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WNBA 2023 power rankings: Offseason winners and losers

The New York Liberty introduced new signings Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot in February. (Mike Lawrence/NBAE via Getty Images)

A lot has happened since the Las Vegas Aces won the 2022 WNBA championship. Superstars Breanna Stewart and Candace Parker left their teams in free agency, and the 2023 WNBA draft introduced future stars like Aliyah Boston and Diamond Miller to the league.

The 2023 season is just a month away, but before we dive into the slate of games, let’s take a look at who came out of free agency and the draft best positioned to succeed. Here are the offseason power rankings for all 12 teams.

1. New York Liberty

2022 regular-season finish: 7th (16-20)

The Liberty didn’t need to do anything in the draft to win the offseason — and they couldn’t, really, with one third-round pick. Their work in free agency was enough to give New York the top spot in the offseason power rankings. They traded for 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones before signing two-time champion Breanna Stewart and WNBA assists leader Courtney Vandersloot. That’s two former MVPs and an elite facilitator. Plus, the Liberty managed to do all of that without giving up Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney or Marine Johannès.

2. Las Vegas Aces

2022 regular-season finish: 1st (26-10)

Like the Liberty, the Aces had already cemented themselves atop this list thanks to a major free-agency signing. Picking up Candace Parker puts the defending champions in position to win another title. They also signed standout defender Alysha Clark and added roster depth, which was their lone weakness last season. The one knock against the Aces this offseason is the investigation into their handling of Dearica Hamby, who was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in January. Hamby, the two-time Sixth Player of the Year, accused the Aces in an Instagram post of mistreating her due to pregnancy. The organization later came under more scrutiny for allegations that they circumvented the salary cap.

3. Washington Mystics

2022 regular-season finish: 5th (22-14)

While the Liberty and the Aces had splashy offseasons, the Mystics made subtler moves. They return a core that includes Elena Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud and last year’s No. 3 draft pick, Shakira Austin, who is only going to get better after a great rookie campaign. In this month’s draft, the Mystics selected Stephanie Soares with the fourth pick and then traded her to Dallas in favor of 2024 and 2025 draft picks. That move could pay off for the future, as the next two draft classes are loaded with talent. Later in the second round of the 2023 draft, Washington selected South Florida guard Elena Tsineke, who has a lot of upside and could end up being a steal.

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The Sparks put together a strong offseason, including trading for Dearica Hamby. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

4. Los Angeles Sparks

2022 regular-season finish: 11th (13-23)

While other teams dominated free agency headlines, the Sparks quietly had an excellent offseason. Los Angeles re-signed Nneka and Chiney Ogumike, traded for Hamby and veteran guard Jasmine Thomas, and lured Azurá Stevens away from Chicago in free agency. The Sparks continued their string of good moves by drafting a playmaking point guard in South Carolina’s Zia Cooke with the 10th pick. They also grabbed Monika Czinano in the third round. The Iowa center could end up being a solid contributor off the bench and a complement to the Sparks’ less traditional bigs.

5. Atlanta Dream

2022 regular-season finish: 10th (14-22)

The Dream started their offseason by signing an elite guard in Allisha Gray, giving them one of the best backcourt duos in the league alongside 2022 Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard. Then they arguably had the best draft in the league, picking up two versatile players in Stanford guard Haley Jones and South Carolina forward Laeticia Amihere. The Dream are clearly building for the future, with a young core that can be dominant in a few seasons’ time. The one thing Atlanta is missing is a reliable big. Currently, they are relying on the development of players like Naz Hillmon to fill the hole in the post.

6. Indiana Fever

2022 regular-season finish: 12th (5-31)

Drafting Aliyah Boston is an automatic win, as the South Carolina star has the potential to be an all-time great for the Fever. Also in this year’s draft, Indiana added Grace Berger, Taylor Mikesell, LaDazhia Williams and Victaria Saxton. The 2022 draft included Destanni Henderson, Emily Engstler and NaLyssa Smith, three other players full of promise. After stocking up on college talent, the Fever have a young roster with potential for the future that could use veteran complements. The Fever already have one experienced guard in Kesley Mitchell, and in February they signed 2019 All-Star Erica Wheeler, who can contribute right away.

