WNBA: Sky-Sparks, Mercury-Aces highlight four-game opening night

So it starts.

The 2022 WNBA season begins on Friday night with 4 appealing video games: Washington Mystics vs. Indiana Fever at 7 p.m. ET on Facebook; Chicago Sky vs. Los Angeles Sparks at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TELEVISION; Phoenix Mercury vs. Las Vegas Aces at 10 p.m. ET on NBA TELEVISION and Seattle Storm vs. Minnesota Lynx at 10 p.m. ET on WNBA League Pass.

All 8 groups go into the season with a variety of brand-new faces, both on the court and on the sidelines. These opening video games must offer some fascinating tips regarding how these retooled groups with fare throughout the 2022 season.

The season formally will start when the Mystics and Fever pointer off in DC. Hopefully, it will mark the start of a healthy season for Elena Delle Donne, who handled to play just 3 video games last season after 2 back surgical treatments in the 2020-21 offseason. Unfortunately, it appears like Alysha Clark, who missed out on the whole 2021 season due to a foot injury, will not yet make her long-awaited launching for the Mystics. Nevertheless, the 2022 Mystics must look like the pre-2020 models of the Thibault age groups, with a high-octane offense and solid-enough defense. Once she shows up from her abroad commitments, brand-new addition Elizabeth Williams will assist strengthen the DC defense. On the other end of the flooring, it will be fascinating to see if Rui Machida, signing up with the WNBA after an excellent efficiency at last summer season’s Olympics for Japan, can release a few of her offending wizardry as an off-the-bench trigger.

After a forgettable 2021 season, there are factors to be delighted about the 2022 Indiana Fever, even if appears not likely that their record will significantly enhance. The Fever are going through a required refresh, as the return of 74-year-old Lin Dunn and her southern twang to the front workplace has actually led to an Indy lineup reoriented around a more collective youth motion. Rookies NaLyssa Smith, Lexie Hull, Queen Egbo and Destanni Henderson, who integrate to provide protective strength and top-level shooting, can become a more reasonable supporting cast around the similarity Kelsey Mitchell and Victoria Vivians. Although it may spend some time for the Fever to coalesce, it will be motivating if they are competitive with the Mystics on opening night.

Next up, the protecting champs will get their 2021 rings versus Candace Parker’s previous group, a tasty little scheduling shenanigans from the WNBA. It likewise will be the very first time that Parker has actually taken the court versus the Sparks. Despite recording the title, the Sky chose not to just run it back, rather importing 2019 Finals MVP Emma Meesseman. The mix of the orchestration of Courtney Vandersloot, the ever-present defense-to-offense danger of Parker and the systematic shot making of Meeseman must strike worry into challengers, consisting of a Sparks group including a variety of brand-new faces.

The trio of Liz Cambage, Chennedy Carter and Jordin Canada will make their purple-and-gold launchings in the Windy City. How Derek Fisher blends and matches his rotation, and handles the characters included, will be inspected, even with Kristi Toliver and Katie Lou Samuelson not yet with the group. However, more than these brand-new names, the secret to the Sparks’ success lies with Nneka Ogwumike. After a set of injury-plagued seasons, Ogwumike discovering health and finding her MVP kind would make the lots of complex choices dealing with Fisher much easier to respond to.

When the Aces and Mercury fulfill, the sidelines will motivate as much interest as the court, as both Becky Hammon and Vanessa Nygaard will be making their WNBA head training debuts. Hammon, definitely, has actually gotten much attention for her brand-new function, starting with her huge agreement and continuing to her revealed objective to have the Aces fire far from 3.

However, for as much as Hammon is anticipated to charge Vegas, the prospective distinction Nygaard produces Phoenix need not be ignored, as previous head coach Sandy Brondello had actually been with the Mercury because 2014. All the more, the lack of Brittney Griner and the arrival of Tina Charles considerably modifications things in Phoenix. Last season, Charles was practically an offense unto herself for the Mystics. How will Nygaard combine her abilities with those of Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi? It likewise deserves keeping in mind that Nygaard worked as an assistant coach for Vegas last season, recommending she may have some additional insight when it pertains to decreasing A’ja Wilson and business.

