NEW YORK CITY – With the WNBA season set to begin in late July and last through October at IMG Academy in Florida, team rosters have been shaking up the power rankings due to player opt-outs, injuries and new signings.
ESPN released its 2020 WNBA power rankings, and here’s how it goes:
1. Seattle Storm:
Sitting at an 18-16 record last year the 2018 champions are looking to avenge a second round loss in the playoffs. With the loss of head coach Dan Hughes due to coronavirus concerns the team will have assistant coach Gary Kloppenberg step into the role.
Player-wise, none of the squad has opted out and they will be returning WNBA veteran Sue Bird. Both Bird and star Breanna Stewart will both be coming back off injuries.
2. Los Angeles Sparks:
The California based team is looking to fight back after a loss in the semi-finals last year. With a 22-12 record in 2018, the Sparks added some new faces to the squad including WNBA star Kristi Toliver, Te’a Cooper and Reshanda Gray. While Toliver is new to the franchise, she decided to opt out this season along with Chiney Ogwumike citing health reasons.
3. Washington Mystics:
The 2019 champions are looking to keep that same drive running with new signings of two WNBA veterans, Tina Charles and Essence Carson. Yet with the loss of two starters, Natasha Cloud and Latoya Sanders who are opting out and the departure of Kristi Toliver to Los Angeles the team has been shaken up. Cloud is sitting out to advocate for social justice while Sanders is sitting out citing health reasons. The team still has 2019 MVP Emma Meesseman, along with Ariel Atkins and rookie Kiara Leslie.
4. Las Vegas Aces:
With guard Kelsey Plum out due to an achilles injury, the Aces will still be a team to watch out for with the return of Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson. Trying to avenge their semi-finals loss the Aces still have sharp shooter Kayla McBride. They also have picked up WNBA veteran Angel McCoughtry from the Atlanta Dream.
5. Connecticut Sun:
The Sun have taken two losses with one last year being in the semi-finals in 2019 and the other is forward Jonquel Jones who opted out given health reasons. Two other starters from the WNBA’s runner-up team a year ago, Shekinna Stricklen and Courtney Williams are now with the Dream in Atlanta.
Alyssa Thomas, Jasmine Thomas are back and star DeWanna Bonner has signed with the squad. The Sun also picked up Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis from Seattle.
6. Phoenix Mercury:
The offseason has been a rewarding one for this Mercury team after a loss in the first round last season. The team signed WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith creating the league’s Big 3 which is comprised of the all-star along with WNBA veteran Diana Taurasi and center Brittney Griner.
The team also added Bria Hartley, Jessica Breland and Kia Vaughn, but lost Lehlani Mitchell and star DeWanna Bonner. The team is looking for their rookies to show up in the upcoming season.
7. Chicago Sky:
With a 20-14 record last season, the Sky returns upcoming star Diamond Deshields and veterans in Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot. Many injuries to players last season like Jantel Lavender and Azura Stevens leaves a question mark with this team.
The team is looking to rookie Ruthy Hebard, the No. 2 pick in the draft, to help lift the squad.
8. Minnesota Lynx:
Sylvia Fowles is the only starter from the most recent Lynx championship which was in 2017, and the only one still playing with the team. They also have Napheesa Collier, who earned league Rookie of the Year honors.
Yet the Lynx’s leading scorer from last season, guard Odyssey Sims, is out on pregnancy leave and the squad is looking to newcomers such as Shenise Johnson and Rachel Banham to bring some fire to the squad.
9. Indiana Fever:
Under new direction with Coach Marianne Stanley from the 2019 champs the Washington Mystics, the Fever are looking to build off of last year. The squad brings back Victoria Vivans, who had a good rookie season in 2018 but was out last season due to a knee injury. Along with, Teaira McCowan, Erica Wheeler and veteran Candice Dupree.
10. Atlanta Dream:
The Dream had only eight wins in 2019, and the loss of the young rising star Brittany Sykes and veteran Angel McCoughtry, the Dream is looking to Elizabeth Williams to help carry this squad.
Williams has help with Shekinna Stricklen and Courtney Williams and Shekinna Stricklen, who came from Connecticut, Glory Johnson from Dallas and Kalani Brown from Los Angeles.
11. Dallas Wings:
With three first-round picks in the draft and most of the team returning, Dallas is a team you can look forward to watching. They have picked up sharpshooter Katie Lou Samuelson via trade and still have rising star Arike Ogunbowale.
12. New York Liberty:
The New York squad is in rebuilding mode with new coach Walt Hopkins and the No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu. Along with the rookie is sophomore Kia Nurse and Asia Durr, who is in her third season. The team added newcomer Layshia Clarendon, who’s entering her eighth WNBA season.