BC-BKL--WNBA Preview Capsules
NEW YORK (AP) — A team-by-team look at the WNBA. Teams are listed in predicted order of finish.
LAS VEGAS ACES
2018: 14-20, 9th place; missed playoffs
COACH: Bill Laimbeer, 2nd season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 2nd.
OUTLOOK: Las Vegas added Liz Cambage which turned the Aces into an instant title contender as they now boast one of the best frontcourts in the league. The Aces also drafted Jackie Young with the No. 1 pick giving them more talent. The only real question might be how quickly Laimbeer can get the team to play together with the new pieces.
2018: 22-12, 3rd place; lost to Seattle in WNBA Finals.
COACH: Mike Thibault, 6th season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 1st.
OUTLOOK: The Mystics reached the finals but just didn’t have enough to overcome Seattle when Elena Delle Donne got hurt. Washington will try to win the franchise’s first championship. Most of last year’s team is back and the Mystics will have Emma Meesseman back for most of the season. She sat out last year while helping Belgium prepare for the FIBA World Cup.
2018: 23-11, 2nd place; lost in semifinals to Washington.
COACH: Nicki Collen, 2nd season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 6th.
OUTLOOK: Atlanta has a talented backcourt led by Tiffany Hayes and Renee Montgomery and solid frontcourt play as well with Elizabeth Williams and Jessica Breland. The Dream weren’t far off from reaching the finals. Angel McCoughtry’s return from the ACL injury she suffered in August could bolster the team to make a late season run.
LOS ANGELES SPARKS
2018: 19-15, 7th place; lost in second round to Washington.
COACH: Derek Fisher, 1st season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 3rd.
OUTLOOK: Los Angeles added Chiney Ogwumike to an already talented frontcourt, teaming her with sister Nneka. The pair out of Stanford will need to carry the load on offense for a few weeks while Candace Parker recovers from a hamstring injury. They’ll definitely have help from All-Star guard Chelsea Gray. New coach Derek Fisher will try and get the Sparks going after spending years in the NBA.
2018: 21-13, 4th place; lost to Phoenix in second round.
COACH: Curt Miller, 4th season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 5th.
OUTLOOK: The Sun have nearly everyone back from last year’s team except for Ogwumike. The team went 21-13 without her in 2017 and had the same record last season. The Sun players feel this might be their best opportunity to get out of the second round of the playoffs and make a run to the title led by Jasmine and Alyssa Thomas. With Ogwumike leaving, it opens up more minutes for All-Star Jonquel Jones.
2018: 20-14, 5th place; lost to Seattle in semifinals.
COACH: Sandy Brondello, 6th season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 4th.
OUTLOOK: Phoenix will have to do without Diana Taurasi for at least the first month of the season because of a back injury. There is still plenty of talent on the roster led by 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner. She has help from DeWanna Bonner and rookie Alanna Smith, who excelled at Stanford.
2018: 18-16, 7th place; lost to Los Angeles in the first round.
POWER POLL RANKING: 9th.
COACH: Cheryl Reeve, 10th season.
OUTLOOK: Lindsay Whalen’s retired from the WNBA and coaching at her alma mater Minnesota. Maya Moore is taking the year off. Yet Reeve didn’t sit idle in the offseason, acquiring guard Odyssey Sims as well as drafting Napheesa Collier. Add those two to veterans Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus and the Lynx should be in the playoff hunt again this season.
2018: 26-8, 1st place; won WNBA title.
COACH: Dan Hughes, 2nd season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 7th.
OUTLOOK: It’s been a rough offseason for the Storm, who lost Breanna Stewart to an Achilles injury and Sue Bird to a knee injury. The team also will be without head coach Dan Hughes indefinitely as he battles cancer. The Storm might find themselves back in the lottery unless Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard get some help from second-year guard Jordin Canada.
2018: 13-21, 10th place; missed playoffs.
COACH: James Wade, 1st season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 9th.
OUTLOOK: There’s no doubt the Sky can put a lot of points on the board, but the question is can new coach James Wade help them on the defensive end. Chicago added first-round pick Katie Lou Samuelson to a talented core led by guards Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. Chicago also has a talented pair of second-year players in Gabby Williams and Diamond DeShields. This might be one of the most exciting teams to watch this season.
2018: 15-19, 8th place; lost to Phoenix in first round.
COACH: Brian Agler, 1st season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 10th.
OUTLOOK: The future looks bright for Dallas even if the present might be a struggle early on. The Wings traded Cambage to Las Vegas for Moriah Jefferson and Isabelle Harrison. Jefferson is working her way back from an injury and it’s unclear if she’ll play this season. Harrison will help bolster the frontcourt in the absence of Cambage. The Wings will also have to play without All-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith who is working her way back into shape after giving birth to a baby boy this spring. The Wings did bolster their team in the draft, taking Notre Dame star Arike Ogunbowale.
NEW YORK LIBERTY
2018: 7-27, 11th place; missed playoffs.
COACH: Katie Smith, 2nd Season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 11th.
OUTLOOK: New ownership has given optimism to the Liberty players and their fans. The team will try and produce on the court this season after suffering through one of the worst years in franchise history. The draft was helpful with New York taking Asia Durr with the No. 2 pick and getting a potential steal in the second round with 6-foot-9 Chinese center Han Xu
2018: 6-28, 12th place; missed playoffs.
COACH: Pokey Chatman, 3rd season.
POWER POLL RANKING: 12th.
OUTLOOK: The Fever suffered a blow when Victoria Vivians got hurt overseas this winter, sidelining the second-year player for the season. Indiana did add her college teammate Teaira McCowan in the draft and are building a solid young group to complement veteran Candice Dupree.