WNBA opening night teams’ ups and downs


The WNBA’s twenty fifth Anniversary season formally tipped off Friday with 4 video games on the slate. WNBA Opening Evening included the extremely anticipated return of the 2020 No. 1 total choose, the debut of the 2021 high draft choose and the start of a brand new period for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Every crew had their ups and downs of their season debuts as they start to construct chemistry in hopes of being one of many eight groups to make the playoffs making a run on the WNBA Finals.

Listed here are the ups and downs for every crew in all of the WNBA Opening Evening video games.

New York Liberty 90, Indiana Fever 87

New York Liberty

Up: Sabrina Ionescu; Betnijah Laney

In her first recreation since struggling an ankle harm in her rookie season that pressured her to overlook 19 of her crew’s 22 video games, Sabrina Ionescu started her sophomore marketing campaign with a bang. She posted a double-double with 25 factors and 11 assists including six rebounds together with the three-pointer that gave the lead with 0.4 seconds remaining within the recreation, which led to their eventual 90-87 win.

In the meantime, veteran ahead Betnijah Laney had performed unimaginable in her New York Liberty debut scoring a game-high 30 factors on 61% capturing including 5 rebounds. This included scoring 11 factors within the opening quarter that additionally noticed her make three of her 4 three-point pictures within the recreation.

Down: Bench

Whereas the Indiana Fever’s bench didn’t play significantly better, the outperformed New York Liberty’s bench by a mile. The Liberty’s bench was nearly non existent within the recreation combining to contribute extra turnovers (seven) and fouls (eight) than they did factors (5) within the recreation.

Indiana Fever

Up: Dynamic frontcourt

Third-year middle Teaira McCowan and former All-Star Jantel Lavender kicked off their season with a bang filling up the stat sheet for his or her crew. McCowan completed with 22 factors, 16 rebounds (seven offensive rebounds) and two blocks whereas Lavender recorded 9 factors, 10 boards (eight offensive rebounds) and three assists.

Down: Three-point capturing/closing minute

One of many Indiana Fever’s weaknesses of their recreation in opposition to the Liberty was their three-point capturing, which noticed them miss 15 of 18 makes an attempt. Nonetheless, their execution within the closing minute of the sport was arguably worse. Main 86-82 with 47 seconds remaining within the recreation, the Liberty went on a 8-1 run to win the sport. The run included two Ionescu treys and free throws.

Connecticut Solar 78, Atlanta Dream 67

Connecticut Solar

Up: Jonquel Jones; DeWanna Bonner

The 2 forwards for the Connecticut, Jonquel Jones and DeWanna Bonner helped lead their crew to victory with spectacular performances of their season debut. The previous completed with 26 factors, eight rebounds (4 offensive rebounds) and three assists, whereas the latter recorded 21 factors, seven rebounds, 5 assists and three blocks.

Down: Free-throw capturing/turnovers

Not a lot went mistaken for the Connecticut Solar of their season opener in opposition to the Atlanta Dream main wire to wire securing a 78-67 victory. There was some issues for them to ponder over in movie periods together with their free-throw capturing and their incapacity to care for the ball. Within the recreation, they shot 14-of-22 from the free-throw line within the recreation and recorded 20 turnovers to the Dream’s 13.

Atlanta Dream

Up: Defensive effort amid adversity

The Atlanta Dream had a disastrous season debut, discovering themselves trailing by as many as 20 factors of their season debut. Nonetheless, their effort on the defensive finish deserved a lot reward. They recorded 14 steals and 7 blocks as a crew. This included Monique Billings coming off the bench ending with 4 blocks and three steals.

Down: Inefficient capturing

As beforehand talked about, it was an off night time for the Atlanta Dream of their season debut, and that may very well be bogged right down to their struggles capturing from the sector. They shot 36% from the sector and 16% from three-point vary with their bench capturing a dismal 1-of-12 and missed all 5 pictures from deep.

Phoenix Mercury 77, Minnesota Lynx 75

Phoenix Mercury

Up: Starters
displaying out

Every of the Phoenix Mercury starters scored in double figures contributing 72 of their crew’s 77 factors. Skylar Diggins-Smith led the crew with 18 factors adopted by Brittney Griner with 17 factors, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Diana Taurasi had an off capturing night time however nonetheless contributed 14 factors, eight rebounds, 5 assists and three blocks. Brianna Turner posted a double-double with 13 factors and 10 rebounds, whereas Kia Nurse rounded it off with 10 factors.

Down: Three-point capturing

Just like the Indiana Fever, the Phoenix Mercury struggled capturing from three-point vary capturing 4-of-20 from past the arc. Nonetheless, in contrast to the Fever, the Mercury have been capable of convert from three-point vary within the closing seconds of the sport to safe the win however below controversial circumstances. Whereas bringing the ball down courtroom after forcing a turnover within the closing 10 seconds of the sport down by one level, the clock stopped working with play persevering with, resulting in Taurasi hitting what would develop into the game-winning three for her crew.

Minnesota Lynx

Up: Third-quarter run

On the finish of the primary half, the Minnesota Lynx discovered themselves down 33-24 with the Mercury holding seemingly all of the momentum. The Lynx went on a 17-6 run to take a 41-39 lead their first lead since they led 6-5 with 5:46 to go within the first quarter.

Down: Fourth-quarter turnovers

Though the Lynx would go into the fourth quarter trailing by three, they continued to seek out methods to maintain themselves within the recreation. Finally, it was their incapacity to care for the ball within the closing quarter that led to their loss. They dedicated 4 fourth-quarter turnovers together with a turnover within the closing seconds that led to Taurasi’s game-winning three.

Dallas Wings 94, Los Angeles Sparks 71

Dallas Wings

Up: Cleansing the glass

The Dallas Wings secured probably the most dominant victory of opening night time, beating the Los Angeles Sparks of their first recreation of the post-Candace Parker period. Their greatest success was on the boards outrebounding the Sparks 45-25. The Wings’ high 4 rebounders outdid the Sparks total crew compiling 39 of their crew’s 45 rebounds.

Down: Abundance of giveaways

Though dominant, the Wings weren’t excellent as turnovers have been a wrestle for them within the recreation. They turned the ball over 26 instances to the Sparks 15 together with eight gamers recording a number of turnovers.

Los Angeles Sparks

Up: The Ogwumike Sisters

Of their first season taking part in with out Candace Parker since they drafted her in 2008, there shall be a heavy reliance on the play of 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike and her former All-Star sister Chiney Ogwumike. They did the very best they might for his or her crew with the previous posting 18 factors and eight rebounds, whereas the latter put up 12 factors and 6 rebounds.

Down: Bench capturing

Exterior of Nia Coffey who shot 4-of-8 from the ground in scoring 10 factors, it was a wrestle for the Los Angeles Sparks bench. They mixed to shoot miss 21 of 24 field-goal makes an attempt, netting solely 10 further factors outdoors of Coffey’s contributions. Te’a Cooper had a nightmare recreation, bricking 9 of 10 pictures for simply 4 factors, whereas Jasmine Walker didn’t document a bucket.


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