The WNBA Regular Season – Taking a look back on all 12 teams

*Note: With the WNBA regular season ended more than a week ago and the WNBA Playoffs well underway, I know that this post is a bit late. This post is taking a look back on all 12 teams and how they finished post All Star break into the end of the regular season.

The 2017 WNBA regular season came to a close more than a week ago. It was a successful 2017 WNBA season as this season saw more fans attend more games since 2011. It was also one of the most highly social interacted on social media platforms thanks to the Twitter partnership, FanDuel deal and the introduction of the WNBA in a video game in NBA Live 18. There were some memorable moments in the 2017 season and there’s more to look forward to in 2018 as the league continues to grow.

All 12 teams at one point or another save for the San Antonio Stars were in playoff contention at some point in the year and the new playoff format saw teams playing their best until the very end of the regular season which is something that would not have happened under the old format in which teams tended to rest their players the final day.

We now take a look back at all 12 WNBA teams starting from the team to the worst record to the team with the best record post All Star break.

WNBA Team: San Antonio Stars

The San Antonio Stars were much better in the second half of the year in which they not only produced more wins but were more competitive and could have pulled out a few more wins. After struggling through the first 2 months, Stars first pick Kelsey Plum found her groove and played much better in the final months. She was in contention for WNBA  Rookie of the Month honors for the month of August. After a slow start, she started coming into form and showed that she can be a great point guard although she still has much to learn. Meanwhile, the other Stars point guard Moriah Jefferson struggled with knee injuries and barely played in the final months and the Stars have not yet updated her status but she should be ready to play next May. The Stars have this off- season to decide whether or not to retain Vicky Johnson and need to upgrade some of the starting lineup so that the Stars can be compete for the playoffs which has not happened since 2014.

WNBA Team: Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever had a rough second half of the season with many players having season ending injuries and the other players not performing up to their level save for Fever star Candice Dupree and Fever guard Erica Wheeler. When a team often loses their franchise player there are often growing pains and the Fever experienced that as they had a record WNBA loss against the Minnesota Lynx in the second half of the season and failed to make the playoffs in which they used to do regularly. Not all of it was bad however. Tiffany Mitchell had her moments, Shenise Johnson was the team’s leading scorer before she went down with a season ending injury and some of the team’s younger players got a chance to grow for next season. The Fever have work to do in the off- season if they want to get back to the WNBA playoffs next year.

WNBA Team: Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream were a complete mess in the second half of the season. They were mostly hovering around the .500 mark before going on a losing streak which saw them not only lose their shot at the WNBA playoffs but they also lost their shot of drafting a top player next year when they traded for Imani Boyette and Tamera Young in exchange for Jordan Hooper and their 2018 first round pick. Because of the way the Dream finished the season, the first round pick became even more vital. After having 3 WNBA All Stars in the WNBA ASG, the Dream struggled and while rookie Brittney Sykes continued to bloom and was the Rookie of the Month for August and is in contention for Rookie of the Year, the rest of the team took a step back and the Dream management fired head coach Michael Cooper at the end of the disappointing end to what was a promising start. The Dream will get Angel McCoughtry back after she sat out the 2017 season but they also have work to do to get back into the WNBA playoffs for next season.

WNBA Team: Chicago Sky

The Chicago Sky were somewhat respectable in the second half of the season. They had moments where they looked playoff ready and others were they looked like they were lottery bound. It was an up and down second half of the season for the Sky. Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley remain one of the top back court duos in the WNBA and Stefanie Dolson is emerging as a top WNBA forward/center but other than that, the Sky could not get consistency beyond Jessica Breland and therefore was stuck in the dreaded 9th place where a team is good but not great enough for the playoffs. However, the 2018 outlook looks much better as the Sky are the most rich lottery team in terms of first round picks and should have much to look forward to in 2018 as they aim for the WNBA Playoffs.

WNBA Team: Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm struggled with inconsistency for most of the season but during the second half of the season, the head coach Jenny Boucek was fired as the team was struggling and the team needed new leadership. Interim coach Gary Kloppenburg took control and the Storm seemed to trend in an upward direction as they won four straight and then struggled with inconsistency the rest of the year. However it was good enough to make the WNBA Playoffs which was a goal the organization had in mind and at least for this season was good enough. However, while Storm star Breanna Stewart was great, Jewell Loyd struggled with inconsistency and it showed in games. The Storm bench was not always up to par and so the Storm have work to do and have to address their needs otherwise they maybe a lottery team next season. They also have to address whether or not they will keep Gary Kloppenburg or hire a new head coach altogether.

