After training camp and preseason games over the last couple weeks, the 2018 WNBA season finally begins. Tonight, the Phoenix Mercury will host the Dallas Wings in the league’s first game to kick off the 2018 season.
When: TONIGHT — Friday May 18 at 10 p.m. EST
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, AZ
TV: NBA TV (nationally), Fox Sports Arizona Plus (within the Phoenix market)
Injury Report: Theresa Plaisance is out for Dallas due to an ACL tear. The Mercury has everyone available.
What to watch
Cambage faces off against Griner. Tonight’s individual matchup of the night will be between Dallas center Liz Cambage and Phoenix center Brittney Griner. Cambage is Australia’s best post player since Lauren Jackson, and she could be an All-Star this season for the Wings if things go their way. Griner is coming off a strong 2017 season where she was the team’s leading scorer. The center who has the better performance tonight will give her team the advantage in this game.
How will Phoenix’s veteran guards fare against Dallas’ younger backcourt? The Mercury’s guards, including Diana Taurasi and Leilani Mitchell, are seasoned veterans. Skylar Diggins-Smith leads the Wings’ guard rotation, but she has a much younger backcourt group around her, with 2017 Rookie of the Year Allisha Gray and reserve Aerial Powers. If Dallas can play at a high pace and keep Phoenix’s guards moving, the Wings may also come out ahead in this contest.
How will Azura Stevens affect Phoenix’s defense? Dallas’ rookie forward has the ability to shoot threes and play in the post. Griner does affect other teams’ game plans due to her shot blocking and dunking abilities. But Phoenix does not have a player who can truly match up with Stevens, so it will be interesting to see how she does tonight.