Due to the intervention of real life – and the basic fact that there’s been one WNBA game in the last three days – today’s update will be brief. It will also contain mini-previews of tonight’s games, framed as questions, just in case anyone fancies looking out for the same things I think might be interesting about the upcoming games. Normal column service will be resumed tomorrow.
And because I’m feeling in a backwards mood today, we’re going to begin with:
In other news…
New York today waived rookie Jessica Breland, the #13 overall pick, and picked up Felicia Chester, the #14 pick selected right behind her. No, I don’t get it either. Breland has actually looked reasonably promising in her brief appearances for the Liberty, including an early game against Atlanta where she made two key shots to help them win in overtime. Head coach and GM John Whisenant actively pursued Breland on draft day, giving up next year’s second round pick to move up from 22 to 13 so he could take her. He will have known all about her health issues from college, so any problems with stamina shouldn’t have come as a surprise (and it’s not like they need her to play big minutes right now anyway). I don’t know why he quit on her so quickly.
I watched Chester practice and play with the Dream in training camp in Manchester, and came away thoroughly unimpressed. She got beat out by Sandora Irvin – a WNBA bust who’ll likely be cut in a few weeks if Yelena Leuchanka shows up – and Brittainey Raven – who’s already been cut. And those were the right choices. She plays the same position and is essentially the same size as Breland, and while she might carry a little more bulk that doesn’t seem like enough to make this switch. Who knows, maybe Chester will be a much better fit in Whiz’s system, but it seems unlikely. Weird move.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone give Breland another chance pretty quickly, or even just claim her off waivers. Couldn’t she potentially be more useful to Seattle than Krystal Thomas, or Phoenix than Olayinka Sanni? We will see.
Swin Cash and Tina Charles were named the Players of the Week, a day late because apparently no one works at the WNBA offices on holiday Mondays. It was a strange week because so few games were played – Lindsay Whalen was a leading contender despite playing just one game, a blowout against Tulsa that was over by halftime. However, Charles was an easy pick with her two excellent performances beating out several players who played well but only had the chance to do it once. The West was more complicated but Cash was a solid choice, again helped by the simple fact that she got to impress twice. Seattle will need her to continue stepping up in Lauren Jackson’s absence.
Seattle @ Indiana, 7pm ET
How will Indiana cope in their first game without Briann January? Will it be Bobbitt or Phillips who gets most of the minutes? Will either of them be on the floor in crunch time, or will Lin Dunn fall back on Katie Douglas as a pseudo-point again?
How low can a score be when you pit the WNBA’s two slowest-paced teams against each other? (Vegas had the over/under at 145, but it’s been coming down ever since that was posted)
Without Lauren Jackson, does Ashley Robinson get extra minutes to try to deal with Jessica Davenport, who’s got at least four inches on either of Seattle’s starting posts? Or can the sneakiness and physicality of Little and Willingham deal with her anyway?
If the Storm win on the road in Indy, will their doubters finally start to admit that they’re still pretty good even without LJ?
Washington @ Chicago, 8pm ET
Who’s actually going to suit up for the Mystics? (both Crystal Langhorne and Alana Beard are with the team for what is the first of a five-game road trip, by the way)
If Langhorne’s out again, how effective can Victoria Dunlap be against a team with a hell of a lot more size inside than she faced in her impressive debut start against Seattle on Sunday?
After losing five of their last six, can Chicago stop the slide now that they’re facing an eminently beatable team, or is their season heading off a cliff?
Did that leg injury Sylvia Fowles suffered in the Sky’s last game cause any lingering distress, even though she returned for the fourth quarter?
Will Cathrine Kraayeveld or Michelle Snow take a single shot from inside 15 feet all night?
Will one of the league’s best teams this season at both scoring and preventing second-chance points (Washington) take advantage of a team that’s been terrible in that category at both ends (Chicago)?
Will anyone pay any attention to this game when it’s sandwiched by more glamorous and interesting matchups?
Los Angeles @ Phoenix, 9pm ET (live on ESPN2)
Will there be more points in the first-half of this one than the entire Indiana-Seattle matchup?
How bizarre is it that Phoenix are going into a game as the significantly better rebounding squad?
Will Temeka Johnson make her return from her ankle sprain, and will it make any difference?
How many times will we wonder “what the hell is [insert head coach here] doing?” during this game?
Will Diana Taurasi pick up her fourth technical of the season (remember, numbers 7, 9, 11 etc. are one-game suspensions)?
How drunk would I be if I took a shot every time they mentioned Candace Parker on the ESPN2 broadcast?
Just how dumb can Jen Gillom make herself look on live TV in a timeout huddle this week?