Sport How each WNBA team could win the championship this season

15:53  13 may  2021
15:53  13 may  2021 Source:   fansided.com

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 7, 2021

  NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 7, 2021 Players in the COVID protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Anaheim – TBA

The WNBA has as much parity as any sports league and 2021 will be no exception. Everyone has a chance at a title — here's how it could happen for each team.

Sue Bird et al. posing for the camera © Provided by Fansided

There is no frontrunner to win the 2021 WNBA championship, which speaks to league parity and the surplus of talent a 12-team league has to offer. While targets will be out on the reigning champion Seattle Storm, they won't be nearly the consensus favorite they were last year after two key departures in the offseason.

In just a 32-game regular season, anything can happen. Also, most teams haven't had rotation players in training camp due to overseas commitments, and some won't see them again until after the All-Star break. There will be a lot of learning and adjusting on the fly, and some teams we expect to flourish may flounder because of it.

The 25 Greatest Moments in WNBA History

  The 25 Greatest Moments in WNBA History From the inaugural All-Star Game to The Shot by T-Spoon to Say Her Name. Plus, more to look forward to in the next quarter century. © Provided by Sports Illustrated In 1984, the year after her Women’s American Basketball Association championship victory with the Dallas Diamonds, Nancy Lieberman was a reigning champion in a league that folded almost as quickly as it started. In the midst of deliberating her next plan of action to continue playing basketball, Lieberman received word that David Stern, then NBA commissioner, wanted her to come to New York to speak with him.

Here's how each WNBA team can win a title in 2021

Atlanta Dream

The Dream will win the championship if they get an All-Star performance from second-year guard Chennedy Carter. Carter suffered from an ankle injury that limited her rookie season to just 16 games out of 22, but when she was on the court, she averaged 17.4 points and 3.4 assists per game on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. If she's able to mesh with returning All-Star Tiffany Hayes, the Dream have complementary pieces like center Elizabeth Williams and guard Courtney Williams to make a run.

Chicago Sky

The Sky will win the championship if new-acquisition Candace Parker meshes seamlessly with the returning stars, and Diamond DeShields is fully recovered after missing most of the bubble to quad and knee injuries before leaving for personal reasons and not starting a single game. We know how good Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley will play, and if Azura Stevens and Kahleah Copper continue from their breakout seasons, Chicago could be the team to beat.

Picture perfect career: Hall of Fame only part of Tamika Catchings' journey

  Picture perfect career: Hall of Fame only part of Tamika Catchings' journey Tamika Catchings will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for her contributions to women's basketball on and off the court.When she becomes enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class on Saturday, Catchings could simply list her resume that included being one of 14 women’s basketball players to win a championship both in the NCAA and the WNBA. Or perhaps she could detail how she overcame a hearing disability as a young child before having successful stints at the University of Tennessee (1997-2001), with the Indiana Fever (2002-2016) and on the gold medal-winning U.S.

Connecticut Sun

The Sun will win a championship if they can reinvent their defense without Alyssa Thomas, who tore her Achilles overseas, and if DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones find chemistry on offense. It stinks that Connecticut's dream of having a full roster of star talent (Jones sat out last season) will have to wait another year, but there's no question a Bonner-Jones duo can be scary defensively. If Brionna Jones, Beatrice Mompremier, and rookie DiJionai Carrington step up, Connecticut's going to be scary in the playoffs.

Dallas Wings

The Wings will win a championship if Arike Ogunbowale goes supersonic and the team's first- and second-year players are further along than we think. The league's reigning scoring champion is looking to build off her 22.8 points per game last year but will play with a group that doesn't have a player with more than five years of experience. For Ogunbowale to lead this team into the postseason, she's going to need help from second-year No. 2 pick Satou Sabally, veteran guard Moriah Jefferson, and No. 1 2021 pick Charli Collier down low. Dallas has the pieces to contend in a few years, but it's going to take a heckuva lot to make it happen right now.

Don’t Look Away

  Don’t Look Away As the WNBA begins its 25th season of soldiering on in the face of tired arguments for why fans don't watch, the time has come to pay attention. Let’s start here: my house, a couple of months ago, a good friend over for dinner and the conversation turning toward the article you’ve just started. This friend played sports at a high level, and he asked me, tentatively, whether he could explain why he doesn’t watch women’s sports. “Of course,” I said. “Let’s hear it.” I wanted nothing more than to understand why someone like him—an athlete, a millennial, a feminist—had never turned on a women’s basketball game.

Indiana Fever

The Fever probably won't win the championship this year. The roster is a bit all over the place with no true star, though Kelsey Mitchell is on the verge of getting there and 6-foot-7 center Teaira McCowan has shown defensive promise. Indiana's success will rely on that pair taking a leap, No. 4 overall pick Kysre Gondrezick taking over the guard position, and Lauren Cox, last year's No. 3 pick who missed most of the season due to COVID-19, playing to her potential. It's … going to be tough.

