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A’ja Wilson, Caitlin Clark and more – NBC New York

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A’ja Wilson, Caitlin Clark and more – NBC New York
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The 2024 WNBA season is upon us, and there’s no scarcity of storylines.

The Las Vegas Aces enter because the two-time defending champions, whereas the New York Liberty want to avenge their 2023 WNBA Finals defeat. There will likely be an Olympic break, as properly, because the U.S. ladies’s basketball crew chases its eighth straight gold medal in Paris. After which there’s Caitlin Clark, the nationwide sensation who will embark on her skilled profession in Indiana.

From upcoming enlargement to constitution flights, pleasure is constructing throughout the WNBA like by no means earlier than. With the 2024 marketing campaign tipping off on Tuesday, let’s bounce across the league and break down 13 gamers who will form the WNBA season.

A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

After all we’re beginning with A’Ja Wilson.

Her resume speaks for itself, however in case you wanted a recap, her new shoe companion summed it up: SEC champion, NCAA champion, No. 1 WNBA draft decide, five-time WNBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, WNBA Finals MVP, New York Occasions Finest Vendor, TIME 100 Most Influential Folks in 2024, two-time WNBA champion, two-time WNBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months, two-time WNBA and title of “pettiest hooper on the web.”

Protected to say it’s Wilson’s league proper now.

Chelsea Grey, Las Vegas Aces

We aren’t leaving Las Vegas simply but.

Chelsea Grey is one among 4 Aces to be an All-Star in 2023, becoming a member of Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Younger, set career-highs in factors, assists and rebounds per recreation. The “Level Gawd” scored a team-high 20 factors in a title-clinching win over the Connecticut Solar in 2022 however missed the ultimate victory of the 2023 WNBA Finals as a consequence of a foot harm. She’s going to miss the Aces’ season opener on Tuesday as a consequence of a decrease left leg harm.

Breanna Stewart, New York Liberty

Breanna Stewart made an enormous impression within the Massive Apple final season. The previous Seattle Storm star landed with the Liberty in free company and went on to beat out Wilson for 2023 WNBA MVP honors.

Her first season main the Liberty’s new large three ended within the WNBA Finals in opposition to Wilson, Grey and the Aces. An added 12 months of expertise and continuity could possibly be the distinction heading into 2024.

Jonquel Jones, New York Liberty

Talking of the Liberty’s large three, Jonquel Jones is simply three years faraway from an MVP season in Connecticut. A foot harm impacted her begin alongside Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu in New York, however when she’s wholesome, she’s among the many greatest gamers within the W on each ends of the ground.

Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

Welcome to the professionals, Caitlin Clark.

Faculty basketball’s all-time main scorer has taken the WNBA by storm earlier than she’s even stepped on the court docket for an everyday season recreation. The Iowa phenom has elevated curiosity in ladies’s basketball throughout the nation, and now the hoops world is eagerly awaiting what she will be able to convey to the league.

From scintillating taking pictures to passing precision, Clark guarantees to be one of many league’s most electrical offensive gamers. How lengthy will it take for her to regulate to the professionals and begin competing for extra {hardware}?

Aliyah Boston, Indiana Fever

Clark isn’t the one No. 1 decide on the Fever.

Indiana has a brand new dynamic duo in Clark and 2023 prime decide Aliyah Boston. The previous South Carolina star lived as much as the hype, changing into the unanimous 2023 WNBA Rookie of the 12 months whereas main the league in subject purpose proportion. 

The Fever went from simply 5-31 in 2022 to 13-27 in Boston’s rookie season. What sort of soar with Indiana make now that Boston has a brand new companion in crime?

Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Solar

The Engine occurs to be a triple-double machine.

Alyssa Thomas is the participant that retains the Solar going. The tenacious defender has made dramatic strides on the offensive finish and wound up second in 2023 MVP voting between Stewart and Wilson. Her 9 profession triple-doubles are by far probably the most in WNBA historical past.

Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx

Napheesa Collier returned from having a child in 2022 and put collectively an unbelievable 2023 season. She completed fourth in MVP voting and earned her third profession All-Star choice whereas guiding the Lynx to the No. 6 seed. 

Minnesota has struggled in postseason play because it received the 2017 WNBA title, and the Lynx might want to observe Collier’s result in get previous the primary spherical in 2024.

Three-time WNBA All-Star Napheesa Collier mentioned why this season feels extra thrilling and provided some recommendation for the proficient rookie class.

Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury

The 2023 season noticed Brittney Griner return to the court docket following her detainment in Russia. She went on to play 31 video games whereas averaging 17.5 factors, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per recreation. It was a down 12 months for the Mercury, who missed the playoffs, so Griner and Co. will likely be eyeing a postseason return this season.

The eight-time All-Star received’t see the ground for a short while to begin the season, nevertheless, as a consequence of a toe harm.

Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm

Breanna Stewart could have switched coasts and Sue Fowl was out of the image, however the Seattle Storm nonetheless had a crown Jewell in 2023.

Jewell Loyd was the WNBA’s main scorer final season with a median of 24.7 factors per recreation. The Storm went on to overlook the playoffs for the primary time in eight seasons, however the crew surrounded Loyd with some much-needed assist this offseason by buying veteran stars Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike.

Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas Wings

Arike Ogunbowale has been the wind beneath the Dallas Wings since they drafted her with the fifth general decide within the 2019 WNBA Draft. She was fifth within the league in scoring final season at 21.2 factors per recreation and performed all 40 common season video games at a league-high 37.2 minutes per recreation.

Ogunbowale and Dallas can construct off a 2023 season that ended in opposition to the Aces within the WNBA semis.

Cameron Brink, Los Angeles Sparks

Whereas Clark headlines the 2024 WNBA Draft class, she isn’t the one rookie seeking to make a splash this season.

Cameron Brink is staying in California, because the Stanford middle was drafted No. 2 general by the Los Angeles Sparks. With No. 4 general draft decide Rickea Jackson by her facet, Brink has the potential to spark a promising rebuild in L.A.

Kamilla Cardoso, Chicago Sky

Just like the Sparks, the Chicago Sky have an thrilling rookie duo.

Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese went to Chicago because the No. 3 and No. 7 picks, respectively, in final month’s draft. Each gamers received a nationwide title in faculty and can work to resolve the Sky’s rebounding points, whereas Cardoso provides daunting rim-protection. The previous South Carolina middle should wait to make her WNBA debut as a consequence of a shoulder harm that’s anticipated to sideline her till someday in June.

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