WNBA Team: Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings had a stable second half of the season. They mostly hovered around the .500 mark for the second half of the season and were competitive in many games despite their defense being the worst in the league. Skylar Diggins was exceptional for the Wings and the Wings also got help from Glory Johnson, Theresa Plaisance, Allisha Gray, Karima Christmas-Kelly to help them make the playoffs after their move to Dallas last season. Allisha Gray struggled in the second half of the season but still was a solid rookie and in contention for WNBA Rookie of the Year. The Wings with 5 rookies were able to make the playoffs and have much to look forward to in 2018 but must address their defense otherwise they may take a step back next season.

WNBA Team: Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics did not have a great ending to the 2017 season. Their second half was marred with injuries to key players such as Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud. They were in contention for the #4 overall seed before injuries took a toll and the Mystics lost a couple of games. After a promising start to the season, the Mystics just could not pull it together during the second half of the season and dropped in the standings to the #6 seed. However, it was not all bad for the Mystics. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough showed she can play, Emma Messeman stepped up her game and Krystal Thomas shined. Because of injuries, it is difficult to tell how good the Mystics can be but they will be definitely better next season when all of the key players are healthy and ready to go.

WNBA Team: Phoenix Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury overachieved during the second half of the season. Although they were in contention for the #4 spot along with the Mystics, they dropped a couple of games while Brittney Griner was sidelined. When Griner returned and still one of the best players in the game Diana Taurasi were able to guide the Mercury to win some much needed games and eventually won the #5 seed. The Mercury had a great ending to the season not only due to Griner and Taurasi but Leilani Mitchell, Monique Currie, etc helped. It’s a truly remarkable season for the Mercury as Griner becomes into the top player in the league. The Mercury outlook for 2018 looks bright.

WNBA Team: Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun dropped off a little bit during the second half of the season. They started off and stayed mostly at the #3 seed for majority of the year before some losses dropped them to #4. It was still a great year for the Sun as they not only made the WNBA Playoffs but to do so well with such a young team. Jasmine Thomas and Alyssa Thomas were excellent for the Sun, Jonquel Jones showed why she will be a force in the WNBA and other players helped such as Courtney Williams, Alex Bentley, etc. The Sun exceeded expectations and with that comes new expectations. The 2018 season for the Sun looks very good and they will get back their star who was injured in Chiney Oguwmike.

WNBA Team: New York Liberty

The New York Liberty ended the season on a roll. After hovering near the .500 mark the first half of the season, they managed to win 10 in a row and end up as the #3 seed just like last season. Tina Charles was dominant once again, and the Liberty got solid contributions from Bria Hartley, Shavonte Zellous, and others. After struggling majority of the season, the Liberty turned things around because of their defense and finally played like one of the top teams that they were expected to be. However, the Liberty’s end to the regular season was going to be defined on how they played in the WNBA playoffs after suffering two first round exits the previous two years. (The Liberty’s great end of the season was all for naught, as they once again lost in the first round and have many questions to address including whether or not Bill Laimbeer should continue to be the head coach.) The Liberty are still a top team, but they have their work cut out for them if they want to advance in the playoffs and have great success in 2018.

WNBA Team: Los Angeles Sparks

The Los Angeles Sparks ended the second half of the season on a great note. They managed to stay in contention for the #1 overall seed till the very last day and managed to win the regular season series versus the Lynx two games to one. The defending champions showed that they are still one of the best teams in the WNBA and are on a mission to win the WNBA title again this season. Nneka Oguwmike and Candace Parker are still one of the very best front court duos and Alana Beard’s defence is top notch. Along with that the Sparks have very good guard play in Chelsea Gray and Odyssey Sims plus excellent defence. The Sparks have tough offensive firepower heading into the WNBA Playoffs which will be difficult for any team to stop. The Sparks outlook for 2018 is once again very great as the majority of the team is still young enough for perhaps, another title run next season.

