Well, Chicago looked pretty good in a blowout win and the WNBA’s worst team from a year ago also started 2013 undefeated, but Brittney Griner may have made the biggest headline as she recorded two of the now five dunks in league history Monday. That didn’t take long.
Brittney’s debut went according to script in the sense that she dunked and once in a way that was pretty emphatic and entertaining. However, there was a plot twist in the form of WNBA Finals favorite Phoenix losing by 22 at home to the Sky. This Odeen Domingo article on azcentral.com indicates that Griner expected it to take a while for the team to play at a high level, but it was still a bit surprising to see the Mercury lose by that much in their opener.
Nevertheless, Griner’s numbers were solid in the end: 17 points and 8 boards. And after just one game, it seems that the belief that she will completely change the WNBA has been confirmed. Here’s a piece by azcentral sports’ Paola Boivin from the morning of Brittney’s debut about the impact she may have on the culture of women’s basketball in the Phoenix area specifically.
Meanwhile, Elena Delle Donne had the best debut of any of the “Three to See” with 22 points, 8 rebounds and the victory over Griner. Skylar Diggins followed up her first WNBA stat line (15 points, 3 assists) with 9 points and 11 assists in her home debut – an overtime loss to the Mystics.
Mystic and former Shock guard Ivory Latta was the top scorer in that contest with 27, including a clutch three with 2:21 remaining in regulation after which Washington never trailed again. Here’s a piece on Latta by The Washington Post’s Mark Giannotto from Sunday. She seems like the perfect offseason acquisition so far.
Latta led the Mystics with nearly 42 minutes played, while the team’s starting shooting guard, No. 4 overall pick Tayler Hill, played just over 20 minutes – the least of any starter. Hill was 1 for 4 from the field with a three-pointer as her lone basket. It may not have been a picture perfect debut for the rookie out of Ohio State, but check out some quotes from Mike Thibault in this Ben Standig article on csnwashington.com and Albert’s take on it to see why Hill starting may still be a good idea.