WNBA training camps set to open

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NEW YORK (AP) It doesn't seem that long ago that the Los Angeles Sparks were celebrating their first WNBA championship in 14 years after a thrilling Game 5 victory over the Minnesota Lynx.

The WNBA is set to begin its 21st season next month with training camps opening up around the league on Sunday and Monday.

Here are a couple things to look for as camps open.

WHO'S MISSING: Many top players are still overseas competing in leagues in Russia and Turkey. Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Nneka Ogwumike, Kristi Toliver, Emma Meesseman and Epiphanny Prince are all in the Russian playoffs. They could miss the first week or so of training camp.

Angel McCoughtry, who also is playing in Russia, announced in January that she would sit out an undetermined amount of time of the WNBA season, leaving the Atlanta Dream without their star.

The Turkish league could be more of a problem. Their playoffs are just getting started and could run up right into the start of the WNBA regular season, meaning there's a chance that Candace Parker, Jantel Lavender or Essence Carson could miss the Los Angeles Sparks opener on May 13 when they unveil the championship banner from last season's title.

San Antonio could be without Moriah Jefferson and Kayla McBride, too, as both are playing in Turkey.

''It's a reality of our league,'' San Antonio Stars general manager Ruth Riley said. ''We're not the only team that has players overseas. I'd rather they miss a few weeks of training camp than four to six weeks during the season.''

COACHING CAROUSEL: Former Sparks assistant Amber Stocks took over in Chicago after the Sky didn't retain Pokey Chatman as coach and general manager. Chatman has moved on to coach the Indiana Fever. Vickie Johnson is the new coach in San Antonio after Dan Hughes retired.

COMING HOME: Elena Delle Donne wanted to be closer to her family in Delaware, so she got the Chicago Sky to trade her to Washington in February. In one of the biggest deals in league history , the Sky sent the former MVP to the Mystics for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper and the No. 2 pick in the draft, which ended up being Alaina Coates. The move gives coach Mike Thibault and Washington a star player.

That wasn't the only deal Washington made. The team sent Kia Vaughn and Bria Hartley to the Liberty as part of a three-way trade to clear up cap space. Both Vaughn and Hartley are from New York. That extra space helped the Mystics sign Toliver.

ROOKIE WATCH: With only 144 roster spots in the WNBA, it will be interesting to see which rookies are able to make a team. Dallas had three picks in the first round, choosing Kentucky's Evelyn Akahtor at No. 3. The Wings chose South Carolina's Allisha Gray and Kaela Davis at No. 4 and 10. The two players decided to skip their final year of college eligibility to enter the draft. While first-round picks tend to make rosters, the second and third round choices can have a much harder time.


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