Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News


Former Delaware star Elena Delle Donne plays for the Chicago Sky.   AP
Former Delaware star Elena Delle Donne plays for the Chicago Sky. AP
Minnesota Lynx

2013: 26-8, 1st place; beat Atlanta, 3-0, in WNBA Finals.

Coach: Cheryl Reeve, 5th season.

Outlook: Despite injuries to Rebekkah Brunson (8.9 rpg.), Monica Wright, and Devereaux Peters, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Lynx in the Finals again. Maya Moore (18.5 ppg., 6.2 rpg.) has put up MVP numbers over the last few seasons despite not winning the award.

Los Angeles Sparks

2013: 24-10, 2d place; lost to Phoenix, 2-1, in conference semifinals.

Coach: Carol Ross, 2d season.

Outlook: With an ownership group led by Magic Johnson now in charge, the Sparks are looking for a bright future and hope to win their first championship since 2002. The Sparks have the reigning MVP in Candace Parker (17.9 ppg., 8.7 rpg., 3.8 apg.), who is one of the league's most unique talents.

Phoenix Mercury

2013: 19-15, 3d place; lost to Minnesota, 2-0, in conference finals.

Coach: Sandy Brondello, 1st season.

Outlook: One of the most talented starting lineups in the league led by Diana Taurasi (20.3 ppg., 4.2 rpg., 6.2 apg.) when everyone is healthy. Brittney Griner (12.6 ppg., 6.3 rpg.) and Penny Taylor missed time last year because of injuries. Seattle Storm

2013: 17-17, 4th place; lost to Minnesota, 2-0, in conference semifinals.

Coach: Brian Agler, 6th season.

Outlook: Seattle surprised many people by making the playoffs last season despite Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson missing the season. Bird's back but Jackson's still out.

San Antonio Stars

2013: 12-22, 5th place.

Coach: Dan Hughes, 8th season.

Outlook: The Stars' season was derailed early on when both Becky Hammon and Sophia Young-Malcolm were lost to injuries for the season. With both players back, as well as the addition of rookie Kayla McBride, the overall No. 3 pick in the draft, the Stars are poised to make a run to the playoffs.

Tulsa Shock

2013: 11-23, 6th place.

Coach: Fred Williams, 1st season.

Outlook: Tulsa may have one of the most talented young backcourts in the league with Skylar Diggins and rookie Odyssey Sims, the overall No. 2 pick in the draft. Diggins has dominated the preseason and is poised for a breakout second year.

Chicago Sky

2013: 24-10, 1st place; lost to Indiana, 2-0, in conference semifinals.

Coach: Pokey Chatman, 4th season.

Outlook: Elena Delle Donne has added 12 pounds of muscle and looks primed to build on last season's impressive rookie campaign. The only thing that stands in the way of a run at the Eastern Conference title is the health of Sylvia Fowles, who is out for the early part of the season with a torn labrum.

Atlanta Dream

2013: 17-17, 2d place; lost to Minnesota, 3-0, in WNBA Finals.

Coach: Michael Cooper, 1st season.

Outlook: Angel McCoughtry (21.5 ppg., 5.3 rpg., 4.4 apg.) is one of the top offensive players in the game and the addition of Swin Cash and Shoni Schimmel should help.

Washington Mystics

2013: 17-17, 3d place; lost to Atlanta, 2-1, in conference semifinals.

Coach: Mike Thibault, 2d season.

Outlook: Thibault has almost completely overhauled the roster from when he took over and nearly half of the team is made up of rookies and sophomores, including the UConn duo of Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley.

Indiana Fever

2013: 16-18, 4th place; lost to Atlanta, 2-0, in conference finals.

Coach: Lin Dunn, 7th season.

Outlook: Indiana won its first WNBA championship two seasons ago, and the Fever are poised to try and win another led by Tamika Catchings (17.7 ppg., 7.1 rpg.). Germantown Academy and Penn State graduate Maggie Lucas joins the team as a rookie.

New York Liberty

2013: 11-23, 5th place.

Coach: Bill Laimbeer, 2d season.

Outlook: New York, which will play at Madison Square Garden after three years in New Jersey, made a blockbuster trade right before the draft, acquiring former MVP Tina Charles (18.0 ppg., 10.1 rpg.), giving the Liberty another marquee player to go alongside Cappie Pondexter (16.9 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 4.0 apg.). The Liberty also will see the return of Essence Carson (14.3 ppg., 5.5 rpg.)

Connecticut Sun

2013: 10-24, 6th place.

Coach: Anne Donovan, 2d season.

Outlook: After a sixth-place finish last season, the Sun completely remade their roster, starting with the trades of Kara Lawson and Tina Charles. Donovan has a young team now led by rookie Chiney Ogwumike, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and Alyssa Thomas, and she hopes the two college all-Americans can develop quickly at the pro level.




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