G Crystal Dangerfield, Lynx (11 votes out of 11 possible)
G Julie Allemand, Fever (11/11)
G Chennedy Carter, Dream (11/11)
F Satou Sabally, Wings (11/11)
G Jazmine Jones, Liberty (6/11)

At the start of the year, everyone knew a Liberty rookie would make the All-Rookie team. But if you think back to the musings of July, that rookie was supposed to be Sabrina Ionescu. Instead, the Liberty got a two-way monster in Jazmine Jones. Teams and coaches have counted Jones out throughout her career, but here she is, at the highest level possible, playing like a veteran.

Jones led the all-time All-Rookie Liberty rookie classes in points, steals, and 3-point percentage. Her 10.8 points per game are the most of any All-Rookie player in Liberty history.

Graphs via Jackie Powell

Jones is an electric player and her game is worth more words than this one post can hold. So, as always, read Jackie Powell for full coverage on New York’s second savior.

It might be a reductive thing to say, but the Dream’s Chennedy Carter was a more conventional pick for the All-Rookie team. Despite missing six games in the middle of the year, Carter was a no-brainer pick for the rookie team. Carter averaged 17.4 points, 3.4 assists, and 0.9 steals per game.

Here is the list of rookie seasons that met that criterion, per Across the Timeline:

  • Cynthia Cooper, 1997
  • Tamika Catchings, 2002
  • Candace Parker, 2008
  • Chennedy Carter, 2020

Dirk Nowitzki-protege Satou Sabally‘s selection on the All-Rookie team was a welcome sight for the Dallas Wings, especially after her slow start to the season. Sabally is a unicorn in every sense of the word except literal, and her ability to score at all three levels will serve Dallas well for as long as she is on the squad.

Just one game separates the Las Vegas Aces and Connecticut Sun from the WNBA Finals. (This is my small moment to say that the league should expand the playoffs to a Best-of-Seven format in the final two rounds, but I digress).

Alyssa Thomas has carried the “DisresepeCTed” Sun (please lose the moniker, fellas) on her non-existent, dislocated shoulders. Regardless of the series’ final results, Thomas’ play in these semifinals will go down in WNBA lore for years to come. Listen to this GOAT.

“It was very painful going out and going in. The next day I was super sore that was to be expected. I’m used to it, I knew what to expect, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I think we have a great opportunity in this series. I want to be a part of it and once I heard that it was up to me, I knew that I would be out there,” she said.

Head coach Curt Miller (and every single Sun fan) didn’t expect a healthy Thomas past Game 2. But here we are. The team “feeds off her tenacity [and] competitiveness” according to Miller. But will it be enough to get past the top-seeded Aces?

Well, maybe. Las Vegas has looked beatable in this series, and while their defense on DeWanna Bonner has been effective, their performance against Thomas has not. Las Vegas will need more than an MVP-type performance from A’ja Wilson in Game 5 because that hasn’t been enough to carry them over the hump. To make the finals, they’ll need production from the secondary scorers, namely Angel McCoughtry and Kayla McBride.

The Seattle second unit needs to show out in the WNBA Finals if they expect to beat the Aces or Sun. When Seattle’s bench has scored over 20 points, the Storm are 14-1. Sure, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Alysha Clark, Jewell Loyd, and Natasha Howard is a terrifying starting lineup, even to read out loud. But the Aces and Sun are both very capable of matching up against that line.

The Aces’ Wilson was the MVP for a reason, and as we discussed before, the Sun’s Thomas isn’t afraid of anything. It will be a good series.

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