We are now three weeks into the season and beginning to see teams find their rhythm and footing as we settle in. Similar to the previous two weeks, we have four great games to fill up our Friday night slates, and they should be exciting ones as we head into this Memorial Day Weekend. So let’s get the holiday started with some hoops, shall we?
As we mentioned last week, the Washington Mystics are struggling a bit in the injury department as they are still without Elena Delle Donne who is recovering from an off-season back surgery. While they are still off to a decent start (2-3), they are obviously eager for the return of the 2019 MVP as Elena Delle Donne is well…Elena Delle Donne. In the meantime, the Mystics were able to notch a win against the Indiana Fever on Tuesday after previously losing to them on May 23rd. Tina Charles was exceptional in that game as she has been all season thus far, and the win was a total team effort with contributions from Myisha Hines-Allen and Aerial Atkins, to name a few.
The Mystics will have their hands full with the Sun, who seem to be firing on all cylinders to start the season. While Phoenix was handed their first loss of the year on Tuesday courtesy of the Seattle Storm, the game was still an overtime battle that could have gone either way. If Phoenix continues their current level of play (hey there, Jonquel Jones), they stand a great chance at being able to get a win in front of their home crowd.
The Sparks have played less games this season (two) compared to a team like the Suns who have already played six, but so far both of those games have been losses. The Sparks are still trying to get into a groove, and the season-ending injury to Jasmine Walker is definitely unfortunate for the youngster who was just drafted. When it comes to Los Angeles, the talent is more than there, and I’m sure we will see that in the coming weeks. The Sparks look completely different than they did just a year ago, and anytime there are major shake-ups within a team, there is going to be an adjustment period. L.A. will look to get on the board in the W column tonight.
Now as far as Chicago, the team started off the season winning their first two games, but are looking to bounce back after losses to the New York Liberty (to be fair New York is beating just about everybody right now), and the Atlanta Dream this past Tuesday. We’ve talked a lot about Betnijah Laney coming back better than ever this year, but we can’t ignore Kahleah Copper either. Copper has been tremendous to start the season, and her evolution has been a beautiful thing to watch thus far. On a different note, the Sky are still without Candace Parker who is currently out with an ankle injury, and at the moment there is no set timetable on her return.
The Lynx are another team that I feel just needs some time to gel/adjust to the season and get on a good pace. Losing Aerial Powers to an injury is a tough blow after just joining the team, but the Lynx will be getting additional veteran leadership and production from Layshia Clarendon in the meantime. Minnesota will also welcome back Naphessa Collier who has missed the first three games of the year while finishing up an overseas stint in France, and boy will it be good to see her in action with the Lynx. Collier makes her season debut tonight, so make sure to catch it.
Now onto the defending champs. As usual the Storm are performing well, and so far Breanna Stewart aka Stewie is leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. Sue Bird is continuing to do what legends do, and Jewel Loyd dominated in almost every capacity in the Storm’s win against Connecticut on Sunday. Seattle has a lot of momentum heading into tonight’s game, so it will be tough to beat them (especially on their home turf). This should be fun to watch for sure.
Last but not least we have Indiana vs Las Vegas for the final game of the evening (though it will technically be going at the same time as Lynx/Storm.) Indiana is currently 1-5, but I think they showed signs of their true capabilities in their win against the Mystics on Sunday. Now granted, the Mystics came back and beat them two days later, but Sunday’s game showed what the Fever can do when they are on. If we see a solid offense effort similar to that particular matchup, and strong defense, then the Fever can hold their own against the Aces.
Meanwhile in Vegas, the Aces took down the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday night in an 85-79 showing, and will look to build upon that win in their first of back to back matchups against the Fever. Expect strong performances from A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage, and Chelsea Gray as usual, and if the Aces repeat what we saw against the Mercury, then they could very well come out of their homestand 2-0.
Be sure to check out the games tonight, and get your league passes if you haven’t already!