WNBA Team: Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx ended the second half of the season after such a strong start in the first half of the season just good enough to secure the overall top seed. They struggled in the second half of the season after losing their point guard Lindsay Whalen to injury. Although Renee Montgomery stepped up in her absence, the Lynx managed to win enough games and the Lynx’s age showed as many of their players just did not have the energy they had during the first half of the season. However, after setting a record start the slide was able to prevent the Sparks from gaining ground and the Lynx managed to stay tough. The Lynx were led by Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Sylvia Fowles plus their savy vets off the bench. The Lynx are still one of the top teams in the WNBA and it will be tough to stop them come WNBA playoff time. The 2018 outlook for the Lynx is still very good and the Lynx will be yet on another WNBA title chase.

With that, my review of the 2017 season through all 12 teams is completed and with the WNBA Playoffs well underway, there’s still some more endings needed to be written for the 2017 season. Make sure you tune into ESPN2 and catch the exciting playoff games to see who wins the WNBA title this year.

 

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Twitter and the WNBA – What people are missing

The Twitter live stream of the first game was a smashing success. It was of great quality and the conversation was also great. There were very few trolls or mean comments. It was refreshing based on what we normally see in comments section on the Internet.  This was a very good step forward by not only the WNBA but Twitter as well.

One of the many things people often complain about the product is the fact that the WNBA does not market itself well. Very few TV ads are placed and the WNBA is not front and center in the public very often. The WNBA has started to address this by using Twitter, a social media tool that is used world wide and has great reach than what the WNBA can provide in the United States.

This is a very smart business move by the WNBA. Social media and online networks will continue to move forward and the WNBA has pushed forward in getting women’s sports out in the digital world. But what people fail to realize is, the WNBA has no intent to put out all of their games on Twitter. This is just a sneak peek to gauge casual fans interest and essentially get people to visit the website and purchase WNBA League Pass. It’s also to get people talking about the WNBA and for them to see the greatness of these WNBA players.

Another key part of this is Twitter. Twitter has started to already have an online digital network presence. They broadcast the news, sports, and other activities and have more lined up for the fall. For right now, the Twitter live stream is FREE. Remember, Twitter is a business. They need to make money. It could be in three to four years, that they start charging Twitter users who want to watch the Twitter live stream. Only then, will the WNBA have an active presence on Twitter.

I find it fascinating when I was reading the comments on #WNBALive and one of the comments said something along the lines of “I love this game! If there were MORE games to watch, I would!”. That kind of set me back a bit. The WNBA already does feature more games on ESPN and on local TV networks. Like I mentioned previously, they also have League Pass. Maybe the WNBA should have an in game advertisement saying if you enjoyed this game, you can watch the games on League Pass! Something along the lines of that.

I’ve been a fan of the WNBA for 9 years (10 WNBA seasons) and the product just keeps getting better and better. Every year, these new athletes get better. There will still be haters, or people who don’t want to see the WNBA get better. Over the years, I’ve shifted through articles of the following: “WNBA Players don’t get paid as much as the NBA Players”, “Where is the media coverage for the WNBA”, “Can the WNBA survive? Is it profitable?”, and so on and on. It gets annoying for me to read as well as other people.  So I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped reading those type of articles. Stopped mentioning to others to go read.

That is why I am so glad that the WNBA and Twitter have teamed up. Twitter is BY FAR the most social media tool I use and I am grateful that the league thinks the same way. I am ready to see the impact the Twitter deal will have on the league and if it can pick up more fans.

One last thing, if you want the WNBA to have more games on Twitter, be willing to pay. You like the action, but don’t live in a WNBA city? Buy WNBA League Pass. Stop making excuses and be honest with yourselves. You want the WNBA to succeed? Then prepare to open your wallet.

Mainstream media coverage on women’s basketball and WNBA and how it correlates to growing the fan base

I’ve been pondering over writing this blog post and whether or not people will actually read this post. This is a topic that ever since I first became aware of women’s basketball nine years ago never seems to go away. Or have a solution. It’s one of the struggles that many great WNBA/WBB fans and passionate writers and bloggers have to face every day.

As many of us know, when it comes to sports, the four main men’s sports get all the coverage and love from both fans and media companies alike. I’m talking about the NFL (which in some parts of the United States, it’s more like a religion), the NBA (once again, in some parts of the United States and world wide, it’s also the biggest sport), the NHL (this is HUGE in Canada, and in few parts in the United States) and MLB (which is America’s favorite summer past time).

So, in turn the four main men’s sports get a huge chunk of TV money from big name media companies such as ABC, ESPN, Sportsnet and TSN(HUGE in Canada), CBS, TNT, FOXSports, etc. This leaves very little TV money to give to other sports. What gets left over goes to women and men’s tennis, NASCAR, golf, gymnastics, etc. The remaining goes to the niche sports.  Women’s college basketball and the WNBA fall into that category.

