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  • Writer's pictureSadahri Lindsey

2024 WNBA Pre-Season Rankings

The 2024 WNBA season is upon us! With so many eyes on the league this year (new and old), here are some pre-season rankings that can help bring you up to speed on the state of the WNBA this season.

#1- Las Vegas Aces

If you have been watching the WNBA for a while, you would know that the Aces are favored to be champions, for a third straight year. The core of A'ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young has been very hard to stop. Of course, they have lost in the regular season, but nobody has been able to stop them when it mattered the most, and that is in the playoffs.

The Aces lost a huge piece of their team in Candace Parker but, they are still stacked. Parker announced her retirement via Instagram one day into WNBA training camp. Even though she missed a huge part of the 2023 season due to injury, it was clear that she still played a huge part in leadership in the locker room. She gave the Aces a veteran influence on a mostly young team.

Dyaisha Fair with WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, after being drafted by the Las Vegas Aces in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Photo by Nala Burton for WSX.

The Aces also got busy in the draft this year, drafting Dyaisha Fair, Kate Martin, Elizabeth Kitley, and Angel Jackson. Liz Kitley won't play this season due to injury, but it was still a great pickup for the Aces, who needed some help in the post.

#2- New York Liberty

The Liberty were one of the few team in the WNBA to give the Aces a run for their money last season, but they had a collapse in the Finals against the Aces last season. The Liberty have a great starting lineup on paper, with Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, and Jonquel Jones. After a year of playing together and learning each other's strengths and weaknesses, they are also in the running for winning the championship this year.

The Liberty also did well in this year's draft. The Liberty picked up Marquesha Davis, Esmery Martinez, and Jessika Carter. The Liberty's GM, Johnathan Kolb, said in the beginning of the offseason that he had an emphasis on acquiring defensive-minded players off the bench, and it looks like he did just that in this year's draft.

#3- Connecticut Sun

The Sun are looking to have another successful season this year. They kept their core players together, DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas. Thomas is coming off of an MVP-caliber season, and Bonner had arguably the best season in her career. However, this duo is only getting older- Thomas is 32 and Bonner is 36.

However, the Sun's star center. Brionna Jones, will be back this season after being sidelined the entire 2023 season due to injury. That will give a huge boost to the Sun's post presence this year. They also picked up Tiffany Mitchell via a trade that sent Natisha Hiedeman to the Minnesota Lynx.

#4- Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury have had one of the best off seasons out of all the teams in the league. Coming off a losing season, the Mercury needed a breath of new life in the franchise. The Mercury acquired the biggest free agents; Natasha Cloud and Kahleah Copper. Last season, Cloud averaged 12 points and six assists for the Mystics. Cloud has always been a "pass first" type of player, and the Mercury will be able to capitalize on her passing ability. Kahleah Copper, who was with the Sky last season, put up 18 points and four assists a night.

The Mercury were pretty quiet on draft night, with only one pick in the third round. They used that pick to acquire Charisma Osbourne from UCLA. The Mercury have put together quite a roster for this season, and they will probably be contending for a title soon.

#5- Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm were another team that managed to put together a superstar roster this offseason. Seattle found themselves dead last in the WNBA last season, and they also needed a breath of new life in the franchise. Therefore, the Storm signed Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith, along with signing Jewell Loyd to an extension. These signings created a new "Big 3" in Seattle, who found themselves struggling after losing Sue Bird to retirement and Breanna Stewart, who left to go to the Liberty.

Seattle did well in this year's draft, even though they only picked up two players. Their biggest draftee was Nika Muhl, out of UConn. They also drafted Mackenzie Holmes, who also had a great senior year in Indiana. However, she will not play this season due to injury.

#6- Dallas Wings

The Wings have been one of the higher rated teams in the past few seasons. However, the fact that they will be without Satou Sabally for what could be half of the season takes so much away from them. They still have Arike Ogunbowale, who is a player any team would love to have in the clutch. They also have a very strong post presence with Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown. This team will still make a run for the playoffs, but they might have a low seed. If Satou comes back when she's predicted to, they will most likely have a slightly better seed.

