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This Week in Women’s Basketball: WNBA introduces the six faces of the 2024 Player Marketing Agreement cohort

Jewell Loyd, Rhyne Howard and Aliyah Boston are three of the six participants in the WNBA’s Player Marketing Agreement (PMA). Learn more about the PMA cohort, what’s next for the newly-retired Jasmine Thomas and the Australian Opals’ Olympic quest.

WNBA Player Marketing Portraits
Jewell Loyd, Rhyne Howard and Aliyah Boston are three of the six members of the WNBA’s Player Marketing Agreement cohort.
Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

As await the hoped-for flood of stunning free agency news, catch up on all the happenings from across the WNBA, beginning with the retirement of one of the game’s underrated greats.


All the best to Jasmine Thomas

Congratulations to Jasmine Thomas on a fantastic 13-year WNBA career! Thomas announced her retirement on Instagram on Thursday.

While Thomas spent time with the Washington Mystics, Atlanta Dream and, in her final season, Los Angeles Sparks, she’ll most be remembered for her eight seasons with the Connecticut Sun. She was integral to the Sun’s rise from a lottery team to a championship contender, earning one All-Star honor and five All-Defensive nominations during her Connecticut tenure. At her peak, she was one of the best point-of-attack defenders in the W, making expert use of her athleticism and intelligence to lock down some of the league’s best perimeter players.

(See below for news about Thomas’ next chapter.)

Meet the WNBA’s 2024 PMA cohort

Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm, Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream, Arike Ogunbowale of the Dallas Wings, Shakira Austin of the Washington Mystics, Aliyah Boston of the Indiana Fever and Brionna Jones of the Connecticut Sun are the participants in the WNBA’s 2024 Player Marketing Agreement (PMA).

The six stars will be at the forefront of the league’s media and marketing initiatives, earning extra income for their cooperation. As Head of League Operations Bethany Donaphin told For the Win:

It was part of our overall marketing strategy. We thought, ‘How can we highlight player stories and elevate players across the league in a multifaceted way?’ Being able to have a platform that allows us to support players while they support the growth of the league was important.

Over at WNBA.com, the six answered questions from Drew Acampora, sharing details about their on-court priorities and off-court passions.

Addition of Jasmine Thomas among Wings’ staffing moves

The aforementioned Jasmine Thomas will be joining the Dallas Wings, serving as the Director of Player Programs and Development Coach. According to the team, Thomas “will be a member of head coach Latricia Trammell’s coaching staff with a focus on the roster’s on-court skill development. Thomas will also serve as a member of the Wings front office, working on the development and execution of programs centered around player services and support, including but not limited to career development, mentorship and philanthropic interests.”

Of her new opportunity, Thomas said:

The most important part of my decision to retire was having a valuable opportunity to continue significantly impacting women’s basketball in this next chapter of my life. I’m excited to join the Dallas Wings organization in a unique role that aligns with my passion for empowering athletes on and off the court.

The Wings also promoted Zak Buncik, a player development coach for the Dallas Wings since 2022, to assistant coach; he’ll serve alongside Brandi Poole and Courtney Paris.

Earlier in the week, the Wings announced the hiring of Pam Flenke as Vice President of Communication and Broadcasting. Flenke most recently was the Associate Commissioner of Women’s Basketball Communications and Operations for the Big East.

Mercury add two more assistant coaches

In early December, the Phoenix Mercury hired two-time WNBA champion Kristi Toliver as associate head coach. On Wednesday, the Mercury announced two more additions to new head coach Nate Tibbets’ staff: Megan Vogel and Michael Joiner.

Vogel heads to the Valley by way of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she was on the staff for 11 seasons. Joiner has been an assistant coach for the Memphis Hustle of the NBA G League since 2019.

The Opals’ Olympic quest soon begins

In Belem, Brazil from Feb. 8 to 11, the Australian women’s national team—the Opals, now sponsored by Seven Consulting—will compete in a FIBA qualifying tournament in hopes of earning a berth to the 2024 Paris Olympics. With games against Brazil, Germany and Serbia, Australia must finish in the top three in its to pool to punch their ticket to Paris.

The 12-player team, headlined by the legendary Lauren Jackson, also includes: Rebecca Allen, Sara Bilcavs, Isobel Borlase, Cayla George, Tess Magden, Ezi Magbegor, Jade Melbourne, Stephanie Reid, Alanna Smith, Marianna Tolo and Sami Whitcomb.

Of the qualification challenge, head coach Sandy Brondello said:

Brazil is first up and with the home crowd they will be tough, Germany is a team on the rise and we have a really competitive history against Serbia, so there are no easy games. We have limited preparation time for this window but we will take that as a motivator, this is where our experienced players will really make a difference. We are completely locked in now on the three games and securing our Olympic spot.

PBWA announces WNBA awards

To show appreciation for the players, coaches and PR staffs that cooperate with media members’ efforts to provide high-quality coverage of the WNBA, the PBWA has established three awards that will honor those willing to go the extra mile to accommodate media: The Tamika Catchings Award (player), the Anne Donovan Award (coach) and the Val Ackerman Award (team PR professional).

The Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson is the inaugural winner of the Tamika Catchings Award, Dallas Wings head coach Latricia Trammell received the Anne Donovan Award and Ryan Stevens, director of PR for the Indiana Fever, was named the winner of the Val Ackerman Award. Congrats to Wilson, Trammell and Stevens!