Las Vegas Aces

The Aces will win the championship if Bill Laimbeer can figure out how to get the most out of Liz Cambage and A'ja Wilson together on the floor. In 2019, the duo struggled to put up points though the 6-foot-4 MVP and 6-foot-8 center were stellar defensively. They'll now be surrounded by All-Stars at nearly every position with Chelsea Gray and former No. 1 pick Kelsey Plum at point guard and two-time reigning Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby off the bench. Losing Angel McCoughtry to a torn ACL is a blow to their depth but Vegas still has the talent to avenge its three-game sweep by the Storm in last year's Finals.

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Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks will win the championship if they can find a way to replace Chelsea Gray and Candace Parker, who both left in free agency. It won't be easy, but they'll start their rebuild with former MVP Nneka Ogwumike and All-Star Kristi Toliver. For L.A. to compete it'll need a boost in play from two-way guard Brittney Sykes and Chiney Ogwumike in the post. Is a championship run probable? No. But L.A. won't be an easy team to get past.

Minnesota Lynx

The Lynx will win the championship if Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers fit seamlessly into the program Cheryl Reeve has re-shaped from the dynasty Lynx. Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles are an elite defensive pair in the post, and Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield's gravity should open the floor for all involved. Minnesota has the talent to win for the first time since 2017. Can they fit the pieces together this quickly?

New York Liberty

The Liberty will win the championship if Sabrina Ionescu is already in the MVP discussion. We only saw 2.5 games from her last year before she turned her ankle and missed the rest of the season with a grade-3 sprain. In her second game, she scored 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting with six 3-pointers and 7 assists in 34 minutes. If she's even better than the high standards set out for her this season, her play along with new acquisitions Betnijah Laney and Natasha Howard will make the Liberty a force.

WNBA Power Rankings: Candace Parker’s strong debut keeps Chicago Sky on top

  WNBA Power Rankings: Candace Parker’s strong debut keeps Chicago Sky on top We got our first look at all 12 WNBA teams in the season's opening weekend. There are still plenty of questions but a hierarchy is taking shape. The 2021 WNBA season is just three days old, but it’s been an eventful three days. There have been game-winning 3s from Diana Taurasi and Sab rina Ionescu. There have been dominant showings from Jonquel Jones, who sat out 2020. And there's been the Chicago Sky, who look poised to claim the title of "most fun basketball team ever." Still, three days isn't a lot of time, and just four teams have played more than one game. We don't know a ton about the league yet.

Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury will win the championship if Diana Taurasi stays healthy, the team helps Brittney Griner reinvent her game, and Skylar Diggins-Smith expands on her excellent debut season from last year. Griner's too talented to get phased out of the league, but teams have started to expose her lack of lateral quickness, and the Mercury thrived with a bouncier Brianna Turner down low. It'll be a challenge but Sandy Brondello will have to take Griner out of her comfort zone for the team to be at its best.

Seattle Storm

The Storm will win the championship if Breanna Stewart's hot streak keeps rolling, 40-year-old Sue Bird stays healthy, Jewell Loyd plays as well as she did in last year's title run, and 21-year-old Ezi Magbegor is able to fill in Natasha Howard's role. Stewart has won three championships and three Finals MVPs in one year since returning from a torn Achilles, and though Bird only played 11 games last season, she returned when it mattered. Magebgor will be the interesting piece as the second-year 6-foot-4 big will be thrown into the fire replacing one of the league's best defenders.

Washington Mystics

The Mystics will win the championship if Elena Delle Donne is fully healed from her back procedure, Myisha Hines-Allen builds on her runner-up Most Improved Player campaign from 2020, and Tina Charles plays like a star in a lesser role. Delle Donne had surgery in December and she'll miss the first three-to-six games of the season. Hines-Allen went from scoring two points per game two years to averaging north of 17, but will have to make up for the absences of Aerial Powers (free agency) and Alysha Clark (Lisfranc foot injury). Charles may be the most interesting new piece as she debuts for the Mystics after spending six seasons in New York. Can a Delle Donne-Charles frontcourt work?

NHL announces blank COVID protocol-related absences list .
The long-awaited day has finally arrived. When the NHL released it’s COVID Protocol Related Absences list on Monday evening, it contained no names. It is the first time since the list originally debuted at the start of the regular season that the contents has been empty. Granted, the list now only includes the 14 active playoff teams as opposed to all 31 clubs, but it still marks a major achievement in the league’s battle against the Coronavirus. © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports Of course, the final step toward a league-wide clean bill of health actually came with the elimination of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

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