Halfway through the WNBA season – Observations and Thoughts so far

*NOTE: This post was supposed to be out last week, but I got busy with social events. As I am aware, teams have now played up to more than 19 games, so it’s a bit more than half way. Yet, we now have a clearer picture on all 12 teams, so right before All Star break, read my thoughts on the 2017 season below.

Half way through the 2017 season, we now have some answers and clarity as to which teams are playoff teams, which are championship teams and which teams are headed to the lottery. We also have some updates on the front runners for MVP, ROY, COY, MIP, DPOY, etc. *WARNING: Extremely long post ahead, so make sure you have some coffee and get caught up on all your WNBA action so far.

First up are the front runners for each major individual award:sylviafowles

MVP: Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx. Yes, the Lynx are the #1 team in the WNBA right now, and have a ton of weapons, but Fowles stands out this season. This may sound a bit crazy, but at age 30, she’s improved her game to where she is unstoppable down low. She was always an All Star type of player, but this season, she’s raised it up a notch and the league is taking notice. Hence why she is my pick for MVP so far.

ROY: Tie between Allisha Gray, Dallas Wings and Brittney Sykes, Atlanta Dream. This one was tough. Allisha Gray has been consistent since Day 1 and deservedly won ROM in the months of May and June. But Gray has competition now. Brittney Sykes is heating up and she’s becoming an impact player for the Atlanta Dream. Gray has the slight edge since she started since her first game but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it came down to a tie. I couldn’t decide so it’s a tie (for now)

COY: This is an interesting award. Do you hand this award to Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve whose team is even better than last year? Or do you reward the Sun coach Curt Miller for a rising Connecticut team? In my opinion, it could go either way, but for now I chose Curt Miller because the Sun were not expected to be this competitive and their players to have career best seasons. It speaks volumes, especially with such a young team who is still learning to grow and get better. Therefore, my COY pick for now is Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller.

MIP: Another intriguing award. First of all, there are two names that come to my mind when we are talking about Most Improved Player. Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun and Chelsea Gray of the Los Angeles Sparks. Both have improved pretty dramatically from a year ago and now are one of the top stars on their respective teams. The Sun depend on Jonquel Jones every night and she delivers with double doubles almost every night. The Sparks rely on Chelsea Gray to help out Candace Parker and Nneka Oguwmike and she does just that. Both teams have improved thanks to these two players. So who is the front runner for this award so far? I have to go with Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones. I think her improvement is just a tad bit more than Chelsea Gray at this point. But it is pretty close at this point.

DPOY: There are two to possibly three names that come to my mind when discussing Defensive Player of the Year candidates. Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks. Both Fowles and Griner have been tough on the defensive end of the floor by altering shots of their opponents, providing timely stops and taking care of their respective match up. (Of the games that Fowles has played Griner, Fowles has had the upper hand.) Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks also comes to mind because, she’s been a key part as to why LA is currently in second place. Her ability to lock down top guards in this league has helped LA tremendously. Her ability to pay attention to little details is what helps the other players on her team also step up defensively. Her stats don’t look as appealing compared to Sylvia Fowles or Brittney Griner, but when Alana Beard is locked in, that spells trouble for the opponent. This is a tough choice, but I would have to give Sylvia Fowles the slight edge over Brittney Griner so far, just because head to head Fowles has won and the Lynx are better defensively than the Mercury right now.

6th WOY: I’m not sure I have any candidates that stick out to me right now. Renee Montgomery of the Minnesota Lynx, Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks, etc probably are two names that stick out to me right now but I don’t think either one of them are the 6th Woman of the Year. I’m just not as sure as previous years, so maybe someone else comes along, but for now, I just don’t know about this award yet.

Now that all of the major awards are done, it’s time to take a closer look at all 12 teams. I am going to start in reverse order, so the worst team to the best team.

