WNBA Weekly Wrap: Aces up 4-0, Delle Donne off to impressive start

Published May 29, 2023, 5:00 PMPolo Bustamante

The Aces are now the only undefeated team in the league. Elena Delle Donne looks like she’s back to her old self with her explosive performances.

Game of the week

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned shootout. That’s what happened when the Seattle Storm hosted the Dallas Wings last week.

The new-look Storm were looking for their first win after dropping their opening game. With Breanna Stewart now across the country, the Storm are now led by their spitfire shooting guard Jewell Loyd.

On the other end of the floor was another explosive scorer in Arike Ogunbowale, the Wings’ leading player. After opening their season with a big win, Dallas was looking to keep momentum going against Seattle.

Loyd and Ogunbowale didn’t disappoint. They treated the Seattle fans to a showcase of their full offensive arsenal. Ogunbowale had it going from deep early in the game, dropping long bombs to lead her team to an early lead. The Dallas lead would balloon to as high as 17 points with the rest of the team joining Ogunbowale’s scoring outburst.

Loyd refused to get blown out. She teamed up with Ezi Magbegor to pull the Storm back into the game. The Storm fought back to within four points in the final moments of the game. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t find the buckets to even up the score and Dallas escaped Seattle with their second win. 

Loyd led all scorers with 30 points while Ogunbowale had 26.

Team in the spotlight

Plus-22.3. That’s the Las Vegas Aces’ average winning margin in their 4-0 start. After opening the season with a dominant showing over the Storm, the Aces continued to own the competition. They went 3-0 last week, sweeping all their West assignments.

The Aces needed a 30-point showing from Jackie Young to overcome the gritty Sparks in their first meeting. It took less than 24 hours but the Aces were able to figure out a game plan to destroy the Sparks in their next meeting.

All the team needed was for the MVP to assert herself.

A’ja Wilson took over from Young to lead the way with 23 points, six rebounds, and two blocks, scoring 19 points in the first half alone. With Wilson setting the tone, the rest of the team followed. They allowed only 28 points in the first half while exploding for 59 points of their own. That was the ball game right there.

Against the Minnesota Lynx, Wilson and Young combined for 44 points to get the easy win.

So far, the Sparks look like an unbeatable team. They’re deep, talented, cohesive, and downright scary. The ridiculous numbers they’re putting up to start the season are no lie. They’re that good.

Big-time baller

The last time Elena Delle Donne looked like Elena D’ Destroyer was in 2019 when the Washington Mystics won the WNBA Championship.

Since then, she’s sat out an entire season due to COVID-19 concerns, missed all but three games due to a back injury, and looked like a shell of herself – even if she played a whole season – as she continued to recover from the same injury.

This season though, it looks like EDD is back.

In four games so far, she’s averaging 21 points on 54.1 percent shooting. The scoring average is the highest it’s been since she put up 21.5 in 2016. Her shooting percentage is at a career-high number so far. In their three games this week, Delle Donne had a 19-11 double-double, a 27-point game, and a 25-point showing.

The Mystics are at a respectable 2-2 for the season. If Delle Donne continues playing the way she’s been, the team will soon rise out of respectability and into contention.

Watch out for…

Last season, only two players finished the season averaging more than 20 points per game, with Stewart leading the way at 21.8 points per game. This season, there are seven players averaging more than 20 points, and four players putting up more than the 21.8 that Stewie put up last season.

Ogunbowale is leading the way with 26.5 per game followed closely by Loyd and Stewart who are both averaging 26 per game. Young is putting up 23 a game. Brittney Griner (21.3), Delle Donne (21.0), and Satou Sabally (21.0) round out the players all averaging more than 20 a game.

The numbers might regress to the mean. Or all these players might continue having breakout seasons. Either way, enjoy all the 30-point and 45-point explosions from all these talented women.