WNBA / Jun 28, 2011 / 2:00 pm

The WNBA: Four Reasons To Care

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi (photo. NBAE/Getty Images)

The WNBA season tip-off passed by like the 10-year anniversary of the release of Final Fantasy IX – unnoticed. Despite all those clever “Basketball is Basketball” commercials, hoops fans were too busy hating on LeBron and Dwyane Wade‘s celebratory antics in Game 2 to pay much mind to the June 3 season opener between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx.

But now that Dirk Nowitzki‘s game-winning drives and Jan Vesely‘s smooch are distant memories, hoops fans need something new to satisfy their basketball fix. Now I know the WNBA might not seem sexy, but I’ve got four reasons for you to follow this summer’s campaign.

1. Maya Moore’s rookie season

Moore finished her career at UConn as one of the most iced-out players in NCAA history. The 6-0 forward grabbed three Big East Player of the Year awards, a pair of national championships, and the 2009 and 2011 Naismith College Player of the Year awards.

But now that Moore is in the big leagues, can she continue to dominate? The other night, the Minnesota starter showed she is still capable of making it rain, dropping 21 points in just 30 minutes of play. If she keeps that up, don’t be surprised if David Kahn tries to steal Moore for the T-Wolves and turn her into the eighth point guard on their depth chart.

2. The New York Liberty could end its championship drought

One of the eight original WNBA franchises, New York has reached the championship four times. But on each occasion, the Liberty left empty-handed. Could this be the year the squad finally brings home the trophy? My Magic 8-Ball says, “Cannot predict now.”

Despite Cappie Pondexter‘s 15.8 points per game, New York had a rough time picking up wins early on, starting the season 2-4. But the Liberty has begun to turn things around. Currently riding a two-game winning streak, New York sits just half a game out of second place in the Eastern Conference. If Pondexter and the rest of the squad can keep it up, the Prudential Center could finally get a taste of playoff basketball.

3. Lauren Jackson – is she the G.O.A.T?

Last season, the Seattle Storm’s Lauren Jackson cemented her legacy as one of the top players in the history of the league, becoming the third woman ever – along with Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes – to win three MVP awards. The 6-5 Australian could separate herself from the pack this season.

But history isn’t on her side. In the league’s 14-year existence, Cynthia Cooper is the lone baller to repeat as MVP. Jackson should have plenty of competition for the league’s top individual award, with Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, and Tina Charles on scoring binges. Also hurting Jackson’s chances is a hip injury that will sideline her for three weeks. The forward should have more than half a season to defend her honor when she returns, so look for her to quickly make up for lost time.

4. Diana Taurasi is ready to tear it up

Speaking of Taurasi, I fear for anyone who matches up against her this season. As if covering the former UConn superstar wasn’t already terrifying enough, Taurasi returns to the court this summer with renewed focus.

Nearly one year after she was arrested and charged with an “extreme DUI,” Taurasi was cut from her Turkish pro team this past winter after she tested positive for a mild stimulant. It was later revealed that the testing company had made a mistake, but the news did not come until after Taurasi had already repatriated. After a few months of extra rest in the States, Taurasi returns to the court for her eighth WNBA season. Watch out.

Will you check out the WNBA this summer?

Follow Martin on Twitter at @MartinKessler91.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Young Gunner aka Andius Oneicus: God Of Buckets

    Im a fan and I do watch the games (work permitting) but unfortunately, very few people here will pay attention to it. Its still basketball regardless of who is playing plus the women put on games just as good as the men do so I dont understand the negativity behind it

  • beiber newz

    ilona korstine then…candace parker now.

    if you haven’t heard of korstine..google image her. you may find her attractive.

    parker is the prettiest now.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    I don’t go out of my way to see a game, but if one of UConn’s finest is playing – Bird, Taurasi, Moore – I’ll definitely check it out.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    WNBA games are much better in person. I’ve been to a few Seattle Storm games, including the season opener this year against Phoenix, and it’s always a good time. For whatever reason, though, it doesn’t translate as well on TV.

    Honestly, I wonder how much of the negativity around the WNBA has to do with guys feeling threatened in a way. Every dope who plays pickup ball and tried out for his high school team thinks he was this/close to being in the NBA, and now here are these females getting paid to play ball that look beatable to him. It’s gotta be something deeper than just bad basketball. I’ve seen plenty of boys high school and men’s college games where the play is bad, but guys don’t bash them nearly as much as they will bash the WNBA.

  • Patrick

    The complaint is just that they get paid to play. As a walk on it always killed me when a woman got a scholarship. That being said I wouldn’t watch a middle school boys team play on tv unless it had the next whoever. The product is just not great and they play in too large of venues. Small time sports are excited when the fans care, and you are never going to fill a wnba arena.

