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WNBA Season 2024 Preview: What Plays to Watch

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WNBA Season 2024 Preview: What Plays to Watch
The WNBA Season 2024 is gearing up for a banner year: File Image

The WNBA Season 2024 is gearing up for a banner year. The league’s inaugural game follows a record-breaking women’s collegiate basketball season, in which more people watched the women’s championship game than the men’s.

Now, when some of those collegiate stars, including Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese, make their formal WNBA debuts as rookies, the WNBA will begin play on Tuesday, seeking to capitalize on that excitement.

The WNBA hopes to expand on the success of its 2023 season, which was the most viewed in more than two decades, with viewing up 21% and attendance up 16% from 2022. And now, the league is considering expansion in 2025 and 2026.

The regular season will last until mid-September, with a break for the Paris Olympics in July and August, where dozens of players will compete. The playoffs will run from late September to October.

Here’s something to watch for as the The WNBA Season 2024 begins this week:

Most Valuable Player

Negley: A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
Wilson mentioned her fourth-place MVP vote again during a preseason Zoom call with reporters. That fueled her through a career-best playoff performance (23.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.4 spg, 2.3 bpg) and she wore the MVP votes total on her second championship parade T-shirt. The Aces collectively run best on negative outside noise — perceived or real — and Wilson appears hungry for the trophy after losing it last year. It should be a great battle between Wilson, Breanna Stewart and possibly Alyssa Thomas again.

Laase: A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
It’s hard to believe Wilson didn’t collect her third MVP trophy last season after putting up career numbers and leading the Aces to their second WNBA Championship. Her stats should be similar this season, and the Aces are the favorites to win a third title in a row. If that happens, it will be because of Wilson leading the charge on offense and defense, and voters should take note.

Rookie of the Year

Negley: Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever
Clark is a generational talent whose game is already translating well to the WNBA. More importantly, she’s stepping into a fantastic situation. Indiana began its rebuild a few years ago and has the foundation already set under second-year head coach Christie Sides. I expect Clark to rank top five in assists as the Fever settle in around her.

Laase: Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever
I can see Rickea Jackson or Angel Reese making a run for the Rookie of the Year award, but Caitlin Clark is in the perfect position to win it. All eyes will be on the Fever, a team that should make a significant jump this season, and Clark will play an important role in that rise. Aliyah Boston won last year, and I expect her new Fever teammate to do the same this season.

Coach of the Year

Negley: Christie Sides, Indiana Fever
This only has a little to do with Clark. Indiana flirted with a playoff spot last year in Sides’ first season and played close contests against Las Vegas and New York. It’s hard to emphasize how important those minor improvements are to a franchise accustomed to struggling. Clark immediately improves the team, but it takes a good coach to put it all together and keep it going.

Laase: Noelle Quinn, Seattle Storm
The Storm went to work this offseason, picking up Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike. They join Jewell Loyd to make up a powerful Big Three that should help the Storm to a playoff run. Quinn’s squad has the personnel and potential to go from 11-29 last season to a playoff team. If she can get this team to jell, while developing players like Jordan Horston, Ezi Magbegor and Nika Muhl, I like her chances to win Coach of the Year.

Defensive Player of the Year

Negley: Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
Thomas is one of the league’s toughest defenders who can guard every position and often does. (Ahem, she faces off against the ROY favorite to start the season on Tuesday.) The 11-year veteran stepped up last year, averaging career highs in most categories, including steals (1.8, ranking fourth). Having center Brionna Jones back from an Achilles injury that kept her out last season will help the Sun improve on both sides of the ball, and Connecticut was already the league’s best defense last year.

Laase: A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
Part of the reason Wilson is my prediction for MVP is because of her defensive prowess. She’s equally important on both sides of the ball, which is why she’s my pick for DPOY as well.

Sixth Player of the Year

Negley: Kayla Thornton, New York Liberty
It’s not always clear during preseason what a team’s standard starting five will look like, and this honor could easily go to Alysha Clark again. That would make six Aces players winning it in a seven-year stretch. Thornton was in line a few times in Dallas for the Sixth Player award and will be a key contributor off the bench for the Liberty again this year. She’s one of their best defenders, averaging the second-most steals per 40 minutes on the roster.