#7- Indiana Fever

Words cannot describe the amount of hype that there is surrounding the Indiana Fever this season. The Fever got the number one pick of the draft, and they chose Caitlin Clark, the Iowa superstar. Clark has boosted the number of eyes on the WNBA tremendously, and the season hasn't even started yet. Many fans are calling her the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, simply because of her explosive shooting and how she's gotten many people to start watching women's basketball.

Caitlin Clark with WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, after being drafted first overall in teh 2024 WNBA Draft. Photo by Nala Burton for WSX.

The Fever also had the number one pick last season, and they picked Aliyah Boston out of South Carolina. The Fever have sort of built themselves a "Big 3", with NaLyssa Smith, Aliyah Boston, and now Caitlin Clark. Expect this team to make a push for the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

#8- Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream have one of the better teams of the WNBA on paper. They have former number one pick Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray, and now they have Jordin Canada on the team. The Dream also signed WNBA veteran Tina Charles to a one-year contract in the offseason. However, the Dream has made some questionable decisions as a franchise. The Dream had four picks in this year's draft, and it turned out that every player that they picked will not be coming over to the US to play in the WNBA this year. Added along with some questionable coaching from head coach Tanisha Wright, the Dream may fall short of making the playoffs this season.

#9- Minnesota Lynx

The Lynx have had one of the busiest free agencies of all the teams, singing Natisha Hiedeman, Courtney Williams, and Ruthy Hebard. They also drafted Alissa Pili this year. Hideman and Williams could possibly be the dynamic duo that the Lynx need to make a push for the playoffs this year. Obviously, it all depends on how the teams mentioned above perform during the season as well, but the Lynx also have a chance of missing the playoffs. Expect Napheesa Collier to put up MVP-caliber numbers again. They might not make a run as deep as they would like, because the amount of talent is so much more spread out across the league, compared to last season.

#10- Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks did wonderful in this year's draft, picking up Rickea Jackson and Cameron Brink. However, they lack a true leader as a point guard. Jackson and Brink will give the Sparks the post presence that they desperately needed, but now it is time to look for a point guard, specifically one that is a floor general. Unless one of the aforementioned teams has a terrible season, the Sparks will more than likely miss the playoffs this season.

#11- Chicago Sky

This season will be full of learning for the Sky franchise. The first full season without head coach/GM James Wade, the first season for head coach Teresa Witherspoon, and the first season for both Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese. These two players will provide Chicago with the help in the paint that Chicago needed last season. Like the Sparks, they desperately need some help from their guards. Marina Mabrey had a weird season last year, compared to what she did when she was with the Wings. Hopefully, after a year of being with Chicago, she has a better idea of what her role on the court is and how to capitalize on it.

#12- Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics are fully aware that this season will be a rebuilding year. In the offseason, general manager Mike Thibault send a letter to all Mystics season ticket holders stating that this season would be a rebuilding year. However, this season shouldn't be too bad. The Mystics did draft Aaliyah Edwards, and paired along with Shakira Austin, that should be a dynamic duo in the paint. However, the loss of Natasha Cloud will most definitely be felt this season, and the Mystics need to find someone that can fill that gap, sooner than later.

Aaliyah Edwards with WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, after being drafted by the Washington Mystics in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Photo by Nala Burton for WSX.

This season of the WNBA is looking to be one of the most exciting seasons we have seen in a long time, you do not want to miss this! Opening Day will be on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024.

The schedule of games is as follows:

Liberty vs Mystics, 7 PM EST (ESPN3)

Fever vs Sun, 7:30 EST (ESPN2)

Mercury vs Aces, 10 PM EST (ESPN2)

Lynx vs Storm, 10 PM EST (ESPN3)


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