As the biggest and best professional women’s basketball league in the world, the WNBA is famous for producing some of the hottest talent on the planet. The likes of Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings have graced the league with their presence in the past and provide inspiration for today’s generation.
Following the league’s 25th anniversary in 2021, the good news for fans is that there are many excellent players ready to follow in the legends’ footsteps.
Here are five WNBA players who have made waves in the league this year.
Rhyne Howard (Atlanta Dream)
Just out of playing college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats, a stint in which she was named USBWA National Freshman of the Year and twice the SEC Player of the Year, Howard has taken to the WNBA like a duck to water.
Her first season for Atlanta Dream has been one of the best rookie displays in their history. Not only did Howard become only the ninth player in NCAA history to earn three AP First-Team All-American selections, she was also named the 2022 WNBA Rookie of the Year for her outstanding displays.
It was a season that got off to an explosive start. Howard piled up 100 points in her first five games, the seventh highest by a rookie in league history.
If she keeps it up, then she’s sure to join the ranks of greatness.
Jackie Young – (Las Vegas Aces)
Living in the world’s gambling capital may prove a temptation for many people, but Jackie Young’s intense focus suggests that she hasn’t even considered playing an online casino game, let alone visit one of the city’s famous casinos.
Voted the league’s Most Improved Player of 2022, winning 32 of the possible 56 votes, she’s shone in a team that finished top of the Western Conference. A first-time WNBA All-Star starter, she’s averaged 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists on a 43 percent shooting from 3-point range in 34 starts – all career highs.
Still only 25, she’s packed a lot into her short career, which has already included an Olympic gold in the 3×3 basketball games at the 2020 Games.
The pressure is on her to keep improving, but the Princeton native has shown she has the right mentality to meet the challenge.
Teaira McCowan – (Dallas Wings)
A key feature of Teaira McCowan’s WNBA career so far has been consistency, but her performances have really taken off in the last few years.
As well as multiple awards for her high-quality displays, she’s built up a career total of almost 2,000 points in just four seasons. She’s also a rebound specialist, owning the two highest marks in franchise history (305 and 308 in 2019 and 2021 respectively).
She’ll transfer her talents to the Turkish Super League after signing a deal with Galatasaray in July. Whether the league is ready for this powerhouse of a player is another question.
Gabby Williams (Seattle Storm)
The Seattle Storm Power Forward has achieved a lot in her short career so far.
After winning the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, Williams went on to become a regular for Chicago Sky, with a highlight being a 21-point display vs Indiana.
Williams made a move to Europe where she won the 2021-22 EuroBasket Women League with Sopron Basket, before earning a move back to the States to turn out for Seattle ahead of the coming season.
If she reaches anything like her top form, then she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the WNBA.
Candace Parker (Chicago Sky)
Candace Parker has had a long and glittering career, and she’s continuing to stir things up today.
In August she became the first player in WNBA history to drop 15+ points, 15+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ blocks in a single play-off game, a phenomenal display at the age of 36.
No one should be surprised, however. The St. Louis native has won the league’s MVP twice, and has also been a WNBA champion and the Finals MVP. She’s also in the top 15 in the all-time charts for scoring and assists.
While Parker’s been an analyst and commentator since 2018, she has shown no signs of retiring and could be set to grace the league for several years to come.