Laase: Rebecca Allen, Phoenix Mercury
Over the last three seasons, Allen has been both a starter and a bench player for the New York Liberty and the Connecticut Sun. She started the most games of her career last season for the Sun (27) and provided a lift as a 3-point shooter and defender, using her length to get off contested shots on offense and to alter them on defense. Now with the Mercury, Allen will likely come off the bench behind Sophie Cunningham, but her skill and experience will remain the same, allowing her to thrive.

Most Improved Player

Negley: Karlie Samuelson, Washington Mystics
Overseas success can be a good predictor of WNBA improvement, and Samuelson is coming off a EuroCup Finals MVP playing with the London Lions. It’s the veteran guard’s first season on a guaranteed contract and I see her taking off in a starting role, even though the Mystics aren’t expected to make much noise. She is one of the game’s best 3-point shooters (42.6%) and should improve on the 7.7 ppg, 3 rpg and 2 apg of her breakout season with Los Angeles.

Laase: Dana Evans, Chicago Sky
Evans has seen her minutes increase every year she’s been in the league. She played 21.5 off the bench for the Sky last season, but Chicago coach Teresa Weatherspoon has made it clear that Evans will be her team’s starting point guard. In her first season as a starter, Evans should improve upon her 9 points and 3 assists per game, putting her in position to win the award.

Postseason outlook

Negley: The battle for the No. 1 seed came down to the final weeks last year, and I see that happening again. The Aces have to play Phoenix and Seattle more than New York will, which puts the Liberty in the No. 1 spot. A full training camp and second year together to build chemistry helps New York’s case.

I’m high on Indiana’s offense with Clark at the helm and her pick-and-roll game with Boston. If NaLyssa Smith weren’t out for a few games with a stress fracture in her foot, Indiana would have been a playoff team last year. So jumping a few spots doesn’t seem that drastic. Seattle and Phoenix bulking up their rosters with All-Stars puts them each over Dallas, a top-four team in 2023 that will have to go without injured forward Satou Sabally for most of the season.

Laase: The Aces are my favorite for the No. 1 seed and the WNBA title until someone else proves otherwise. With the way Las Vegas has dominated over the last two seasons, I can’t with good conscience put any team over them at this point. After that, I like the Storm to make a big jump and can’t wait to see the Notre Dame guard duo of Loyd and Diggins-Smith playing alongside Ogwumike.

Source: Yahoo News

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Boxing Legend Mike Tyson Recovering after Inflight Medical Emergency

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Mike Tyson Recovering
Mike Tyson: Getty Images

Boxing legend Mike Tyson was recovering Monday after getting ill on a flight from Miami to Los Angeles the day before, according to his agents. The 58-year-old boxing legend “became nauseous and dizzy due to an ulcer flare up 30 minutes before landing” on Sunday.

“Thankfully, Mr. Tyson is doing great,” the statement read. “He is appreciative to the medical staff that were there to help him.”

First responders met American Airlines flight 1815 as it landed at LA International Airport “due to the medical needs of a customer,” according to an airline statement.

Tyson is planning to fight Jake Paul, a 27-year-old social media celebrity turned boxer, this summer at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which seats 80,000 people. Netflix will broadcast the fight live, marking a first for the streaming platform.

Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He retired in 2005, but most recently competed in an exhibition versus Roy Jones in California in November of 2020.

Mike Tyson emerged on the boxing world as a fearsome and intimidating heavyweight. With his bald head, fierce scowl, and explosive power, he rapidly gained the nickname “Iron Mike.” In his prime, Tyson’s mix of speed and knockout punches made him an unstoppable force in the ring.

He won his first 19 professional fights via knockout, 12 of which came in the first round. At the age of 20, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history. His reign of terror included the 91-second demolition of Michael Spinks and the 93-second annihilation of Carl Williams. Tyson’s savage attitude and ability to stop fights with a single strike made him must-see television.

