Sabrina Ionescu stole the show, but she wasn’t alone in making a significant impact on night one of the WNBA season.
(She did have 25 points, 11 assists, and a buzzer-beater reminiscent of Kobe Bryant, whose jersey she wore heading into Barclays Center, though.)
But aside from the New York Liberty beating the Indiana Fever 90-87, who were actually led by 30 points from Betnijah Laney, the league spawned other spectacular showings on opening night of their 25th season.The Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury engaged in a back-and-forth showing where Diana Taurasi — who’s out here still gettin’ buckets — washed away a struggling 2-for-12 shooting performance by drilling the game-winner on attempt No. 13. But the gall, the confidence, to stare Kayla McBride in the face on her Minnesota Lynx debut and launch off a behind-the-back dribble pull-up from about 30-feet away with a few seconds left — dayum. (The clock froze at 6.8.)
Taurasi and McBride had a great head-to-head three years ago that this moment might’ve brought you back to. The Mercury won 77-75, and their starters, all of whom finished in double figures, combined for 72 points.
The post-Candace Parker-era didn’t start off well for the Los Angeles Sparks, with Allisha Gray and Arike Ogunbowale combining for 40 points. Gray and Ogunbowale shot a combined 13-of-27 and spoiled Derek Fisher’s 2021 home opener by continually getting into the lane with ease.
And Jonquel Jones bullied her way to 26 points and eight rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting for the Connecticut Sun in a 78-67 win over the Atlanta Dream.
But the Dream did feature the first all-Black women broadcast in WNBA history just days after co-owner Suzanne Abair said they’re, “not betting on women, (they’re) investing in women.”
Today, Parker makes her debut with the Chicago Sky, and the WNBA Finals 2020 match-up of the Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces will have their rematch.
And here’s your PSA for the day: A WNBA full-season League Pass is $16.99. That’s a whole season. For 17 bucks. That’s … a Taurasi steal.