12. San Antonio Stars

At the half way point, I am going to say I am a bit disappointed. I wasn’t expecting the Stars to make the playoffs nor be in every game, but their current record and team play is just not up to par. I’m not going to delve deeper into the Ruth Riley/Vickie Johnson/Kelsey Plum mess, but I will say that I thought it was going to be better. The only current player who has been a bright spot for the Stars is PF/C Isabelle Harrison. She’s been fantastic and will continue to get better. The coach’s decisions have been baffling, and I always thought Vickie Johnson was a fantastic associate head coach. So, to see her decisions now, it is mind boggling. It’s a mess this season and for me personally, I want to see how this team does next year with a top 4 pick and improvements from their key players. At this point, the Stars are playing for pride.

11. Chicago Sky

There’s two parts of the Sky that are happening. The very ugly beginning part of the season where it looked like the Sky were also getting ready to tank and then the second part of the season where they look like a playoff team reminiscent to what they did last season when Elena Delle Donne was out late last season. So which team is it? I’m not sure. I don’t think they were as bad as they originally started, yet I don’t think they’re a playoff team either compared to all the other playoff teams. Yes, they have solid wins (win against Minnesota sticks out) but they also have some ugly losses (lost to San Antonio.) I think this team is in flux. They may be fighting right now for a playoff spot but that’s tough to do when you have so much ground to cover and few games left to do it in. The Sky are who I think majority of people thought they would be. Not terrible, but not a playoff team yet. The Sky are still a fun team to watch, and it will be interesting to see what happens after All Star break.

10. Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever are a rebuilding team. They have some solid veterans but they also have some very young players. They struggle to score consistently and other than Candice Dupree, they do not have a second player who they can rely on scoring every night. They’re a mediocre team at best who is still trying to figure out their new identity post Catchings. They are in desperate need of a talent upgrade and their plan should be to continue to develop players such as Tiffany Mitchell, Natalie Achonwa, Erica McCall rather than make an attempt at the 8th and final playoff seed. The Fever have been a very good franchise, but so far, it looks like they will miss the playoffs.

9. Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm have been disappointing. The Storm should be better than in ninth place right now. They’ve been inconsistent and have not yet managed to win consistently. Jewell Loyd who started off hot during the early part of the season has cooled down and is inconsistent still from game to game. Breanna Stewart has been her steady self and Sue Bird has provided help, but they need more. Their bench hasn’t helped much and their defense hasn’t been great either. They need to figure out a new strategy because this team should be in the playoffs or at least in the playoff hunt but if they continue to play like this, they will be out of the playoffs after making them a year before.

8. Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream have been surprising. I don’t think many people thought when Angel McCoughtry was out because she was resting, that the Dream would still be very much in the playoff hunt. But McCoughtry’s decision to rest may be a blessing in disguise. It allowed Tiffany Hayes to become the star player and the main focus, which led her to become an All Star starter. It allowed Layshia Clarendon to grow into her point guard role and become a better distributor as well as a scorer and it has also left room for rookie guard Brittney Sykes to bloom. The Dream have some great wins and for the most part, look like a playoff team. Angel McCoughtry could be on the way back for Atlanta however, so it shall be interesting to see what happens to the Dream.

7. Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings are a hit or miss team. When they are on, they are one of the top playoff teams. When they are off, they are one of the lottery teams. They do have the talent to be a playoff team and make the playoffs, but their lack of defense is holding them back. Not to mention several times, they’ve had to fight back in the fourth quarters of games only to lose in the end. Their lack of size also hurts them and is allowing other teams to get to the rim very easily. The Wings could make the playoffs but they only have a few games left and can not afford any more losses.

6. New York Liberty

The New York Liberty like the Seattle Storm have also been very inconsistent. They have some great wins, but they also have some bad losses. After being the third best team a year ago, they are now towards the bottom of the standings. Tina Charles is still consistent and putting up great numbers but she needs help. Sometimes Shavonte Zellous is reliable, other times it is Sugar Rodgers or Epiphanny Prince. Just like the Storm, the Liberty’s bench has not been great so far. Bottom line, so far the Liberty have been disappointing and more was expected at this point of the season.