However, Tyson’s life outside of the ring was turbulent. He suffered legal challenges, jail time, and personal difficulties. Losses, controversies, and an infamous 1997 bite fight all contributed to the end of his great career. Despite his shortcomings, Tyson enthralled spectators with his sheer power and left a lasting impression on boxing history.

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson trade insults

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson: Getty Images

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson trade insults

Jake Paul and Mike Tyson hurled obscenities and expletives as they previewed their fight just a few football fields from the planned June clash at the Dallas Cowboys’ 80,000-seat stadium.

In terms of substance, Thursday night offered little.

Paul denied that the 27-year-old social media star-turned-boxer still hasn’t faced a serious opponent, while Tyson just declined to answer a question regarding his age. The former heavyweight champion will be 58 years old when the match takes place on July 20 at AT&T Stadium.

“I haven’t seen too many people criticizing it. Look at this,” Tyson added, referring to the rowdy audience at an entertainment establishment near the fight location.

When a reporter mentioned there were detractors, Tyson responded, “Who? Please name me someone. You? Who?”

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has approved the fight as a professional battle, although it will only last eight two-minute rounds rather than ten or twelve three-minute rounds. The gloves will be heavier (14 ounces instead of 10), reducing the force of punches.

Tyson retired in 2005, but he most recently competed in an exhibition against Roy Jones in California in November 2000, which was not considered a professional bout. Tyson was largely agitated by the scene and the questions, particularly when asked what it meant to have the opportunity to fill AT&T Stadium.

“I was doing this years ago, so this is nothing new to me,” said Tyson, who won 50 fights and 44 knockouts before retiring. “This is new to this young boy over here.”

Entering to loud boos, Jake Paul responded with bad language and rude gestures before encouraging and leading the pro-Tyson audience in an expletive-laden chant.

“I hope you all keep that same energy when I knock this old man out,” stated Paul.

Paul has nine wins in ten fights, including three since his sole defeat to Tommy Fury, the teenage half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. One of his most recent victories was against former UFC fighter Nate Diaz in nearby Dallas.

“In due time, I will be fighting for a world championship,” Paul responded to the idea that he hasn’t fought a genuine opponent, which prompted Tyson’s ire. “And I will be making you eat your own words.”

Netflix is broadcasting the fight live, marking a first for the streaming service. Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano are the co-main event in a repeat of their fight at Madison Square Garden two years ago.

Paul amassed a sizable fan base as a YouTube influencer before pursuing a professional boxing career four years ago. Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

“I respect Mike,” Paul stated. “But it is time. It’s my turn now. “I will be remembered as the man who defeated Mike Tyson for the final time.”

Source: AP

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Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

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butker
Harrison Butker | AP News Image

Harrison Butker, a Kansas City Chiefs kicker, had no remorse about expressing his ideas in a recent commencement speech. He claims to have received both support and “a shocking level of hate” from others.

Butker spoke Friday night at the Regina Caeli Academy Courage Under Fire Gala in Nashville, Tennessee.

butker

Harrison Butker | AP news Image

Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

He made his first public remarks since his controversial recent commencement speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he said most women receiving degrees were probably more excited about getting married and having kids; argued some Catholic leaders were “pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America;” referred to a “deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it” in an oblique reference to Pride month; and took aim at President.

“It is now, over the past few days, my beliefs or what people think I believe have been the focus of countless discussions around the globe,” Butker stated on Friday. “From the start, many people displayed alarming levels of hatred. However, as time passed, even those who disagreed with my ideas supported my religious freedom.

Butker said that he understands criticism for his on-field performance. The 28-year-old stated that he cherishes his religion more than football.

“It’s a decision I’ve consciously made and one I do not regret at all,” he stated.

butker

Harrison Butker | AP News Image

Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

The NFL has distanced itself from Butker’s remarks, stating that the comments and “views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said the three-time Super Bowl champion is entitled to his ideas, even if he doesn’t always agree.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce spoke about Butker on his “New Heights” podcast, saying he values him as a teammate.

butker

Harrison Butker | AP news Image

Harrison Butker Has No Regrets About Expressing His Beliefs During Recent Commencement Speech

“When it comes down to his views and what he said at (the) commencement speech, those are his,” said Kelce. “I can’t say I agree with the majority of it, or any of it, except from him loving his family and children. And I don’t think I should condemn him based on his beliefs about how to live life, particularly his religious beliefs; that’s just not who I am.”

