The National Women's Hockey League continues its offseason with numerous player signings, its first international draft and several front office moves. In case you've missed anything over the last few weeks, let's take a look at what's happened in the league.
Another week of the WNBA season has come and gone, and what have we learned?
It's anyone's year. The teams have only played a handful of games in this condensed season, but everyone from top to bottom has brought their best thus far. It should be an exciting summer of basketball across the board as teams try to make the most out of their games.
Week two saw the rest of the league open its home seasons, including New York's first game in their new (but smaller) venue on Friday and Las Vegas's first ever home game on Sunday, while Atlanta got its first win with new head coach Nicki Collen. This week also had a few games that some might consider upsets.
Let's look at the numbers.
23/20: Part of the history-making night for reigning league/Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles in her Minnesota Lynx's win over Dallas on Wednesday.
She became the first player in Minnesota Lynx history to have a "20/20" game with a team-high 23 points and 20 rebounds. Fowles also finished with five steals, making her the first player in the history of the entire league (!) to have that line in a game.
27: The combined margin of victory for Seattle in its three wins this week.
The Storm won their second regular season battle with Phoenix on Wednesday by 16 points before beating Chicago by four in OT and holding on for a 7-point win in Las Vegas. Each win had balanced scoring for Seattle, but Jewell Loyd stood out in a big way, finishing with two straight 29-point efforts and a 20-point game. She (22.0) and teammate Breanna Stewart (20.5) lead the league in points per game in this young season.
58: The number of points scored by Washington's bench in their win over Minnesota on Sunday.
The Mystics beat the Lynx 90-78, which means their reserves contributed nearly two-thirds of the score in the win. Rookies Myisha Hines-Allen (15) and Ariel Atkins (14) led the Washington backups, while Kristi Toliver led everyone with 19. Minnesota's backups, meanwhile, scored only 34 points, led by Tanisha Wright with 10. They could see more action in the coming days after Sylvia Fowles hurt her ankle in the loss.
7: The number of points scored by Phoenix in the fourth quarter at Los Angeles on Sunday.
The Mercury had a chance to spoil the Sparks' home opener (and Candace Parker's return) with a slim lead after 3, but the team fell flat in the final frame, as they committed 10 turnovers in that quarter alone. Los Angeles outscored Phoenix 18-7 in the fourth, including an 11-4 run to end the game with an 80-72 victory. Chelsea Gray led everyone with 23 points, while Sancho Lyttle led Phoenix with 20.
3: The number of winless teams in the league after two weeks of play: New York, Las Vegas, and Indiana.
The teams have combined to go 0-10 in the early season, but expect this to change sooner than later. All three squads showed big improvements from the opening week, despite their respective losses, and a big example of this is in the rookies. The Fever's Kelsey Mitchell scored 25 points in Indiana's loss to Washington on Thursday, which is the highest mark by a Fever rookie since 2005. New York newbie Kia Nurse finished with 14 points and five rebounds off the bench in the Liberty's loss to the Mystics Friday. And Las Vegas's A'ja Wilson led everyone with 27 points in the Aces' first-ever home game, a narrow 105-98 loss to Seattle. With the efforts shown by both these teams and others, expect this season to have many surprises in the standings.
17: The combined margin of victory for Connecticut in its two games last week.
The Sun made history as the first WNBA team to start its season with back-to-back 100+ point games, but it wasn't as easy to keep their record unblemished this week. After a dominating opening-day win, Connecticut needed a 37-point fourth quarter to get the win over Los Angeles on Thursday (102-94). The Sun then almost let a 19-point lead slip away against winless Indiana on Saturday before holding on for the 86-77 win. To Connecticut's credit, both games saw balanced scoring on and off the bench. However, the Sun may have to find ways to close out games earlier and quicker if they want to compete with the Minnesotas and Los Angeles' of the league.
A quick shoutout to the fans who watched or attended games this week, specifically those at New York's and Las Vegas's home openers. After a tumultuous off-season, New York moved to a venue 45 minutes away and one-quarter the size of its previous home, a little arena called Madison Square Garden. But that didn't stop the fans, who sold out the 2,315-seat Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York, for Friday's opener. People in Las Vegas showed up for their team's opener, too -– nearly 5,000 of them. Every pair of eyes on the screens or in the stands helps grow the game.
The first full month of WNBA action begins Friday. Buckle up!
Tuesday, May 29
- Minnesota Lynx (2-2) at Atlanta Dream (1-2): 7:00 PM Eastern [Twitter]
- Dallas Wings (2-2) at New York Liberty (0-2): 7:00 PM Eastern
- Washington Mystics (4-0) at Seattle Storm (3-1): 10:00 PM Eastern [Twitter]
Wednesday, May 30
- Washington Mystics at Phoenix Mercury (2-2): 10:00 PM Eastern
Thursday, May 31
- Las Vegas Aces (0-3) at Seattle Storm: 10:00 PM Eastern
Friday, June 1
- Phoenix Mercury at Minnesota Lynx: 8:00 PM Eastern [ESPN 2]
- Connecticut Sun (3-0) at Chicago Sky (2-2): 9:00 PM Eastern [ESPN 3]
- Washington Mystics at Las Vegas Aces: 10:30 PM Eastern
Saturday, June 2
- New York Liberty at Indiana Fever (0-5): 7:00 PM Eastern
- Seattle Storm at Dallas Wings: 8:00 PM Eastern
Sunday, June 3
- Phoenix Mercury at Atlanta Dream: 3:00 PM Eastern
- Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics: 3:00 PM Eastern
- Minnesota Lynx at Los Angeles Sparks (3-1): 5:00 PM Eastern
- Las Vegas Aces at Chicago Sky: 6:00 PM Eastern
Filed under: wnba; sylvia fowles; basketball; minnesota lynx; dallas wings; seattle storm; las vegas aces; washington mystics; phoenix mercury; los angeles sparks; indiana fever; connecticut sun
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