It’s not just the TV companies who pull this type of move. It’s the newspapers(although to be fair, newspapers are dying), radio, online magazines/websites, etc. They only provide in depth coverage of those four main men’s sports. They only send their major beat writers to cover those events and send their columnists to write an opinion on those games. It’s like a well oiled machine for those four main major men’s sports, not only in the US and Canada, but world wide as well.

So, what does this have to with the WNBA/women’s college basketball coverage? Well, it’s pretty obvious. If all of the TV broadcasts and media focus on just those sports, there leaves absolutely little coverage for the women’s basketball world. No major sports personality is asking questions on TV on why the WNBA does not have their official draft details out yet, even though the draft is in less than three weeks! No major columnist is talking about how the WNBA Training camp will go and which players are in good shape, etc. Because of this, the WNBA/WBB world does not have any added pressure to release their details. Nor, will they have to because no major sports person will be there to release it to the public.

This may sound like I’m being pessimistic about the coverage that there is out there, considering there are some pretty good ESPN podcasts and one good ESPN writer who covers both the WNBA/WBB which is great. There are also some very good independent websites and great podcasts out there online too. I’m not complaining about that coverage, I’m complaining about the fact the WNBA/WBB world will never have as strong as a fan base simply because the TV/media coverage is non existent compared to major sports out there.

For example, if I take my friend right now to a WNBA game between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center, and the Mystics take care of the Sun easily and win in impressive fashion, my friend is impressed. Now, they want to know how they can keep track of the Mystics. I’ll tell them all my favorite Twitter handles, my favorite independent WNBA websites and some great podcasts. They say thanks, and check them out. Now, they are hooked onto the Mystics. They can’t get enough. But, now they want more. That coverage alone isn’t enough. They want to hear the Mystics on the radio. They want their favorite major sports personality to discuss the Mystics on TV. But, sadly, they won’t get it. They won’t get it on ESPN either. My friend is now upset. They’ll still check on the Mystics once in a while to see how they are doing, and tries to attend the games, but the fan level is diminished. They are now longer obsessed. And that is one way the WNBA loses their fans.

It’s a vicious cycle. This just doesn’t apply to fans either. It applies to great talented writers and bloggers who once wrote about the WNBA and women’s college basketball, but had to drop the coverage altogether because they couldn’t make a living out of it unlike their fellow writers and columnists who cover those major men’s sports. This is such a shame because the WNBA/women’s basketball world loses those talented writers who wanted to cover the WNBA athletes and stories but couldn’t due to a lack of interest (from those major media/TV companies)

The WNBA/women’s basketball executives need to stand up and demand respect for their league and better coverage. They need to figure out how to get more than just NINE games on ESPN. They need better communication from league executives down to their fans. If ESPN can not provide the coverage they need, they need to add another TV partner. Or, get creative and figure out a new way to integrate new content. They need to push the media, both TV and newspapers to give them better access. They deserve that much. It’s time. If the league continues this way, there won’t be a league at all.

I won’t lie. There are tough days to cover the WNBA/women’s basketball world. No, this is not my day job. It’s hard getting simple releases, difficult getting easy answers, etc. But, I continue writing/tweeting about the sport simply because it deserves the coverage. I’m here to continue it while I still can. I will write for those great athletes that need their stories to be told on other women’s basketball websites. My voice will still be here. But it’s a damn shame, that we have lost so many great fans/writers due to this vicious cycle.

WNBA Free Agency 2017 – List of all the WNBA Free Agents

WNBA Free Agency is just around the corner and with that, it’s time to release the confirmed list of all the free agents for this year. Thanks to some good people and a little research, the list of free agents is listed below.  Enjoy!

UPDATE: I’ve added some names and details to some of the free agents. If I’m still missing names, let me know! Also, cored players are added as well.

