DURHAM, N.C. – With the WNBA season now in full swing, there is by no means a shortage of former Blue Devils at the top of the league standings and individual leaderboards. Each week, GoDuke.com will update how the Blue Devils are faring in the professional ranks --
The 5-1 Connecticut Sun, aided by Jasmine Thomas and Lexie Brown, remain in first place even after experiencing its first loss of the season this past week. Following closely in second place are the L.A. Sparks and the likes of Alana Beard and Chelsea Gray at 4-1. Krystal Thomas and Monique Currie have helped the Washington Mystics to open the year at 5-3, putting them at fourth place in the current standings. Rounding out the teams featuring Duke alumnae, Karima Christmas-Kelly and the Wings sit in sixth (3-3), while Elizabeth Williams and the Atlanta Dream find themselves in seventh (3-3).
Checking in on the Power Rankings
Despite the current state of the standings, week four’s AP Power Poll has the Sparks as the WNBA’s top team with eight first place votes. The Sun comes in at second with six first place votes, with the Mystics currently occupying the number four spot.
Full listing here
Sun Open Season with Scoring Surge
With the help of two Duke alumnae, Jasmine Thomas and Lexie Brown, the Sun scored at least 100 points in three out of their first four games to open the season. Now averaging 94.0 points through six games, the Sun currently lead the league in points scored, as well as field goals (35.8), rebounds (40.2), and assists (22.2).
Williams and Dream hand Sun First Loss
This past Tuesday, Elizabeth Williams and the Dream delivered the Sun their first loss of the season. Williams scored four points and added a blocked shot in the Dream’s biggest win of the year, improving the squad to 3-3.
Jasmine Thomas Erupts for 25 Points
Thanks to a season high 25-point game from Jasmine Thomas, the Sun topped the Mystics, 88-64 on June 4.
June 4 Showdown Dominated by Blue Devils
The June 4 match-up between the Sun and the Mystics featured four former Blue Devils: Jasmine Thomas, Lexie Brown, Krystal Thomas, and Monique Currie. These four players combined to score 40 points in the contest, accounting for more than one-fourth of the game’s scoring.
Standout Week for Currie
Monique Currie is coming off her best week of the young WNBA season. In the Mystics’ 85-73 loss to the Las Vegas Aces, Monique Currie recorded a season-high 24 points. Currie also added eight rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. In another losing effort to the Sun on June 3, Currie reached double digits once again, contributing ten points and hauling in five rebounds.
Gray and Beard Continue to Impress
Chelsea Gray extended her early season dominance in the Sparks 77-69 win over the Minnesota Lynx on June 3. Gray tallied 15 points and six rebounds as the Sparks improved to 4-1. Alana Beard was also instrumental in the win, adding nine points, three assists, and one steal in the victory.
If your memory is a little hazy from yesterday, we got you covered🙃 @Candace_Parker with her first double-double of the season (19pts/10rebs) & @cgray209 leading the way with a game-high 6asts along with 15pts! #GoSparks #All4LA pic.twitter.com/o6ppeZx8p4— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) June 4, 2018
Williams’ Block Party
In a close loss to the Phoenix Mercury early in the week, Elizabeth Williams was a force to be reckoned with on defense, totaling three blocked shots. Williams also recorded seven points and four rebounds in the effort.
Blue Devils Among League Leaders
Through June 6, Duke alumnae continue to place themselves among the WNBA’s league leaders. Chelsea Gray remains first in the league in assists per game with 7.0, while Jasmine Thomas ranks fourth with 4.8. Gray’s also ranks eighth in steals (1.80), eighth in minutes (32.8), and just misses the top 10 in scoring, as her average of 17.8 points is good for 11th. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Williams’s solid week on defense lifted her to eighth in blocks, as she is now averaging 1.3 per game.
WNBA Announces New All Star Format
After 14 years of the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference All-Star format, the WNBA is making major changes to better showcase its players for the 2018 event in Minneapolis. Fans will have the opportunity to vote for 10 players of their own choosing, regardless of conference affiliation.
No more East vs. West... For the first time ever, @Verizon #WNBAAllStar Game 2018 teams will be drafted by two player captains, regardless of conference.— WNBA (@WNBA) June 6, 2018
Voting opens June 19 at 2 PM ET!
More about the new format & voting structure: https://t.co/wLZOG603EA pic.twitter.com/p35CqSsRA6
Eight Blue Devils Open on WNBA Rosters
This season, a total of eight Duke alumnae made final roster cuts across five different WNBA teams: Alana Beard (L.A. Sparks), Lexie Brown (Connecticut Sun), Karima Christmas-Kelly (Dallas Wings), Monique Currie (Washington Mystics), Chelsea Gray (L.A. Sparks), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun), Krystal Thomas (Washington Mystics), and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
Duke Sports Second-Most Players in WNBA
With final rosters being trimmed down on May 17, Duke opened the season with eight alumnae playing for WNBA teams. This is the second-most of any school in the NCAA, trailing only UConn, who has 17. The teams of former Duke players are 9-4 through week one.
Games to Watch
Two games in the upcoming schedule will feature former Blue Devils on both sides of the match-up. On June 12, Elizabeth Williams and the Dream will visit the L.A. Sparks, led by Alana Beard and Chelsea Gray. On June 13, Lexie Brown and Jasmine Thomas of the Sun will host Krystal Thomas and Monique Currie of the Mystics. This battle between the Mystics and the Sun will be broadcasted on ESPN 2 at 7pm ET.
Thursday, June 7 – Minnesota at Washington at 4pm
Thursday, June 7 – Connecticut at New York at 7pm
Thursday, June 7 – Seattle at Los Angeles at 10:30pm (ESPN 2)
Friday, June 8 – Atlanta at Las Vegas at 3pm
Friday, June 8 – Dallas at Indiana at 7pm
Saturday, June 9 – Minnesota at Connecticut at 2pm
Sunday, June 10 – Chicago at Los Angeles at 5pm
Sunday, June 10 – Atlanta at Seattle at 7pm
Tuesday, June 12 – Phoenix at Dallas at 8pm (live on Twitter)
Tuesday, June 12 – Atlanta at Los Angeles at 10:30pm
Wednesday, June 13 – Washington at Connecticut at 7pm (ESPN 2)
Thursday, June 14 – Indiana at Atlanta at 11:30am