May 12, 2023
Locked on Women’s Basketball: Preseason power rankings, Part 1
Jackie and Isabel piece together the murky middle tier of the WNBA power rankings entering the 2023 season.
It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. In this episode, host and The Next’s New York Liberty beat reporter Jackie Powell is joined by The Next‘s Isabel Rodrigues in the first half of their WNBA power rankings as the 2023 regular season approaches. The second half will be released on Tuesday, so stay tuned.
The duo briefly touches on the clear top three of Las Vegas, New York and Washington. Then they spend time digging through the mess that is the middle tier. They discuss the ceilings for Atlanta and Los Angeles as they hope to make large jumps, as well as the effect of some key personnel changes among both players and coaches that will affect the middle tier.
Isabel on who she has as her No. 4 team behind the top-tier trio:
I think that the 4-5-6 region is honestly probably the hardest place for me to really sort things out. There [are] a lot of questions to be answered, but right now I’m going with Connecticut at my No. 4. They managed to keep a couple of good pieces despite losing Jonquel Jones. I’m really high on Brionna Jones, probably more than most people. I really think that this is her opportunity to really make a big break. And they’ve shown that she’s a priority for them on that team.
So I think for Connecticut, it’s just going to be about finding those guards. Both a primary point guard to replace Jasmine Thomas, as well as a really consistent shooter. I mean, they’ve got a couple of really great options still on the board. Tiffany Hayes is really exciting in general, so if she stays healthy, and the other pieces start to fall in place, I think this could be a really solid team.
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Isabel on why she thinks Atlanta is poised for a major leap:
I have a lot of faith in Tanisha Wright, and particularly in this next year. The pieces that they had last year, the folks that they’ve acquired more recently. I think Haley Jones is going to be a great fit for them. I think of the teams that she could have ended up on, Atlanta is the one that I’m like, “Yeah, that that feels like a good place for her to build an actual WNBA career.” So I’m excited to see how that goes.
You know, Rhyne Howard is always fun to watch. And she had a more interesting overseas season [this year], she had a lot of three point shooting to do. So I’m curious to see how that element of her game continues to evolve this year. But I think they just have a lot of talent, and they have a good coach to guide that talent. I think they’ve got a good shot at it.
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To stay up to date with every episode of the podcast, subscribe on YouTube or wherever you listen to podcasts. Check back on Tuesday for Part 2 of the preseason power rankings. For all coverage related to the WNBA, click here.