CORE PLAYERS

Angel McCoughtry – Atlanta Dream

Dewanna Bonner – Phoenix Mercury

Camille Little – Connecticut

Tanisha Wright – New York

Crystal Langhorne – Seattle Storm

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Layshia Clarendon – Atlanta

Elena Delle Donne – Chicago

Alex Bentley – Connecticut

Kelly Faris – Connecticut

Sugar Rodgers – New York

Brittney Griner – Phoenix Mercury

Skylar Diggins – Dallas Wings (signed an extension till 2019)

Emma Messeman – Washington Mystics (signed an extension until 2019)

Kelsey Bone – Phoenix Mercury

Kayla Alexander – San Antonio Stars

Sydney Colson – San Antonio Stars

Vicki Baugh – San Antonio Stars

Tayler Hill – Washington Mystics

Tierra Ruffin Pratt – Washington Mystics

Tianna Hawkins – Washington Mystics

RESERVED PLAYERS

Meighan Simmons – Atlanta

Clarissa Dos Santos – Chicago

Tiffany Bias – Dallas

Erica Wheeler – Indiana

Ana Dabovic – Los Angeles

Jelena Dubliljev – Los Angeles

Katerina Elhotova – Minnesota

Temi Fagbenle – Minnesota

Keisha Hampton – Minnesota

Rachael Jarry – Minnesota

Anna Cruz – Minnesota

Rebecca Allen – New York

Olcay Cakir – New York

Sonja Petrovic – Phoenix

Marta Xargay – Phoenix

Haley Peters – San Antonio

Abby Bishop – Seattle

Jamie Weisner – Washington

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Erika DeSouza – Chicago

Jasmine Thomas – Connecticut

Plenette Pierson – Dallas

Erlana Larkins – Indiana

Jeanette Pohlen – Indiana

Alana Beard – Los Angeles

Kristi Toliver – Los Angeles

Essence Carson – Los Angeles

Ann Wauters – Los Angeles

Sandrine Gruda – Los Angeles

Janel McCarville – Minnesota

Epiphanny Prince – New York – signed a multi year extension in September 2016

Mistie Bass – Phoenix

Krystal Thomas – Seattle

Monica Wright – Seattle

Leilani Mitchell – Washington

Asia Taylor – Connecticut

San Antonio Stars at the Halfway Point (In Depth Review)

*Note – The Stars have played 19 games (more than half of their games) and with the Stars off until Wednesday after a busy week in which they played every other day, it was time to update on how the Stars are performing at the halfway point.

With the San Antonio Stars having played more than half of their games in the 34 game season, it is time to do a review on their first half of their season. It’s also time to take a look at how Stars players have played in the first half as well. The Stars are currently in 3rd place in the Western Conference with a record of 10-9. They are 3-5 at home and 7-4 on the road.  Taking a look back at the season preview, I expected the Stars to have a better season than last year simply because of the return of WNBA All Stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young-Malcolm. What I didn’t expect was to see how well the Stars have played so far. Even though their record is one game above .500, they’ve been playing well in most of their games.

In an interesting twist, only Danielle Robinson has increased her scoring average from last season or from previous seasons (Hammon & Young-Malcolm). So, despite the better record, it isn’t reflected of players individual stats. The Stars are truly playing team ball and this proves it.

TEAM PLAY

If you take a look at the WNBA Standings, you will find something very unique this season. The Stars are one of FOUR teams to have a winning record (Atlanta Dream, Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx are the others) and the Stars have gone 1-7 against them. They were swept by the Atlanta Dream, split with the Phoenix Mercury so far and have lost three games against Minnesota. On the contrary, the two games against Atlanta were very close and could have went easily the other way. This shows the Stars are not elite or championship level. It does show that they are a playoff team as they are 9-3 against the rest of the teams. The Stars home and road splits are also interesting. It’s very rare to see teams to do so poorly at home but at the same time play well on the road. Taking a closer look at the home record (3-5) they’ve only played one close game (a two point loss to Atlanta) and they’ve lost by more than 7 points in all of their other home losses. Their biggest home loss was in 2 OT to the Phoenix Mercury. In their three wins at home, they’ve won 2 close games against the Tulsa Shock and in a blowout win against the Los Angeles Sparks. In all 5 of their losses at home this season, they’ve struggled and had to figure out ways to come back but in wasted effort. In three wins, the Stars have had the edge and have figured out how to win. The road record (7-4) shows that in the four losses, the Stars were in only one close game (a road loss to Atlanta) while the other three losses were won by more than 7 points. Their biggest road loss was to the Los Angeles Sparks. In their seven wins, they’ve been able to find ways to win close games (5 of their road wins were decided by 5 points or less). Their biggest road win was against the New York Liberty. It shows that the Stars are able to execute and be successful in winning on the road. It also shows that for whatever reason, the same formula hasn’t worked for the Stars at home so far. Considering the fact that the Stars only have six more road games as compared to nine home games, they have to figure out how to win ugly at home as well.

