August 5, 2020
Chennedy Carter’s two statements
Carter scored 26 points in the Dream's 81-74 loss Tuesday night, but her most important statement came off the court
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Chennedy Carter speaks to media following Tuesday night’s game. (Screenschot from WNBA Content Network.)
Chennedy Carter made a statement in the fourth quarter Tuesday night.
Diana Taurasi, after taking just two shots in the first half of the game, hit a 24-foot 3-pointer to give Phoenix a 68-62 lead over Atlanta with just under three minutes to play. It was her ninth, tenth and eleventh points of the quarter.
Okay, rookie. Show me what you’ve got, Taurasi’s shot seemed to say. After all, Taurasi said on an Instagram live with Sue Bird in May that she wants to kill rookies every time she plays them.
Ten seconds later, Carter hit a 26-foot 3-pointer — her twenty-second, twenty-third and twenty-fourth points of the game. She is now the only rookie in Atlanta Dream franchise history to score in the double figures in her first five games.
No problem, DT.
Carter’s shot narrowed the Mercury’s lead back to three points, which was as close as things would get the rest of the way. In the remaining two minute and 45 seconds, Phoenix got to the free throw line and made just enough shots to win, 81-74.
“I think we won every statistical category, but we just gave up the ball,” Dream coach Nicki Collen said. “We shot it better from two, we shot it better from three. We didn’t get to the free throw line enough, but we shot it well when we got there. We out-rebounded them. We did so many things well, but you are not going to win, you will not win in the WNBA turning the basketball over 23 times. You’re just not going to do it.”
But the late-game three — two feet longer than Taurasi’s, for extra impact — wasn’t the only statement Carter made.
After the game, Carter walked into her Zoom media availability wearing a simple black T-shirt that read “Vote Warnock” in white block letters. The same shirts were seen throughout the league on Tuesday, including on multiple members of the Mercury before the game. The shirts come from the campaign of Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat running against Atlanta Dream owner Kelly Loeffler for U.S. Senate.
When asked about the shirt, Carter made her intentions — and the meaning behind the league-wide initiative with the shirts — clear.
“We definitely decided to wear it because he supports Black Lives Matter,” Carter said. “He supports the league and the movement, and we support him.”
Added Betnijah Laney: “He’s just somebody that also supports the Black Lives Matter [movement], the movement that the WNBA is standing behind this year, so this is somebody that we’re supporting as well.”
Before the game, Dream coach Nicki Collen told reporters the movement came from the players and was not organized by the league or the WNBPA.
“That was very much the individual players,” Collen said. “It had nothing to do with the players’ association or the league in any way. It just was our own players going ahead and doing that. I think that’s just them reminding everyone that Black Lives Matter.”
During the game, Elizabeth Williams made a similar statement to ESPN’s Holly Rowe. Neither the players nor Collen mentioned who Warnock is running against. They didn’t have to.
In early July, Loeffler wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert expressing her desire for the league to distance itself from the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, the players are wearing shirts in support of Warnock because he supports Black Lives Matter.
They don’t need to mention who doesn’t.
“Vote for Warnock,” Carter said with a grin as she raised her right fist in the air.