After a season filled with injury, self-doubt and rookies, the San Antonio Silver Stars have both one of their stars back as they try to return to the playoffs. Their season begins against the Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream.
The Dream won their third conference title in four seasons and are now 0-9 in WNBA Finals games. They crushed the Stars in their first meeting last year and San Antonio returned the favor in the team's last regular season game. Ordinarily last year's head-to-head games mean nothing when talking about matchups for the next season; this season, they literally mean nothing.
San Antonio was a bad basketball team in 2013 -- a typical result when you lose your two best players for (effectively) the entire season. Becky Hammon is out to start another season, this time with a sprained ankle she sustained on Wednesday. The team claims she will be re-evaluated before Saturday's game against the Shock...but I don't expect to see her for a while.
Sophia Young-Malcolm made headlines during the offseason for being a homophobe (yay!) so it will be nice to see her play basketball instead of reading her tweets. As Young-Malcolm goes, so will the Stars. What's nice about the Stars playing overseas is that this will not be the first time Young-Malcolm has played a competitive basketball game since her injury last year.
Here's a look at the finalized 2014 roster for the Stars:
23 Danielle Adams F-C 6-1 239 2/19/89 Texas A&M Kansas City, Mo. 3
40 Kayla Alexander C 6-4 195 1/5/91 Syracuse Milton, Ontario 1
32 Jayne Appel C 6-4 210 5/14/88 Stanford Pleasant Hill, Calif. 4
11 Heather Butler G 5-5 128 11/7/91 Tennessee Martin Medina, TN R
20 Shameka Christon F 6-2 174 2/15/82 Arkansas Hot Springs, Ark. 9
25 Becky Hammon G 5-6 136 3/11/77 Colorado State Rapid City, S.D. 15
42 Shenise Johnson G 5-11 172 12/8/90 Miami Henrietta, N.Y. 2
21 Kayla McBride G-F 5-11 174 6/25/92 Notre Dame Erie, PA R
7 Jia Perkins G 5-8 155 2/23/82 Texas Tech Granbury, Texas 10
13 Danielle Robinson G 5-9 125 5/10/89 Oklahoma San Jose, Calif. 3
0 Davellyn Whyte G 5-11 159 5/14/91 Arizona Phoenix, Ariz. 1
33 Sophia Young-Malcolm F 6-1 165 12/15/83 Baylor St. Vincent, Grenadines 9
It's the first game of the season with what feels like a whole new team. The western conference is very tough (again) this year, but if the Stars stay off the injury sheet this season will at least be more enjoyable for fans than the trainwreck that was 2013.
I'll post a report on the game tonight -- you can catch tonight's contest on NBA TV.