PLAYER ANALYSIS (QUICK THOUGHTS)

Becky Hammon – Becky Hammon is not the same Becky Hammon many Stars fans remember. She has had some vintage Becky nights in where she has led the team in scoring and assists, but for the most part she’s turned into the Stars second PG behind Danielle Robinson. She’s also had some nights in which she was held scoreless which would never happen in previous seasons as a Star. She does lead the team in 3 point shooting and is shooting at a unreal 52%.

Sophia Young – Malcolm – Like Becky Hammon, Sophia Young-Malcolm is not the same All Star Sophia Young. Instead, she’s a shadow of her former self. She’s not all the way there yet but unlike Becky, Sophia is young and she should be able to regain her All Star form next season. However, ever since she’s been moved to the bench in favour of Danielle Adams, she’s been playing better and has improved the team’s bench play.

Kayla McBride – Kayla McBride, the #3 pick in April’s draft is currently third in scoring on the team with 11.2 points per game. She’s had games in which she has shined and has even been able to hit two game winners against Tulsa and Indiana. For a rookie, she has had her rookie moments, has turned the ball over in crucial moments such as the season opener against Atlanta, but for the most part, she’s been one of the Stars consistent players of the first half. She’s a good learner and her potential is super star worthy. Not a WNBA star, but a superstar.

Jayne Appel – Her numbers are down from last season but she has been the Stars only interior defender. She’s had double doubles but she’s also had games in which she had trouble scoring the ball. After a great season last year statistically, she was one of the players I expected would make an even better jump. However, that still hasn’t happened and even though she has played in the WNBA for 5 seasons, she still has moments where she lacks confidence.

Danielle Robinson – Danielle Robinson is the only Star to be All Star worthy this season. Her scoring numbers have increased and she is the Stars go to leader when the Stars are in need of some quick scoring. Her ability to get to the basket is the best in the WNBA and other point guards have trouble guarding her. She has had games in which she’s struggled but they have been few and this is the season where she has officially replaced Becky Hammon as the lead PG.

Jia Perkins – Jia Perkins has been always steady for the Stars off the bench as an offensive and defensive weapon. When the Stars are in need of scoring, she is usually able to deliver. This season, it’s become more prominent as Jia Perkins has put herself out there for consideration as the sixth woman of the year. Jia Perkins remains a good defender and when she and Danielle Robinson are put out there together defensively, they are very good. Unfortunately, Jia Perkins recently was sidelined for a knee injury and hasn’t played in 4 games.

Danielle Adams – Danielle Adams has always been a scorer and that hasn’t changed for her. She still can score, however she still struggles to rebound and is ok defensively. She hasn’t made any major changes to her game and like Jayne Appel, her numbers are down as well.

Shenise Johnson – Shenise Johnson averaged double figures last season and this season, she’s been mostly in and out of the lineup with injury issues. Her numbers have also taken a hit and her play is erratic. She will have very few good games, and other games in which she struggles. It’s hard to make out of what kind of player Shenise Johnson is at this point in her career. She is like Adams ok defensively.

Shameka Christon – Shameka Christon’s value as a player has decreased every year as a Star. She is currently averaging a career low in points and is just relegated to the Stars three point shooter. She can still shoot and when she gets playing time, she is still a good reliable defender.  When she plays well, the Stars benefit and are able to win.

Kayla Alexander – Kayla Alexander has gotten better this season, but is prone to foul trouble. With her limited playing time, she’s gotten better at scoring inside and is shooting 80%+ from the FT line.

Heather Butler – It’s hard to get a read on Heather Butler when she hardly plays, but from a size standpoint, she has trouble shooting over other players. She however, does handle the ball fine in her very limited playing time.

Davellyn Whyte – Davellyn Whyte has barely played this season and will sit out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

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That wraps up my thoughts on the Stars season at the half way point. Remember to follow me on Twitter @sastarsblogger as I tweet thoughts on the games going on for the rest of the season.

