Two weeks into the 2015 WNBA season, all eight Australians have hit the court for their four respective clubs.
PHOENIX MERCURY: 2-2, third in Western Conference
Both of the Mercury’s victories have come at home but they have bookended two road losses. Importantly, their two wins have come against conference rivals, including the ladder-leading Minnesota Lynx to keep them firmly in a top four position.
Leilani Mitchell- Averaging 12.3 points per game, Mitchell caught fire in a close loss to Indiana when she hit 8-14 from the field and a ridiculous 7-10 from the three-point line for a team-high 25 points. She had a personal 12-0 run in the second quarter to tie the match, knocking in four straight three’s. Mitchell has hit 11-22 overall from beyond the arc, the best percentage in the league and is also adding 3.3 assists a game with a total of just five turnovers.
Cayla Francis- In her debut season, Francis has already had a start at centre while playing in all four matches. She reached double-figures and shot 5-7 from the field in her first game before collecting nine points and ten rebounds against Minnesota. Her impressive work on the glass sits her second for the team in rebounds per game (5.8) and equal-first for offensive rebounds (1.5).
Tess Madgen- The guard was absent for Phoenix’s opening match of the season but has received minutes in the past three games. She drained three-pointers against New York and Indiana while her defence has been showcased by 1.3 steals per game which is just half a steal less than teammates who are on the court for triple the amount of time.
Read how Tess was faring in the lead-up to the season on her personal blog for Basketball Australia here: http://www.basketball.net.au/tess-madgen-blog-feeling-heat-phoenix/
SEATTLE STORM: 2-3, fourth in Western Conference
Both of Seattle’s victories have come against the winless Los Angeles Sparks while their average losing margin is 23 points. They have a chance to get their season on track with games against conference rivals Phoenix, Minnesota and San Antonio next week.
Abby Bishop- Already making serious improvements on her debut season, Bishop is averaging 15 more minutes per game compared to 2014. In their first clash against the Sparks, she exploded for 18 points on 7-12 shooting (including 4-9 from three-point range). Defensively, the forward is averaging a steal per contest while she recorded four blocks in their latest match against Connecticut.
Jenna O’Hea- Playing against her old team (the Sparks) in the season opener, O’Hea made her mark on the stat-sheet with eight points, three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. She added five points and five boards in their other victory while playing a season-high 31 minutes.
LOS ANGELES SPARKS: 0-3, fifth in Western Conference
Despite a light schedule to start the year, Los Angeles have lost three straight games to conference rivals. Their first halves have been impressive and they have actually taken leads into the main break in two of those games but an average second-half deficit of 17 points is hurting them.
Erin Phillips- Australia’s most current experienced WNBA player, Phillips’ 4.7 assists per game places her fourth in the league. She is also averaging nine points per contest after reaching double-figures twice while doubling her career average for rebounds with four a game.
Mariana Tolo- Improving on every game she has played, Tolo recorded three points and three rebounds in her debut before collecting five points and six boards a week later. In her most recent match, she hit double-figures in scoring on 5-6 shooting and has played a noteworthy 25 minutes per game so far.
NEW YORK LIBERTY: 3-2, third in Eastern Conference
New York have had one of the busiest starts, competing in five matches after playing two of the first three games on the season schedule. They have won their past two, including a solid win over Phoenix while they narrowly fell to the East’s best team, Washington.
Bec Allen- In devastating news, Allen has suffered a season-ending knee injury after playing just three games. In her debut, she nailed two three-pointers for 10 points and three assists in 21 minutes before collecting six points, three rebounds and three steals against Atlanta. The forward then played 14 minutes against Washington before disaster struck but she is determined to return, stating she has “unfinished business”.
Read what Allen had to say on her personal blog for Basketball Australia here: http://www.basketball.net.au/bec-allen-blog/