WNBA News, Notes & Lineups 5/21

May 21st 2023

John RaudebaughCooper Boni

Washington Mystics at Connecticut Sun, 1pm ET

Mystics Injury Report: Myisha Hines-Allen (knee) is OUT.

Mystics Confirmed Lineup: Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins, Brittney Sykes, Elena Delle Donne, Shakira Austin

Sun Injury Report: None reported

Sun Confirmed Lineup: Natisha Hiedeman, Tiffany Hayes, DeWanna Bonner, Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones

Washington came out looking as polished as any team to open the season, nearly blowing out the new-look Liberty. Natasha Cloud led the way, shooting 6-for-14 while totaling 14 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. Brittney Sykes impressed in her Mystics debut with 9 points, 9 boards, and 5 steals. The Mystics should be able to continue their strong start against a Sun team that let the Fever hang around on Friday. As for Connecticut, it’s a tough matchup against an elite defense. They’ll look to Alyssa Thomas to again log big minutes (38 on Friday) and generate offense. 

Indiana Fever at New York Liberty, 2pm ET

Fever Injury Report: None reported

Fever Confirmed Lineup: Erica Wheeler, Kelsey Mitchell, Victoria Vivians, NaLyssa Smith, Aliyah Boston

Liberty Injury Report: Nyara Sabally (knee), Marine Johannès (overseas) are OUT.

Liberty Confirmed Lineup: Courtney Vandersloot, Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones

Aliyah Boston exceeded expectations in her rookie debut on Friday; however, it will be an exponentially tougher task on Sunday. Boston may have been the headliner in their season opener, but the story was sloppy play and poor shooting from the Fever. NaLyssa Smith shot just 2-for-11 from the field, couldn’t get out of foul trouble, and tallied five turnovers. We should expect a better game from Smith on Sunday with big minutes once again from Kelsey Mitchell.

On the other side, it’s a get-right spot for New York. It was announced pregame that Courtney Vandersloot and Jonquel Jones would have minutes limits. Vandersloot played just under 27 minutes (averaged 26.5 in 2022) while Jones totaled 19 minutes after sitting out the entire fourth quarter. This seems like a matchup where Jones can continue to be eased in. If so, anticipate a big line from Breanna Stewart. In Friday's opener, Sabrina Ionescu led the team in usage at 30% and in points with 19, and could really get going early in this matchup.

Chicago Sky at Phoenix Mercury, 1pm ET

Sky Injury Report: Marina Mabrey (ankle), (Isabelle Harrison (knee), Ruthy Hebard (maternity leave), Sika Koné (illness) are OUT.

Sky Confirmed Lineup: Dana Evans, Courtney Williams, Kahleah Copper, Morgan Bertsch, Elizabeth Williams

Mercury Injury Report: Sophie Cunningham (knee) is PROBABLE. Megan Gustafson (foot), Shey Peddy (Achilles), Skylar Diggins-Smith (maternity leave) are OUT.

Mercury Confirmed Lineup: Moriah Jefferson, Diana Taurasi, Sophie Cunningham, Michaela Onyenwere, Brittney Griner

As if there was any doubt, Kahleah Copper let everyone know in her season debut that this is her team. She scored a game-high 20 points off of a team-leading 36% usage rate. Rookie Morgan Bertsch was fine in her debut start, recording 6 points, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. With Marina Mabrey being a late scratch, Dana Evans will have an opportunity for big minutes and an important role.

Brittney Griner was solid in her return, recording 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks in just 25.5 minutes. Griner played big first-half minutes but did not close as the game, by then, was largely out-of-hand. Diana Taurasi’s massive 39% usage rate should level out a bit Sunday as Sophie Cunningham will return to action. Cunningham's return should send Michaela Onyenwere back to the bench.