Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum both missed WNBA opening weekend with injuries, delaying the debut of the “Big Three” for the Stars.
As the WNBA has been buzzing with anticipation for 2017 number one overall pick Kelsey Plum’s debut, even more talk has been centered upon how the San Antonio Stars will utilize her in the small three-guard lineup along with Moriah Jefferson and Kayla McBride this season. Unfortunately, the women’s basketball world was forced to wait another day as the Stars opened their season against the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden Saturday afternoon.
Plum sprained her ankle in practice a little over a week ago and although she did travel with the team for their back-to-back road trip on opening weekend, the Stars have given no timeframe for her return. Jefferson returned from overseas play earlier last week after losing out in the Turkish League Semi-finals. Jefferson did not practice all week due to a sore right knee and also did not play opening weekend. McBride is still playing with her team, Yakin Dagu University (YDU), in the Turkish League Championship. McBride’s team is now tied 2-2 in a best of 5 game series against Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, led by WNBA All-Star Candace Parker. YDU plays Fenerbahce for the deciding game on Tuesday, May 17 at 11 AM CST.
Unfortunately for the Stars, basketball must go on. They started the season with a 73-64 loss to a rough and tumble Liberty team. Twelve year veteran Monique Currie led all scorers with 23 points and newly acquired Isabelle Harrison provided a career high 15 points off the bench. Next up in the brutal back-to-back opening weekend was the Washington Mystics featuring newly acquired superstar Elena Delle Donne. The Stars fell to the Mystics 89-74 with a valiant effort again by Currie with a game and career high 31 points in 30 minutes of play, shooting 69.2 percent from the floor, and grabbing a team high 7 rebounds.
In all, a 0-2 start on the season isn’t exactly what anyone pictured for San Antonio, especially after draft day or the outstanding preseason debut from rookies Plum and Nia Coffey. But the basketball Gods will always have the final say in matters that are just out of our control. What Stars fans can take away from this brutal opening weekend is that there is a solid core waiting on the “Big Three” to return. Currie is tough, smooth, and smarter than almost anyone on the court. Harrison is a presence in the paint that will be high on the list to the Most Improved Player Award this season. And San Antonio’s defense is better than anyone has seen in quite a long time.
The Stars play again in their home opener on Saturday, May 19 against the Phoenix Mercury. Asking McBride to play in such a quick turn around is almost absurd and there is still no status to the injuries of Plum and Jefferson. For the sake of women’s basketball fans everywhere though, I really hope we see the “Big Three” in action together really soon. There is really nothing but good things that can come of it!