June 26, 2016
There was a lot going on in the WNBA this weekend and the action wasn’t only on the court. The San Antonio Stars got their third win of the season after defeating the Atlanta Dream and the Indiana Fever got back on track winning in Dallas. Becky Hammon is now among the greats hanging from the rafters in San Antonio’s AT&T Center as the Stars retired her jersey in a ceremony following Saturday’s game. The Sparks continued their winning ways and the Mercury escaped in New York with an overtime win. Finally, the Lynx were surprisingly blown out in Washington! But what had everyone talking last night were the trades and cuts that took place around the league! It was a lot to keep up with so in case you missed it here is all that went down.
The Connecticut Sun traded starting center Kelsey Bone to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Courtney Williams, a rookie from South Florida who was the 8th pick in the 2016 WNBA draft by the Mercury, draft rights to Jillian Alleyne, former University of Oregon star who was also drafted this year by the Mercury but has been inactive due to an ACL tear suffered during her senior season, and a 2017 2nd round pick (via San Antonio) which Phoenix received in the trade that sent Monique Currie to the Stars. The Mercury also sent veteran guard Noelle Quinn to the Seattle Storm in exchange for rights to Angel Robinson, who hasn’t actually played in the league since the 2014 season but plays overseas. The Seattle Storm waived rookie Blake Dietrick and third year center Markeisha Gatling. This leaves the Storm with a roster of 11 which means they have the option to sign a 12th player if they decide to.
We usually don’t see many trades during the WNBA season so this was a lot to digest all in one night. Phoenix who has underachieved so far this season were expected to shake things up at some point. After the return of Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor many thought the team that won the WNBA championship in 2014 would pick up right where they left off. Early on we all realized that this was not the case and that they were clearly going through some readjusting. The Mercury have been playing much better lately and although the Lynx and Sparks have been the talk of the town, in this league, it’s all about peaking at the right time. I wouldn’t count the Mercury out just yet.
The Storm who are currently 5-9 and sitting in 9th place in the standings have seen some ups and downs. Their brightest spot has been the play of rookie sensation Breanna Stewart who has been everything they hoped she would be and more. Jewell Lyod has also been great for the Storm this season. Bringing in Quinn could give some relief to Bird at the point and allow the Storm to keep Loyd on the wing and not have to play her as much at the point guard position. We will see if they decide to pick up another player since Abby Bishop is not currently with the team as she is competing to join the Australian National Team for the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.
Either way it was an exciting night in the WNBA last night. With the new playoff system, where the top 8 teams in the league regardless of conference make the playoffs teams are looking to structure their rosters to give them the best possible chance to get a playoff spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams made a few moves before the trade deadline. It will also be interesting to see what happens after the Olympic break with players returning or not returning to teams to finish the season. What do you think about the trades last night? Who were the biggest winners and losers? Let us know what you think!