Kelce hosts the podcast with his brother Jason, who recently retired following a stellar career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

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Ferrrari | AP News Image

MONACO — Ferrari increased its win total from last season, while Charles Leclerc broke a two-year drought in Formula One with victory from pole position at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Ferrari and McLaren are in a position to challenge Red Bull after eight races this season. This provides optimism for more competitive racing for all F1 fans.

“It’s exciting, and I hope it continues like this for the rest of the season,” Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur said following Sunday’s race. “It will be up and down until the end.”

It wasn’t last season that Max Verstappen broke his own F1 record with an incredible 19 victories for Red Bull. His teammate Sergio Perez won twice, and the only non-Red Bull driver to win was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

ferrari

Ferrari | AP News Image

Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

Leclerc and Sainz have one win each this year, as does McLaren’s Lando Norris. Red Bull now leads 5-3, with all of Verstappen’s victories, while Leclerc’s pole in Monaco on Saturday stopped Verstappen’s bid for a record-extending ninth consecutive pole.

Vasseur believes the momentum may be shifting.

“You have a kind of snowball effect,” Vasseur remarked. “You have to continue like this.

The 55-year-old Frenchman had known Leclerc since they worked together at Sauber in 2018 when Leclerc made his Formula One debut. They were reunited when Vasseur took over at Ferrari in December 2022, but Leclerc failed to win a race last year despite qualifying well with five pole positions.

Some of Leclerc’s performances were erratic. He made some sloppy blunders and lacked the calmness to match his undeniable speed: Leclerc and Verstappen are regarded as the fastest in Formula One.

Vasseur felt Leclerc was placing too much strain on himself, especially in Monaco. It’s where Leclerc grew up and, much to his dismay, where he had yet to finish on the podium before Sunday’s victory.

With family and friends watching him, especially Prince Albert, Monaco felt like a curse to Leclerc.

He qualified on pole in 2021 but could not start owing to a mechanical issue.

It was already frustrating, but the worst was yet to come.

ferrari

Ferrari | AP news Image

Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

Leclerc led from pole in 2022 until Ferrari’s previous leadership made an unpredictable and erroneous decision to change his tires after 22 laps, costing him an odds-on victory.

Given all of this, Vasseur believes Leclerc’s victory on Sunday will free him up mentally.

“Winning in Monaco was a huge relief for him. “I think this one can help him,” Vasseur added. Last year, he felt a little nervous. This time, he was much more relaxed from the start

Leclerc concurred, stating that he slept quite well on Saturday night — but this was partially due to what he ate.

When he arrived home, Leclerc made a snap decision: disregarding his dietary restrictions, he ordered a massive pizza.

“I ate like crazy last night. I came home too late and couldn’t cook, so I ordered my favorite pizza, which isn’t the finest preparation for a marathon,” he explained. “But I thought, ‘OK, maybe mentally it will help me relieve some of the pressure.'” Yes, that’s it. I slept well.”

His favorite pizza?

ferrari

Ferrari | AP News Image

Leclerc’s Win Removes Monaco Millstone. Ferrari Boss Hopeful The Gap To Red Bull Is Closing

Margherita is a traditional recipe with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves, to which Leclerc adds his twist with “prosciutto crudo” (Italian dry-cured ham).

“Never pineapple,” he explained.

With the Monaco millstone gone, a refueled Leclerc can concentrate on climbing to the summit. He is second overall, 31 points behind three-time Formula One champion Max Verstappen.

Leclerc is convinced that his collaboration with Vasseur will be effective.

“He has a clear vision of what he wants to do and how he intends to accomplish it. “That’s his strength,” Leclerc explained. “I’ve always been completely aligned with how he wants to do things.”

The next stop for Ferrari is the Canadian Grand Prix, which takes place in two weeks.

Leclerc has good memories of Montréal, where he secured his second of 34 career F1 podiums in 2019.

SOURCE – (AP)

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