5. Phoenix Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury have been one of the surprising teams thanks in large part due to their MVP candidate Brittney Griner and star Diana Taurasi. Those two have led the charge for the Mercury and not much was expected from the Mercury this year but those two have put Phoenix in the playoff picture. Leilani Mitchell and Danielle Robinson have also contributed, as well as Stephanie Talbot alongside Griner and Taurasi. Unfortunately, due to an injury to Brittney Griner, the Mercury have lost a key piece and now will probably fight to stay in the playoff picture until she is healthy enough to return.

4. Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics had a lot of expectations placed on them due to off season acquisitions. Half way through, I think they are right where they are supposed to be. I think most thought they would be a top 3 team behind the likes of the Lynx and Sparks, but as of right now they are the fourth team in the league. Their team took a major hit when one of their top players in Tayler Hill suffered an ACL injury and now the team has to regroup. However, they still have Elena Delle Donne, who although is currently out with injury, it is not as severe compared to Hill’s. They also have Kristi Toliver and Emma Messeman. I would say the Mystics are right on target halfway through.

3. Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun have been another surprise team and played better than expected half way through the season. They’ve had some really great wins and their players have played better than expected. They have three WNBA All Stars which is something considering their star player Chiney Oguwmike is out with an ACL injury. The Sun have also been very competitive and are looking like a second round playoff team who could potentially surprise teams. The Sun haven’t made the playoffs in a while and they are in good position to end the playoff drought half way through.

2. Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks, like the Mystics are right where many people expected them to be. The defending champion has been winning games, and is clearly the second best team in the league. Reigning MVP Nneka Oguwmike has continued her dominance from the 2016 season and Chelsea Gray has been tremendous as well. Candace Parker, who is now more of a facilitator rather than a scorer has been a steady presence. Alana Beard, has been a steady defensive presence. This is a different Sparks team with new weapons in Odyssey Sims and Riquna Williams, but there’s no question about it. The Sparks are still a very good team half way through the season.

1.  Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx are even better than last year. They’ve improved and look focused on winning the WNBA championship later this year. MVP candidate Sylvia Fowles leads the charge with contributions from the likes of Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus. Their defense has always been elite, but this year it is been phenomenal. Their bench also is adequate and helps out the starters. The Lynx are hungry and are playing like it half way through the season.


Game #21 Minnesota Lynx vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Day Preview

The Silver Stars are back in action as they face the Minnesota Lynx again in a span of 4 days. This is the last and final meeting for both teams and San Antonio will be more than happy to see the Lynx for the last time. The Silver Stars are .500 at home and will look to start a winning streak while Minnesota will be looking to win its tenth straight game. Minnesota has won each of the previous 3 games with ease regardless of the arena.


PG –  Lindsay Whalen

SG – Seimone Augustus

SF – Maya Moore

PF – Rebekkah Brunson

C – Janel McCarville


PG – Danielle Robinson

SG – Jia Perkins

SF – Shenise Johnson

F/C – Danielle Adams

C – Jayne Appel


1. THE BATTLE OF THE POINT GUARDS – Lindsay Whalen drives the Minnesota Lynx and is one of the best if not the best point guard in the league. Danielle Robinson is becoming one of the elite point guards in this league and a good defender as well. Danielle needs to make sure Lindsay Whalen keeps from penetrating and making sure that Lindsay has a tough time not only with her shot but from making plays for others too. It’s quite the difficult task, but if Danielle can do it, the Silver Stars have a shot of winning the game.

2. KEEP THE GAME CLOSE – Minnesota usually runs away with the game pretty quickly when the Silver Stars fail to score or have a hard time scoring. They need to make sure that this game is not a blowout and keep it pretty close. They need to compete for the whole 40 minutes.

3. CONTRIBUTE –   The Silver Stars need everyone to contribute regardless of scoring. They need to set good screens, rebound, pass the ball, look for the open shot, help their team mate etc. They need all 9 players to make an impact otherwise Minnesota will have swept the four game series.

The game will be on LiveAccess. Tip off is set for 7 pm local time, 8 pm eastern and 5 pm pacific time.


Game #19 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Minnesota Lynx Game Recap (Quick Hits Version)

Danielle Robinson goes for the layup against Sugar Rodgers. San Antonio lost 85-63 to Minnesota at Target Center.

