If you were enthralled by Caitlin Clark and other stars at the NCAA women’s basketball tournament in March, I have good news for you. The WNBA will begin its 2023 season on May 19, marking the 27th annual season for the league.
The premier stage worldwide for professional women’s basketball, the WNBA is a great next step for fans who were introduced to women’s hoops during March Madness. Plenty of women’s college basketball stars come to play in the WNBA. Most notably for 2023, University of South Carolina star Aliyah Boston was drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever.
Boston is widely regarded as the type of player who can change the face of a franchise and stand out among the league’s top talent. Indiana will need this sort of performance from Boston, as they are coming off of a 5-31 regular season performance in 2022.
The Eastern Conference is wide open this year, as last year’s regular season conference champion Chicago Sky have bled talent all offseason. Team icons Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot have departed, as well as Allie Quigley, Azurá Stevens and Emma Meessemen. Entirely this offseason, the Sky lost their numbers two, three, four and five scorers in terms of points per game. They will need to spend this year searching for new players to lead the way, and rebuilding for the seasons to come.
Looking to capitalize on this newfound vacancy in the East, The New York Liberty have taken the league by storm after making several high-impact free agency signings. After acquiring former MVPs Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart, as well as last year’s WNBA assist leader Courtney Vandersloot, The Liberty are now a popular favorite to win the league.
Last year’s WNBA Champion the Las Vegas Aces still look formidable, and are the favorites in the Western Conference. An already well-rounded team, the Aces decided to sign Candace Parker this offseason, who is among the league’s top talents. Parker will play alongside A’ja Wilson, making one of the scarier forward tandems in recent memory.
The Aces’ greatest competition in the West will likely come from the Los Angeles Sparks. LA was nothing to write home about in 2022, finishing 13-23, but the team is looking to make a playoff run after re-signing both Nneka and Chiney Ogumike. The Sparks also bolstered their lineup by signing Azurá Stevens from Chicago. While the team may not yet have reached its full potential, fans of the Sparks feel confident that their championship window is opening.
The Western Conference got a little bit tougher again in February when the Phoenix Mercury made it official that Brittney Griner would re-sign with the team and play in 2023. The star center was detained in Russia earlier this year, and following her safe release in a prisoner exchange, is looking to return to pro basketball.
The jury is still out on which teams will climb to the forefront of the 2023 WNBA season, but it appears to be up to the rest of the league to stop Las Vegas and New York.
The WNBA preseason starts on May 5, and the regular season begins two weeks later on May 19.