Starting Five: Takeaways from WNBA 2023 Opening Weekend

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

The opening weekend of the 2023 WNBA season is in the books. Each team has played at least one game with five teams having taken to the court on two occasions this past weekend. 

Those four teams were the Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, Washington Mystics, Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever with Connecticut and Chicago coming out of the W’s first weekend of the 2023 campaign unblemished through two games. 

It may have only been the opening weekend of the season, but given the level of play we saw from our 12 teams, it was giving midseason form. Here are five takeaways from the WNBA’s opening weekend. 

BG is Back

Of course, the BiGgest story of the start of the 2023 WNBA season was Brittney Griner’s first time on a WNBA court since the 2021 Finals. 

Griner’s comeback tour has began with a pair of impressive performances. It was an 18-point outing for her in the season opener against the Los Angeles Sparks and a 27-point performance in Phoenix’s home opener vs. the Chicago Sky. 

BG finished with a double-double as she added 10 rebounds to her total. 

While the individual performances may have been stellar, Griner will be the first to tell anyone that they were not enough because both Mercury games this season have resulted in losses for the Merc. Phoenix’s next opportunity to earn its first win of the season will occur on Thursday evening when the Minnesota Lynx will pay a visit to the Valley.

Stewie Makes History

With all of the hype that was built during the offseason about the New York Liberty being one of the two WNBA “superteams,” a bit of air had to come out of the Liberty’s seafoam, black and copper-colored balloon on Friday evening. 

That was when New York made the short trek down I-95 for a stop at Washington. That contest was all Mystics from the second quarter on and it resulted in a resounding 80-64 victory for the Stics. 

Game No. 2 on the Liberty’s 2023 slate was at home at Barclays Center vs the Indiana Fever in front of a sold out crowd of over 8,500 fans. In that contest, the Liberty looked more like the superteam many a pundit says they will be. A big reason was Breanna Stewart’s 45 points in three quarters. 

If she had played the fourth quarter, she could have easily set the all-time WNBA single-game scoring record that is currently held by Liz Cambage. She tallied 53 in 2018 when she was a Dallas Wing – ironically – at the Liberty’s expense.


As of this writing, two teams have won their first two games. One may not be a surprise but the other may make one raise eyebrows. 

Despite losing Jonquel Jones to New York and Jasmine Thomas to the Los Angeles Sparks, many a WNBA pundit still had the Connecticut Sun as potential playoff contenders. After all, it is a team that still has Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner. The Sun were 70-61 winners to stave off a comeback effort by the Indiana Fever and were 80-74 winners in the team’s home opener against Washington. 

A 2-0 start was not what many a WNBA pundit was expecting from the Chicago Sky. Ask anyone prognosticating the Sky and the word “rebuild” was likely to come out of their mouths prior to the start of the season. Chicago has instead used the words of many a doubter as bulletin board material and it has manifested itself through the first two games. 

Thanks to a new-look cast that includes Alanna Smith, Rebekah Gardner, Elizabeth Williams, Courtney Williams, Dana Evans and former Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, the Sky defeated the Lynx 77-66 in a Canada Game rematch then 75-69 vs. the Mercury – with both games coming on the road.

The Other Superteam

We have seen what the Liberty have done so far through two games. It may have taken two games for New York to resemble the superteam many a WNBA pundit predicted them to be, it only took one for the Aces to send a message that the road to a championship still runs through Sin City. 

Las Vegas was the odds-on-favorite in its season opening contest with the Seattle Storm. Over 11,000 were at Climate Pledge Arena for the home opener of the new look Storm. 

Despite no Becky Hammon on the sidelines because of her two-game suspension by the WNBA for the Dearica Hamby controversy, It was all Aces all the time in the Emerald City.

Some defending champions experience massive changes in an offseason due to salary concerns and/or cap constraints. Las Vegas kept almost its entire core intact – and added a two-time champion in Candace Parker. If that is not the definition of scary hours, who knows what is? 


WNBA … we need a Rookies vs. Sophomores game as part of All-Star Weekend and we will not stop until we get it. 

With all of the young talent there is in the game and the young talent that is still filtering its way into the W’s ranks, many a rookie is coming into the league with the skillset of many veterans. 

Aliyah Boston so far is living up her expectations of being a No. 1 overall pick. Even though the Fever have started the season 0-2, Boston has posted 15-point performances in both of Indiana’s matchups this season. In the game against Connecticut – a 70-61 loss for the Fever, she also came within one rebound shy of a double-double. 

Another South Carolina Gamecock also made her presence known. With Dawn Staley in the stands cheering on Zia Cooke (and welcoming back Brittney Griner), she was part of the well-oiled machine that was Curt Miller’s Los Angeles Sparks in what was a 94-71 win for Tinseltown over the Valley. 

Cooke finished with 14 points – in only almost 15 minutes of play. 

And while the Lynx may have been on the receiving end of a 77-66 decision to the Sky, Maryland’s Diamond Miller also had herself an impressive outing in her debut to the W. She finished with nine points and seven rebounds in what was another clear sign that the WNBA’s future is brighter than ever.