  • http://bighitbattingcages.com Tom

    I really think more people should watch the WNBA. It’s true that basketball is basketball, and it’s just sad that there doesn’t seem to be many people watching.

    Also, for those of you that play sports and like to practice in your backyards, I’ve got a website on which I sell a wide variety of sports equipment. I’ve got everything from baseball pitching machines to lacrosse nets. Check it out at bighitbattingcages.com

  • This_Will_Hurt


  • sh!tfaced

    i will watch anything as long as its basketball. hoops is hoops no matter what.

    wish liz cambage were on another team like phoenix or san antonio and not all alone in tulsa. she’d be a beast on a good team.

    think a kid can learn a lot more watching the wnba, they are more fundamental and they keep the game simple. sometimes those damn highlights and flashy plays can be a distraction when someone is trying to learn the game… lol

  • This_Will_Hurt

    I’ll watch when they get the same spandex uni’s that volleyball players wear in high school and college.

  • sh!tfaced

    ^^^ think there’s a women’s league in australia that actually have those as unis.

  • http://www.wtf.com Chicagorilla


    THe Aussie womens team used to play in spandexx and trust me, it doesn’t look nearly as good as some of the volleyball chicks. Lauren Jackson was hot, but a few of the others did not need to be wearing spandexx out in public.

    I personally love watching the WNBA because I love basketball. But I can understand why some guys don’t want to watch. It’s not really that exciting, unless you are the type to get excited over back door passes or perfectly executed pick n rolls.

    The few teams that have players who can dunk like Candace Parker, Michelle Snow, and Slyvia Fowles are exciting to watch because at some point you think one of those women are going to get a breakaway dunk. It never happens…

  • Celts Fan

    The WNBA sucks. It’s boring and slow. I watch ball because I like seeing elite athletes do things that seem like we’re from a different species. When someone putting down a dunk that’d be booed if an NBA player like Bron or Vince did it on the break ends up on Sportscenter, that’s a perfect example of why I won’t tune in. I want to see the game played above the rim. Women are just inferior athletes to men (not being sexist at all, look at every single record in track and field – best test of pure, isolated elements of athleticism); the men beat the women’s record in them all.) Yes, Diana Taurasi would eat my children, but any top-shelf men’s athlete is better than a comparable women’s athlete. It’s genetics and the reason I don’t watch. Anything that seems like it’s a completely different game due to the distinct differences in athleticism will not cut it. It’s the same reason I don’t watch the MLS (unless I’m super bored) but will watch any quality European soccer match. I want to see the best or why bother?

  • NBA > WNBA

    Look, everyone has their opinions, and i respect that. But personally, NBA beats the WNBA in all catagories. Only reason I don’t like watching the WNBA is because it’s slow, boring, and just not exciting to watch. As for people saying WNBA players should be paid the same as NBA players, just stop, please. the WNBA, as a business, is non-profitable. But wait, who saves them? Yes, the NBA. Personally, i would rather spend my money watching the BEST rather than watching a bunch of women running around missing layups.

  • First & Foremost

    Yes the game is slower, below the rim, and most gyms are filled to 20% capacity but you have to know what to watch for. The same principles still apply. Positioning matters more than raw athleticism. I’ve been to several games. Most times I laugh at various players for barely being able to do something I’ve been doing for years but when you step back and watch the details of the game, it may surprise you.

    This year the Mavs rode their 2-3 matchup zone for key stretchs vs some talented teams. I’ve seen the Atlana Dream erase a 15 point deficit using the same zone. The Heat and Mystics, respectively just had no idea of waht to do when they faced a zone. Same basketball principles for a fraction of the price.

  • Kudabeen

    As much as I love it…and love to look as women be physical and play the game…When point blank shots are missed, fast break layup barely get over the rim, and the lack of cutting/explosive moves to finishes go on I tend to turn the channel in frustration then comeback in the 4th quarter. I used to watch all the time…I’ll try to pick it up again though.

  • First & Foremost

    So we are just going to act like Brendan Haywood and Joel Anthony don’t miss uncontested dunks. Didn’t Lebron drive down the left side of the lane on Terry, pull up for a 4 foot jumper that hit the other side of the backboard? When Chris Bosh went 1 for 18, not all of those shots were jumpers. Fellas miss some wide open shots too, above & below the rim. Jason Richardson hitting the back of the rim on breakaway dunks. Gooch Davis running 48 feet by hiself and then jumping too soon. It happens.

  • Celts Fan

    @first and foremost. Ya, it happens to everyone, but it happens.to them MUCH more than NBA players. This is indisputable