The night’s last match in between the Lynx and Storm releases the goodbye trips of Sylvia Fowles and Sue Bird. Both legends will take their last lap around the W surrounded by brand-new colleagues who will be essential to their teams’ prospective successes. In Minnesota, head coach and basic supervisor Cheryl Reeve appears less than enthused about the present state of her group, specifically on the offending end. Earlier today, Reeve remarkably selected to part methods with Layshia Clarendon, credited with righting the Lynx’s 2021 season, and Crystal Dangerfield, the 2020 Rookie of the Year. These choices leave last-minute lineup addition Odyssey Sims as the Lynx only main ball handler. The anticipated lack of Angel McCoughtry, who just recently got a PRP injection, raises additional issue about the Lynx’s offense, especially the crucial capability to get the ball to Sylvia Fowles.

Things are less unclear for Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm. The core of Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd gears up the Storm among the most strong and reliable leading 3s in the league. This sense of stability encompasses Seattle’s brand-new veteran supporting pieces in Briann January and Jantel Lavender. In contrast, the WNBA return of Gabby Williams provides the Storm some adaptability and vigor on both ends on the flooring.

Game details

Washington Mystics (0-0) vs. Indiana Fever (0-0)

When: Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC

How to view: Facebook

Key to the match: Although Elena Delle Donne set up 21 points in less than 20 minutes of action throughout the preseason, concerns will continue to stick around about her condition, with fans trepidatiously fearing any evident tweak of her back. While reporting recommends she will be on a season-long load management strategy, it will deserve keeping an eye on how head coach Mike Thibault handles her minutes in video game in order to enhance the Mystics. However, even a handled EDD threatens enough to guide her group to a success.

Mystics injury report: Elena Delle Donne (possible; back), Alysha Clark (out; foot), Elizabeth Williams (out; overseas)

Fever injury report: Danielle Robinson (out; overseas), Bria Hartley (out; overseas), Alaina Coates (out; overseas)

Chicago Sky (0-0) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (0-0)

When: Friday, May 6 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL


Key to the match: As mentioned above, how head coach Derek Fisher browses his rotations motivates intrigue. In the front court, how will things clean with Cambage and the Ogwumike siblings? In the back court, will we see Jordin Canada and Chennedy Carter on the court together? Might novice Rae Burrell get a long time running the offense? Without Toliver and Samuelson, can Fisher discover the workers to create sufficient spacing on offense? Can the unexpected Amy Atwell function as that 3-point danger? And, will the Sparks’ efficiency respond to a few of these concerns? Or, will it raise more concerns?

Sky injury report: Allie Quigley (out; concealed), Kahleah Copper (out; overseas), Julie Allemand (out; overseas), Li Yueru (out; overseas)

Sparks injury report: Olivia Nelson-Ododa (out forever; hip), Katie Lou Samuelson (out; overseas), Kristi Toliver (out; training), Amanda Zahui B (out for season; agreement suspended)

Phoenix Mercury (0-0) vs. Las Vegas Aces (0-0)

When: Friday, May 6 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ


Key to the match: What will we find out about the brand-new Aces offense? Head coach Becky Hammon has actually made it clear that she will motivate her group to accept the 3-ball, recommending that she anticipates the Aces to break the franchise’s record for 3-point efforts on opening night. How will simply taking these shots, much less making them, open other actions for the Aces offense? What will this additional area permit A’ja Wilson to do? Against a Mercury group missing out on the anchor of their defense, the Aces’ revamped offense might have the chance to get cooking on opening night.

Mercury injury report: Kia Nurse (out forever; knee); Brittney Griner (out forever; individual)

Aces injury report: Chelsea Gray (doubtful; ankle)

Seattle Storm (0-0) vs. Minnesota Lynx (0-0)

When: Friday, May 6 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA

How to view: WNBA League Pass

Key to the match: Presuming she plays, it not just will be amazing to see Gabby Williams back in the WNBA, however likewise to see her in a brand-new uniform and in a brand-new context. In Chicago, head coach James Wade had a hard time to understand Williams’ distinct skillset; she’s somebody who can do things with the ball in her hands however does not have a trustworthy jumper. The possibility of surrounding Williams with guaranteed shooting risks in Bird, Stewart and Loyd must assist head coach Noelle Quinn optimize Williams’ skills, and will enhance the Storm with another gamer to whom the Lynx needs to be attuned.

Storm injury report: Gabby Williams (doubtful; individual), Mercedes Russell (out; non-basketball injury)

Lynx injury report: Angel McCoughtry (doubtful; knee), Kayla McBride (out; overseas), Damiris Dantas (out; foot), Napheesa Collier (out forever; individual)

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