The Minnesota Lynx were just too much for the Silver Stars to handle and the Stars fell to the Lynx for the third time this series. The Lynx improved to 15-3 and have won 8 straight games. The Silver Stars fell to 6-13 and became the worst team in the Western Conference (lower winning percentage) after Tulsa won against LA on Friday night.  The Silver Stars were playing in their first game back after the All Star break. The Silver Stars are now 2-7 on the road this season. There’s not much to recap on this game, other than the fact that the Silver Stars were in the game for at least 2 and half quarters before Minnesota made their run and San Antonio could not recover quickly enough to come back.  Shameka Christon led SA with 15 points on 5 made three pointers.

Quick mini notes + observations

  • The Minnesota Lynx starting 5 was too much to handle for the Silver Stars. Seimone Augustus had 18 points, Maya Moore had 16, and the rest of the Lynx All Stars led the way in rebounds & assists. It’s hard to beat an oppenent when their opponent is on top of their game.
  • No balanced scoring for the Silver Stars — Jia Perkins, Shenise Johnson, Danielle Adams all struggled shooting from the field. As I have written in most of my game previews, it’s hard to win if Silver Stars aren’t getting more than 1 or 2 double digit scorers this year.
  • The X Factor — Monica Wright. It’s hard to beat a team that’s playing well and as well as a bench player. No one from the Stars could stop Wright from scoring as she led the Lynx bench with 14 points.

The Silver Stars next game is against the Tulsa Shock before they meet the Minnesota Lynx for the fourth and final time on Tuesday.

Game #19 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Minnesota Lynx Game Day Preview

How was your week off? For most of the Silver Stars it was a much needed vacation time. Danielle Robinson, however was celebrating her first All Star game appearance in Connecticut.  So after a week, the Silver Stars are back in action! They visit the red hot Minnesota Lynx who are not only the best team in the Western Conference, but the entire league. They’ve won 7 in a row and the Silver Stars are going to need EVERYONE to step up if they want to win this game. The Silver Stars are on a 2 game winning streak and are in 5th place in the Western Conference. The Stars are 2-7 on the road this season and Minnesota is 8-0 at home.  This is the 3rd game of a 4 game series. Minnesota won the previous two within the same margin of victory of 16 to 17 points. The official preview can be found here

Projected Starting Lineups for the Minnesota Lynx

PG – Lindsay Whalen

SG – Seimone Augustus

SF – Maya Moore

PF – Rebekkah Brunson

C – Janel McCarville

Projected Starting Lineups for the San Antonio Silver Stars

PG – Danielle Robinson

SG – Jia Perkins

SF – Shenise Johnson

F / C – Danielle Adams

C – Jayne Appel


1. Defend the All Stars – I’ve written this before in my game previews against the Lynx so this should not come as a surprise. Lindsay Whalen has had a fantastic July and will look to do so against the Silver Stars. Seimone Augustus can get rolling as well as Maya Moore so the Silver Stars will have their hands full guarding them. Rebekkah Brunson also can have a great night so Jayne Appel and Danielle Adams have to keep her off the boards. If the Silver Stars can manage to keep 2 out of the 4 stars from being effective they stand a great shot of winning this game.

2. No X Factor – Last game they played, Deveraux Peters had a great game and finished with 13 points. The Silver Stars need to make sure no one from Minnesota’s bench plays well. If the Stars limit the amount of bench points, the Stars chances of winning increases because it means the Lynx All Stars have to be even more productive.

3. Everyone contributes – It’s no secret that San Antonio has one of the worst offenses in the league. Also, the Silver Stars can’t win this season when only one or two players play well. They need at least 5 players to score in double figures and be active in the ball game. They need their starting 5 to play well plus someone off the bench. If everyone is able to contribute the Silver Stars might steal a road win.