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After drafting Maddy Siegrist with the third pick, the Wings made some head-scratching decisions. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

7. Dallas Wings

2022 regular-season finish: 6th (18-18)

The Wings made a flurry of moves in the offseason and during the draft — some good, some bad and some puzzling. Starting with the good, Dallas traded for Diamond DeShields and re-signed Teaira McCowan. Losing Marina Mabrey to Chicago could be considered bad, but it allowed Dallas to acquire DeShields. The bad and confusing stems from the way the Wings used their plethora of draft picks. After selecting NCAA leading scorer Maddy Siegrist at No. 3, the Wings questionably drafted two shooters in Lou Lopez-Sénéchal and Abby Meyers while also trading for Stephanie Soares, who is coming off an ACL injury. That pick itself wouldn’t be considered bad if it wasn’t for the uncertainty the Wings already have at the post position.

8. Phoenix Mercury

2022 regular-season finish: 8th (15-21)

The best thing to happen to the Mercury this offseason wasn’t a free-agency signing or a draft pick. It was the safe return of Brittney Griner from Russia, where she was wrongfully imprisoned on drug charges. The fact that Griner wants to play in 2023 is a bonus for the Mercury. They also re-signed Diana Taurasi and Sophie Cunningham in free agency, and added Moriah Jefferson and Michaela Onyenwere, both of whom will be important while Skylar Diggins-Smith is on maternity leave.

9. Minnesota Lynx

2022 regular-season finish: 9th (14-22)

The Lynx were quiet in free agency, which was a concerning start to the offseason. But a successful draft has them in a good position to build for the future. With the No. 2 pick, Minnesota selected Maryland guard Diamond Miller, a player who is pro-ready and can contribute for years to come. They also added Maia Hirsch, a 6-foot-5 French prospect with guard skills and massive upside, UConn’s Dorka Juhász and South Carolina’s Brea Beal.

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Seattle selected a pro-ready guard in Tennessee's Jordan Horston with the No. 9 pick. (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

10. Seattle Storm

2022 regular-season finish: 4th (22-14)

The Storm had a rough offseason, losing Sue Bird to retirement and Stewart to free agency. That left Jewell Loyd as the piece around which to build their roster. Other than retaining agent Ezi Magbegor and acquiring Kia Nurse, things were quiet in Seattle. The Storm found success at the draft, picking up Jordan Horston with the ninth pick and South Florida’s Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeau, another intriguing prospect, in the second round.

11. Connecticut Sun

2022 regular-season finish: 3rd (25-11)

The Sun’s offseason also started poorly as they lost head coach Curt Miller and star player Jonquel Jones. But they did re-sign Brionna Jones, who was a priority in free agency, and they return a talented core of Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner and Natisha Hiedeman. The Sun also drafted LSU guard and national champion Alexis Morris, who fell to the second round of the draft but could end up being a major steal in the 2023 class.

12. Chicago Sky

2022 regular-season finish: 2nd (26-10)

Whether or not coach James Wade wants to admit it, the Sky are rebuilding. They lost Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azurá Stevens, Allie Quigley and Emma Meesseman after last season. Chicago did re-sign Rebekah Gardner and acquired Marina Mabrey and Isabelle Harrison, but they certainly lost more than they added. The Sky also had a quiet draft outside of selecting Virginia Tech guard Kayana Traylor, who has the skills to make an immediate impact despite falling to the late second round.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

Nelly Korda Continues Unprecedented LPGA Run

LPGA golfer Nelly Korda poses with Mizuho Americas Open trophy
Nelly Korda took home the title at the Mizuho Americas Open on Sunday. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Nelly Korda continued her unprecedented LPGA run on Sunday, winning her sixth tournament in the last seven starts. 

The 25-year-old Florida native took home the title at the Mizuho Americas Open, becoming the first LPGA player to record six wins in a single season since 2013 — and that’s with three majors and a little over half the season left to play.

"Oh, my gosh, six," Korda said after the win. "I can't even really gather myself right now with that, the head-to-head that Hannah and I had pretty much all day. Wasn't my best stuff out there today, but fought really hard on the back nine."

Korda is just the fourth player on tour to win six times before June 1st, joining LPGA Hall of Famers Babe Zaharias (1951), Louise Suggs (1953), and Lorena Ochoa (2008).

Should her victory run continue, Korda could break the current record for single-season wins, currently set at 13 by Mickey Wright in 1963.

Korda ended Sunday's tournament one shot ahead of Hannah Green, finishing the 18th with a par putt to win it all.

"I mean, to lose to Nelly kind of like is — it's sad, but then it's also Nelly Korda," Green said of her second-place finish. "You know, like she's obviously so dominant right now. To feel like second behind her is quite nice. Unfortunately the bogey on the last has a little bit of a sour taste."

Next up is the US Women’s Open, a tournament that Korda has yet to win in her career. 

