Monday, May 10, 2010

WNBA on the way!

The WNBA season starts this Saturday, May 15 with a national broadcast of the Phoenix LifeLocks against the Los Angeles Farmers.  (I make fun, but if these sponsorships keep the WNBA going, I'm all for it!)

There are presently four Stanfordians in the WNBA and each is in a position to make a run at the WNBA title this year.

Can it be that Nicole Powell is the most senior Stanford player in the WNBA?  As sad as it was that the Monarchs folded after last season, it is very exciting that Nicole has landed with the Libs.  As you can see above, she is front and center in their marketing plans and the team is much improved this year.  By making a blockbuster trade for All-Star Cappie Pondexter, the Liberty solidified the point guard position that has been up in the air since the trade of Becky Hammon.  Janel McCarville is improving every year and should share the post with veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin.  Add that Anne Donavan will be on the bench (albeit for just this year before she departs to coach Seton Hall) and the Liberty will be a compelling team to watch.

Candice Wiggins is entering her third year in the WNBA.  Unfortunately, she had arthroscopic surgery for a small meniscal tear in her right knee on April 28, that will keep her sidelined for up to four weeks.  Hopefully, she will be back in action during the first week of play.  The Lynx pulled off a blockbuster of their own in acquiring favorite daughter Lindsay Whalen from the Connecticut Sun in the trade that allowed the Sun to draft Tina Charles with the first pick this year.  While the excitement is high, there are lingering questions about the status of Seimone Augustus, who suffered an ACL injury last year and recently underwent surgery for fibroids.  If Seimone comes back strong, this could be an amazing team.  They added Monarch Rebekkah Brunson to an already good post rotation that includes Nicky Anosike and drafted Monica Wright from Virginia.  New coach Cheryl Reeves, a long time Shock assistant, will have plenty of options as the Lynx run for their first ever playoff berth--and should not be stopping there.

As this is written, Brooke is still on the Phoenix Mercury roster.  She looks to have a good chance to stick with only one other true center, Tangela Smith, on the roster.  Defending Champion Phoenix should be interesting this year, having traded away the aforementioned Pondexter.  But that move cleared money to resign Aussie Penny Taylor, who was key to their run last year.  In addition, it netted All-Star Candice Dupree and will allow Temeka Johnson to take over the point.  Oh, and don't forget that one player that they have that will light it up almost every night--Diana Taurasi.

Our Jayne is now in San Antonio--how odd is that?  But this could be a great fit for her, even if she has to wear number 32 in deference to Michelle Snow.  Last year's starting center, Ann Wauters, has decided not to play in the WNBA this year so the starting job will fall to Ruth Riley.  When Jayne is healthy (and all indications are that should be soon), she should be in a heavy rotation at the post.  The SASS are intriguing, with Becky Hammon, Sophia Young and loads of young talent.  It will also be Sandy Brondello's first year as a head coach as she takes over from now-GM only Dan Hughes. 

The demise of the 'Narchs has left us no easy drives to games, which is so unfortunate, considering the fervor the Bay Area has for women's basketball.  Of course, there are always road trips to be taken!  But there is a bunch of TV action listed here.  I see that they are not listing games that will be on NBA-TV, but many of the games that are listed for local TV often show up there.   The WNBA also offers free webcasts on their website here.  Tune in--maybe we'll have a WNBA Final Four with our four favorites!

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