The game will be played at the Target Center. Tip off is for 7 pm local time. The game will be broadcast on NBATV and will be on Fox Sports Southwest. It will also be on LiveAccess

Recapping the Friday and Saturday Home and Home Series vs Minnesota & Connecticut(Games 16 and 17)

Lindsay Whalen led Minnesota to an 87-71 victory over San Antonio. Photo c/o of NBAE/Getty Images

Danielle Adams led San Antonio with 20 points as SA won 60-52 over the Connecticut Sun. Photo courtest of Daniel Clarke Evans NBAE/Getty Images


Two games, two different opponents. It’s amazing how one night, everyone looks lethargic and slow and the next night, suddenly everyone looks energized and play better. That’s exactly what happens when you play the best team in the Western Conference the Minnesota Lynx and the worst team in the Eastern Conference the Connecticut Sun the next night. The Silver Stars split the home and home series 1-1 and are now 3-5 at home this season.

Click here for the official recap for the blow out loss to the Lynx on Friday..

I was out for the game that happened on Friday, so I can only go by play by play and the box score. Below are some brief game notes.


  • The injuries keep piling up. This time, it took Delisha Milton Jones who left the game with a knee injury. Her status is questionable and most likely day to day.
  • I wrote in my game preview for this game that the Silver Stars would need to contain the Lynx starting 5. They didn’t as Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Janel McCarville had 21, 14 and 10 points apiece. Lindsay Whalen had herself a game and was incredibly efficient w 21 points in 26 minutes
  • I also wrote in my game preview that the Stars had to prevent an X factor from scoring. They didn’t as Deveraux Peters had 13 points. It’s difficult to win games especially against the Lynx when they have another player scoring other than their starting 5.
  • Nothing really positive to say about the Stars performance stat wise except they out rebounded the Lynx by 1 37 to 36
  • Lindsay Whalen is an All Star. There is no doubt about that.

After the Stars suffered a blow out loss to the Lynx they had to regroup and get ready for the Connecticut Sun.  First, read the official recap  for the game and then read my game recap below.

San Antonio – July 20, 2013

Aneela Khan

The San Antonio Silver Stars were thrilled and more than happy to end their season high 4 game losing streak to the Connecticut Sun on Saturday night. After a rough season in which San Antonio has lost their two best players and another starter on Friday they could finally smile after their victory. The Silver Stars were led by Danielle Adams who was starting in her second straight game and scored 20 points and 8 rebounds. Jayne Appel also was big for San Antonio as she had a career high 18 rebounds. After a first half in which both teams were tied at 35, San Antonio took the lead after the third quarter and never looked back. Connecticut struggled to score in the second half and only scored 17 points, 4 of them in the third quarter. Jia Perkins was instrumental in the second half with 9 second half points, 7 of them in the third quarter run that put the game away. Tina Charles had 18 points and 12 rebounds and outside of Charles, the Sun struggled. Tina also passed 2000 points in her career at the 6:20 minute mark in the third quarter. Renee Montgomery who was playing in her second straight game from her return of her injury struggled shooting as did Tan White. The Silver Stars next game is before the All Star Break on July 25th against the New York Liberty. It is also camp day.


  • Jia Perkins, Danielle Adams and Jayne Appel all came to play. All three were huge in their roles and helped keep the Sun from even thinking about making it a game. Danielle Robinson was also key.
  • Kara Lawson did not play. My guess it was to rest either her knee or back.
  • Tina Charles didn’t shoot the ball enough. She did have 20 attempts which is the most on her team but on a night where the other players were struggling, it would’ve been better to give her the ball more and let her work. The Sun completely forgot about Tina in the third quarter and the 4th quarter in which she only scored 2 points. Jayne Appel did a fine job defending Tina and made her work a little more for her shots.
  • On that note on Tina. Scoring 2000 points in 3 and a half seasons is remarkable. She’s on the Angel McCoughtry, Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi scoring pace. Which is to say she’s going to score a lot of points at a rapid pace. Scary, just scary.
  • Free throws just weren’t going to happen in this game. Only 7 for the Stars, 11 for the Sun.
  • The crowd was into the game despite the team struggles and the opponent struggles. Nice to see San Antonio still appreciating their WNBA team

Game #16 Minnesota Lynx vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Day Preview