"Obviously it's on the top of my priority list," she said. "I just know there is never any good when you put more pressure on yourself. Just going to stay in my bubble that week and take it a shot at a time."

Earlier this year, Korda became the fastest player to collect $2 million in prize money over a single season. This latest win earned her an additional $450,000, bringing her season total up to $2,943,708.

Caitlin Clark Signs Multi-Year Deal with Wilson, Gets Signature Basketball Collection

caitlin clark poses with wilson basketball
Clark is just the second athlete to get a signature basketball collection with Wilson. (Wilson Sporting Goods)

Caitlin Clark has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Wilson Sporting Goods that will include a signature basketball collection, the brand announced early Tuesday. 

According to Boardroom, Clark is just the second athlete to develop a signature collection with Wilson, with the first being Michael Jordan in the 1980s. In addition to her basketball collection, she will also "test, advise and provide feedback on a range" of related products. 

Three Clark-branded white-and-gold Wilson basketballs have already dropped. Each ball features laser-cut engravings of some of the guard's most memorable moments at Iowa, where she became the all-time leading scorer in Division I college basketball history.

Three Wilson basketballs from Clark's collection have already dropped. (Wilson Sporting Goods).

"I think it is super special, and it's been fun for me," Clark told Boardroom. "I feel like I was just that young kid who had those basketballs that I would store in the garage. I'm just very lucky and fortunate to partner with Wilson to create something that everyone can enjoy. It connects with a lot of generations, and it'll be fun to see kids walking around holding them."

The No. 1 overall pick at the 2024 WNBA Draft, Clark has been building up a slate of major endorsements since turning pro. Current partnerships include Gatorade and Panini, and she’s also close to signing a signature shoe deal with Nike worth a reported $28 million.

New York Liberty off to First 4-0 Start in 17 Years

sabrina ionescu of the new york liberty on the court
Sabrina Ionescu led the undefeated Liberty to a 74-63 win over Seattle Monday night. (Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

The New York Liberty are 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2007. 

The 2023 WNBA title finalists notched a 74-63 win over Seattle on Monday night, with Sabrina Ionescu dropping 20 points alongside eight assists. After the game, Ionescu told reporters she thought the team was coming together a bit easier than they did last year.

"I think having a year together, we don't nearly have to communicate as much on the court anymore," she said. "Because we can just play off one another and read. And that's obviously been the growth of this team, is being able to play a season together last year."

The team’s defense has also contributed heavily to the season's winning start. Last night, the Liberty held Jewell Loyd to just 13 points and nine rebounds. Loyd let the Storm in scoring, with only two other players in double digits, while Nneka Ogwumike missed her second straight game with an ankle injury. 

Storm free agency acquisition Skylar Diggins-Smith had eight points, and is averaging 14.5 points and 5.8 assists per game this season. In her postgame remarks, Storm head coach Noelle Quinn called on others to give her grace in her return. 

"There needs to be respect about the fact that she's had two children and hasn’t played in 20 months," said Quinn. "She’s not going to come overnight and be who she was 20 months ago and we have to respect that and honor that. And I do.

"My grace as a coach is to know she’s working her butt off every day. You guys don’t see it. Every single day. Two children. Not one, two. Not many can do that."

Australia’s Sam Kerr Ruled Out for 2024 Paris Olympics With ACL Injury

sam kerr playing for the australian womens national team
A longtime Matildas mainstay, Kerr has made 128 appearances for Australia alongside 69 career goals. (Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

Australia has confirmed that captain and star striker Sam Kerr will miss the Paris Olympics due to an ACL injury suffered early this year. 

Kerr, who also stars for Chelsea, tore her ACL in January. While unlikely that she would recover in time for the Olympics, Football Australia (FA) hadn’t confirmed her status until Tuesday when the team revealed its squad for upcoming warm-up games. 

In a statement, the FA said that Kerr remained on the sidelines and will continue her rehab program at Chelsea. 

"Attacker Amy Sayer (ACL) and forward Sam Kerr (ACL) remain on the sidelines with long term injuries," the report read. "Kerr and Sayer will continue their rehabilitation programmes in their home club environments and subsequently will not be available for selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

Tuesdays 23-player squad is a "strong guide" to the final Olympic lineup, according to coach Tony Gustavsson, but others like injured midfielders Katrina Gorry and Aivi Luik could potentially figure into the conversation. 

"[They] most likely will be physically available to be part of an Olympic roster," Gustavsson said of Gorry and Luik. "This window will be a tough one for me and my staff in terms of evaluating players, where they are, and then the final selection process for Paris."

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