The 2023 WNBA season is underway. In the first game of the night, the Washington Mystics pulled off a surprisingly easy victory over the New York Liberty, who seemed totally out of sync in their first game together, in part due to the Mystics’ elite defense. Also in early action, the Connecticut Sun jumped out to a quick double-digit lead and ultimately stopped a comeback attempt by the Indiana Fever.

Later, the Chicago Sky capitalized on a sloppy performance by the Minnesota Lynx to pull off a double-digit win. In the final, Brittney Griner played her first game in 579 days. But while she played well, it wasn’t enough for the Phoenix Mercury, who lost to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Here’s a roundup of an interesting opening night.

Sparks 94 — Mercury 71: Finale

grinner returns

Brittney Griner missed the entire 2022 season while in custody in Russia on drug charges and didn’t return home until December. However, she made it clear right away that she wanted to play this summer and re-signed with Mercury in free agency. On Friday, she made her return to the court when she led her squad against the Sparks.

It didn’t take long for her to make an impact. She assisted on Mercury’s first basket, then hit a mid-range jumper to get on the board herself. In 25 minutes, Griner finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks.

Cooke impresses in his debut

10th overall pick Zia Cooke wasn’t one of the most hyped rookies of the season, but that will change quickly if she keeps playing the way she did Friday. The crafty point guard came off the bench to score 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and “saved the game” according to Chiney Ogwumike, who said most of the team was caught up in the emotions of Griner’s return.

Sun 70 — Fever 61: Finale

Boston makes its debut

Aliyah Boston is one of the most respected prospects to enter the league in recent years, making her Fever and WNBA debut on Friday at home against the Sun. At the University of South Carolina, Boston was named the 2022 Naismith Player of the Year and the 2022 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and led the Gamecocks to the national title in 2023.

He scored his first basket in the middle of the first quarter and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, though he ended up fouling out.

Thomas does it all

To little surprise, Alyssa Thomas did it all for The Sun. Without Jonquel Jones, Thomas will have even more responsibilities on her shoulders, but she is more than capable of carrying that load. She had 18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.

Mystics 80 — Liberty 64: Finale

Liberty’s New Super Team Isn’t In Sync Yet

Liberty did not look like a super team in their first game. They shot a pitiful 23 of 67 from the field and turned the ball over 20 times en route to just 64 points. Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, the two former MVPs they acquired in the offseason, finished with a combined 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting, while Courtney Vandersloot, another key addition, had nearly as many turnovers (four) as assists (six). ). ).

Delle Donne back to her prime

Elena Delle Donne told reporters before the season that she was once again at 100 percent after years of back problems. That certainly seems to be the case after this one. Delle Donne’s final numbers weren’t spectacular (13 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals), but she outplayed both Stewart and Jones and looked as good as before.

Master the Mystics defense

The Mystics had two all-defensive first-team performers last season in Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins and added Brittney Sykes in the offseason, who made the all-defensive second team. Add in healthy Delle Donne and Shakira Austin, and the Mystics have the makings of a dominant defense. They demonstrated it on Friday by closing the Liberty.

Sky 77 — Lynx 66: Finale

Copper leads the way

After five of the Sky’s top six scorers of 2022 departed in the off-season, the keys have been officially handed over to Kahleah Copper. In his first effort as a No. 1 option, he had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals to lead the Sky to a season-opening win.

Lynx flips it too

The Lynx don’t have a traditional point guard on the roster, which seems to be a problem based on the first game of the season. They turned it over a whopping 20 times, leading to 17 points for Sky. It’s just not possible to win when you cough the ball that often.


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