– Aneela Syed

San Antonio Stars Preview of the 2014 WNBA Season

The San Antonio Silver Stars are heading into their 2014 season with better hopes of making the playoffs now that both stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young-Malcolm are both healthy. They also received a future WNBA star Kayla McBride in the WNBA Draft. Things are looking up for the season unlike last season in which Sophia Young-Malcolm went down with an ACL injury. Then Becky Hammon went down with an ACL injury. It was not a pretty season at all for the Silver Stars who saw season lows in scoring at multiple points (48 points several times), some blowouts and saw another player Riquana Willams of the Tulsa Shock score 50 points on them. In the end, no matter how gritty the played some games, it was not enough to secure a playoff spot. They finished the season with a 15-19 record. One of the bright spots of the Stars 2013 season was Jayne Appel. She was able to increase both her points per game as well as rebounds per game. She played well enough that she signed a new multi year contract with the Stars.

The San Antonio Stars will have expectations of making the playoffs but all of this hinges on three key areas in which they struggled with last season. Their ability to score, their ability to defend and their ability to rebound. They will have no problem with scoring this season with their top players back. They will need to defend and they will need all of their players to do just that if they want to win games against good Western Conference teams. Rebounding has been a sore area for this team for a while and they will need more from other players excluding Jayne Appel who was one of the league’s top rebounders last season.

While Becky Hammon is healthy, she is at a point in her career where she is looking towards retirement and so the impact of Kayla McBride will be sorely needed. Kayla McBride will most surely struggle as all rookies do but she is an important piece to the Stars future and more will be expected from her next season onwards. Last season, Sophia Young-Malcolm made comments that were hurtful to 50% of the league’s fan base and it will be interesting to see how she is treated from other opposing fans as well as Star fans. On the court, Sophia Young-Malcolm will need to have an MVP type season in order to keep the Stars moving towards the playoffs otherwise they will be headed into the lottery. Danielle Robinson and Danielle Adams will need to continue their development as they enter their 4th seasons in the league. Both players are important and both players are capable of being WNBA All Stars. If both do not play well, it will not bode well this season for the San Antonio Stars. The veterans, Jia Perkins and Shameka Christon must contribute off the bench as there will be times where they will be sorely needed. Shameka Christon has been struggling for a while now, so if she is not able to contribute, I think it’s safe to say she will not back in 2015. Shenise Johnson will be entering her 3rd year and she like Danielle Robinson and Danielle Adams, will have more expected of her. Her play will also determine whether or not the Stars make the playoffs.

The San Antonio Stars have a good lineup of stars, veterans and young players. If they can all stay healthy, play well together and win close games, they will make the playoffs. Star fans should be excited as this season closely resembles 2012, when the Stars played well in the regular season, even though they lost in the first round of the playoffs. If the cards play out right, this can be a fun season for the San Antonio Stars. The Stars start their season on May 16th when they take on the Atlanta Dream.

Thoughts on the 2014 WNBA season & what to expect from the blog

Hey there!

It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated the blog. I was supposed to do an update last Monday, but got really busy with life. If you didn’t know, I got married in December, so I’ve been pretty busy adjusting to my new life and enjoying being a newlywed. While I was away, I noticed that the San Antonio Silver Stars changed their name to the San Antonio Stars (Personally, I don’t know why, I preferred the Silver Stars) and that the WNBA finally agreed to a new CBA. I also know that this is a big year for the Silver Stars as they are getting ready for a brand new season and a new lottery pick who could be a new star for the franchise considering the fact that Becky Hammon may be gearing up for her final seasons. It will be a fun summer and I am excited that I might have the opportunity to travel to New York this year to watch the San Antonio Stars LIVE this year! I can’t wait and hopefully it can come true so I’m looking forward to that! I’m also glad that the Sparks were able to stay in LA because for a while it looked pretty grim. Things are looking great for the 2014 WNBA season! Tune in!

As for me and my blog, there will be less posts from me. As you can already tell, I’ve stopped doing overseas updates as I can see that the San Antonio Stars are keeping up to date over there. You can check it out on their official website. I will also stop doing pre and post game blog posts and it will only be a weekly update from me. I will still be active on Twitter for live games and I will still keep track of player’s special milestones and news around the league, but there won’t be extensive blog posts from me from now on. I’ve come to the realization that even though I love the WNBA, the awesome players and the San Antonio Stars organization, I can’t keep writing for free anymore. It’s exhausting and I just won’t have the time anymore. It’s been fun last year and now that I’m married, I have other priorities to take care of. If you have read this blog before, I appreciate it and I always respond to great feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and here’s to a great 2014 WNBA season!

Happy trails! Xx

Aneela