The San Antonio Silver Stars are back at it for the first of 2 games at the AT&T Center for a back to back home stand. The Silver Stars face the visiting Minnesota Lynx who’ve had 5 days of rest prior to this game. The Lynx have won 4 in a row thanks largely in part to the play of their point guard Lindsay Whalen and Monica Wright. The Silver Stars have lost 3 in a row and will need to play their best game if they want a shot to beat the Lynx. The Lynx are 4-3 on the road this season while the Stars are 2-4 at home. This is the second of 4 meetings between the two teams. The Silver Stars lost the first game by a final score of 87 to 72, but it was a close game throughout until midway the fourth quarter where the Silver Stars didn’t have enough to close it out and the Lynx won.

Projected Starting Lineups for the Minnesota Lynx

PG – Lindsay Whalen

SG – Monica Wright

SF – Maya Moore

PF – Rebekkah Brunson

C – Janel McCarville

Starting Lineups for the San Antonio Silver Stars

PG – Danielle Robinson

SG – Jia Perkins

SF – Shenise Johnson

PF – Delisha Milton Jones

C – Jayne Appel


1. Defence. Defend the Minnesota Lynx starting 5. If the Silver Stars can slow down Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Monica Wright & Rebekkah Brunson, then the Stars are giving themselves  a good oppurtunity to steal the game. It might be too much to ask to slow down all 4, but if they can just make them work for their points and transition buckets, the Stars will come out as the winners of the game.

2. Balanced scoring attack. This HAS to happen for the Silver Stars to win games. The Stars struggle when they cannot get more than 2 people to score. In a season where they are tied for third with fewest wins in the league and are 2 losses behind Tulsa, it’s pretty clear that the playoffs are starting to fade from the Stars season. They need to score if they want to stay in the game. It’s that simple.

3. No X Factor. Don’t let Janel McCarville have a big game. Same goes for Deveraux Peters. The Silver Stars should limit the bench players and or role players from having a big game because the Lynx will have spread their offence around making it difficult for the Silver Stars to defend. 

The game will be on Fox Sports Southwest and on Fox Sports Northwest. It will be at 7 pm local time, 8 pm EST and 5 pm PST. It will also be on LiveAccess.


Game #5 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Minnesota Lynx Game Recap + Notes & Observations


The San Antonio Silver Stars lost their second consecutive road game of the season to the Minnesota Lynx by a final score of 72 – 87. The San Antonio Silver Stars managed to keep it close through out the first half and led at half time. Midway through the third quarter, the Lynx put the pressure on the San Antonio Silver Stars and were able to gain a lead several times before eventually pulling away from the Silver Stars to win the game.

Notes & Observations


The Silver Stars were very aggressive in the first half and gave the Minnesota Lynx problems which resulted in some physical play and holding Seimone Augustus to just two points on only two shot attempts. The second half featured some of the same from the first half before the Lynx took the lead and held on to it for the rest of the game. Lindsay Whalen was the MVP for the Lynx as she was able to drive by any Silver Star defenders and get to the free throw line. She was also able to facilitate the offense and in the process and got Lindsay Wright and Seimone Augustus to have a big second half. 

For the Silver Stars, they had a balanced scoring attack with MIP candidate Shenise Johnson leading the way with 16 points. The Silver Stars just couldn’t score in the third and fourth quarter. They got stops, they got to within 7, but just couldn’t get the stops and score when needed to be.

They also got out rebounded by the Lynx, just like in their previous game against Chicago. This was one of the problems from last season and its continuing to rear its ugly head again.

The Silver Stars bench scored 32 points and are tops in the WNBA in doing that.

I really wish Jayne Appel would try to score more. I know she can rebound, defend and pass, but I would like to see her be more aggressive on the offensive end so that the Silver Stars can be more potent offensively.

Shameka Christon is struggling big time. She’s shooting 27% from the floor. If she doesn’t find her offense soon, it will be difficult for the Silver Stars to win, especially when they need scoring.

The Silver Stars drop to 2-3 on the season and have another tough game against Los Angeles on June 15. The bonus is that LA will be on the second night of a back to back as they play Phoenix on Friday.