The opening weekend of the 2018 WNBA season concludes today with all 12 teams in action. More importantly, all six games are covered nationally, including four that will stream live on Twitter! So, yes, it’s basically Christmas, with WNBA President Lisa Borders wearing the Santa hat.
Quick guide to the games
1 p.m. EST
Fever vs. Mystics | NBA TV | Preview
3 p.m. EST
5 p.m. EST
Lynx vs. Sparks | ESPN2 | Preview
7 p.m. EST
9 p.m. EST
Chicago Sky gets 82-64 win over the Indiana Fever
The teams kept it close during the first half and, for the Sky, it was Allie Quigley who carried the scoring load. But the Sky came out of the locker room after halftime with a strategy to increase the lead and ultimately win the game. Her name is Diamond DeShields, and her strong second half helped her to 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists on the afternoon. Quigley finished with 19 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds.
Indiana made an effort to claw its way back into the game, closing Chicago’s lead to within single digits on tough “scrambling” style of play Tamika Catchings praised from the analysts’ seats. But it wasn’t enough to match an in-rhythm DeShields.
Moving forward, both teams have some major issues to address if they hope to compete against the league’s top-tier teams, like Minnesota, Los Angeles, Seattle and Phoenix. For the Sky, that means figuring out how to get Gabby Williams going, and the issue isn’t a lack of minutes or touches. She was in for 27 minutes and finished with 4 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
This will not get it done for Chicago.
Indiana, however, seems to have even bigger problems. WNBA champion Candice Dupree had trouble getting going early and missed a lot of open looks and easy baskets. Perhaps when the team of newbies coheres around Dupree, she’ll be able to find her rhythm and make an impact for this team. But yesterday afternoon she looked like a shell of the player who shot 74% from the field in the Phoenix Mercury’s 2014 title game.
Who will step up around her?
Rookie Victoria Vivians was mostly a non-factor in five minutes of play for the Fever, finishing with 3 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. A sign of hope for Indy, however, is Erica Wheeler, who made gritty plays all afternoon, putting her body on the line and never giving up on a play. Wheeler finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Gabby Williams had a poor showing in the preseason and her regular season isn’t off to a great start either. Share your thoughts by answering these questions (and elaborating in the comments if you so desire):
1. Is Gabby Williams struggling under the pressures of the big stage?
This poll is closed
Yes. She is like a deer in headlights.
Not sure. Let’s wait and see.
No. She just needs time to adjust.
2. Is too much pressure put on rookies to be the saviors of underperforming teams?
This poll is closed
Yes. And it’s unfair because a player new to the league can only do so much.
Unsure. What might be pressure for one player isn’t necessarily pressure for another.
No. The WNBA is a business, so they should know what they were getting into.
Other happenings in women’s hoops
The reason Diana Taurasi wears No. 3
If everyone in the world felt as smooth and beautiful on the inside as Diana Taurasi’s shot looks, the world would know perfect peace.
- Minnesota Head Coach Cheryl Reeve calls out mainstream sports media for its failure to give front-page coverage to a host of women’s sporting events happening this weekend. Her tweets are so very ... Lynxian ... and we love it.
- Katie Smith, new head coach of the New York Liberty, reflects on training camp and looks ahead to the season.
- Here’s what Phoenix Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello had to say about her team’s first regular-season win and Diana Taurasi’s record-breaking ways.
How to #WatchThemWork all season
Shine brighter — and help others to shine brighter, too.