Lynx among many talented teams in WNBA this season

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2013 - 6:41 AM

The hype surrounding the WNBA is at a peak this season — when the talent alone could makes the league attractive to fans.

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Seimone Augustus, right, and Rebbekah Brunson are two of the veterans hoping to lead the Lynx to another WNBA title.

Photo: Bruce Bisping • bbisping@startribune.com,

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The WNBA has a new logo and a newly enhanced TV deal with ESPN, with all the hype and marketing that goes with it. ¶ But here’s the funny thing. The league, which will begin its 17th season Friday even though the Lynx don’t open until June 1, never has needed the hype less. Take a look at the rosters — especially in the deep Western Conference — and the feeling is the action will speak for itself. ¶ “This is the most anticipated season for me, other than the first year when the league started,” said Carolyn Peck, a former college and WNBA coach and now an ESPN analyst. “With not only the ‘Three to See’ [rookies Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins], but the coaching changes, the movement of some players.’’ ¶ The tall, athletic Griner joins a Phoenix team filled with stars who are healthy again. The Lynx return the core that has produced two consecutive trips to the league finals and one title and Los Angeles has improved. The Eastern Conference, while not as deep, should prove to be just as competitive. Here’s a look at the upcoming season:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Cream of the crop

1. Phoenix: Griner joins a deep team. Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree are healthy again. DeWanna Bonner was the league’s second-leading scorer in 2012. So what doesn’t Phoenix have? Time to jell? Enough basketballs to go around?

2. Lynx: The Olympic trio returns, Janel McCarville returns to her basketball home. But there is work to be done on depth.

3. Los Angeles: The West’s second-best team in 2012 got better. Now MVP candidate Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver have point guard Lindsey Harding.

Others in the mix

Tulsa: Diggins and former Lynx guard Candice Wiggins are big additions, and the Shock got word last week that Australian center Liz Cambage has decided to play this season.

San Antonio: Third in the West last year, injuries to Sophia Young (knee) and Becky Hammon (finger) could derail the Silver Stars.

Seattle: Veteran PG Temeka Johnson comes in to run the team and nurture the youth.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Cream of the crop

1. Indiana: The defending champs know how to play through injuries, and they’ll have to, with G Erin Phillips (knee), G Jeanette Pohlen (knee) and C Jessica Davenport (left leg) all set to miss the first month or more of the season. But Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings are healthy.

2. Connecticut: Four starters are back from the team that had the best record in the East last season, led by C Tina Charles, the 2012 MVP. But Asjha Jones, injured, is sitting this season out.

3. New York: Coach/GM Bill Laimbeer returns to the WNBA, and is banking on experience, bringing in F Cheryl Ford and G Katie Smith to augment high-scoring G Cappie Pondexter.

Others in the mix

Chicago: Delle Donne could be the addition that pushes the Sky into the playoffs for the first time.

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