August 11, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Aug. 11, 2022: New York, Minnesota move into playoff position

Choose your own playoff adventure tool inside!

It’s Thursday — the workweek’s almost passed! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 83 of the WNBA season is here, featuring a New York team now likely to make the playoffs, thanks to snapping Dallas’ five-game winning streak. That streak included a nine-point win over the Liberty on Monday, and yet the Seafoam Soldiers licked their wounds and reversed that result by 21 (twenty-one!) points thanks to a 40-19 run in the middle after Dallas had a 93.9% win expectancy in the late first quarter. Now New York just needs one win against Atlanta this weekend to get real close to a playoff spot:

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  • If the Liberty sweep Atlanta, they’re in unless both Minnesota and Phoenix win out
  • If the Liberty go 1-1 against Atlanta, they’re in unless both Minnesota and Phoenix don’t lose out. (The Lynx play Seattle and Connecticut; the Mercury play Dallas and Chicago.)

In the other game last night, Minnesota notched a hugely significant win over Phoenix. Now, the Lynx are in good position to cap their season comeback with a playoff berth:

  • If the Lynx win out, they’re in
  • If the Lynx go 1-1 to close, they’re in unless the Mercury win out and New York or Atlanta goes 2-0 against the other
  • If the Lynx lose out, they’re only in if the Mercury also lose out and New York or Atlanta goes 2-0 against the other

Folks, the playoff picture becomes ever-clearer. Thankfully tonight’s games only matter playoff seeding — and that’s all but wrapped-up already.

But first, read:

W Roundup

Connecticut: Re-signed point guard Odyssey Sims to a hardship contract

Minnesota: Re-signed point guard Lindsay Allen to a hardship contract

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Watch List, Thursday, Aug. 11

(All times in Eastern, Game Of The Day in bold)

Chicago @ Las Vegas, 10 p.m., NBA TV (Local: CW26, My LV TV) — myself and fellow TDB writer Isabel Rodrigues are hosting a watch party on Playback! Also, Chicago clinches the No. 1 seed with a win

Connecticut @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Twitter (Local: NESN+, Spectrum SportsNet) — Sparks are eliminated with a loss

Wednesday, Aug. 10 recap

New York (14-20) beat Dallas (17-17), 91-73. The Liberty trailed by 15 in the late first quarter, tied the game in the mid-second, and led by double-digits by the end of the third. New York shot 54.8% from the field, 48.1% from three, and 90.9% from the line while holding the Wings to 34.3% overall, though Dallas had 14 more free-throws; the Liberty committed 20 fouls.

Backup combo guard Sami Whitcomb led New York with 15 points on 4-for-7 from three (1-1 from two), four rebounds, and five assists against two turnovers; combo guard Sabrina Ionescu had 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting (1-6 3pt.), nine rebounds, and seven assists; wing Marine Johannès scored 13 points on 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-4 from three, plus two assists.

The Wings were led by wing Marina Mabrey’s 19 points on 7-for-21 from the field and 2-for-6 from three, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals against two turnovers; center Teaira McCowan notched a double-double — her sixth over the past seven games — with 17 points on 6-for-12 FG (5-7 FT) and 13 rebounds (eight offensive) against three turnovers and five fouls; point guard Veronica Burton had a career-high 15 points on 3-for-4 from three (1-1 from two) and four assists in 22 minutes.

Minnesota (14-20) beat Phoenix (14-20), 86-77. The game was within two possessions for almost the entire first 25 minutes, then the Lynx took a five-point lead in the mid-to-late-third quarter before the Mercury evened things up; Minnesota closed on a 14-3 run. Phoenix shot 41.9% from three, but took 16 fewer free-throws thanks to committing 21 fouls; the Lynx won the rebounding battle by 11.

Center Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota with 16 points on 7-for-10 FG and nine rebounds (three offensive); off-ball guard Kayla McBride had 18 points on 5-for-16 from the field and 3-for-7 from three and three steals against two turnovers; combo forward Jessica Shepard notched 15 points on 4-for-4 shooting with 7-for-8 from the line, 12 rebounds (four offensive), and four assists against four turnovers; point guard Moriah Jefferson tallied six points on 3-for-9 FG (0-1 3pt.), six rebounds, and a career-high 12 assists against four fouls in 31 minutes.

The Mercury were led by combo guard Shey Peddy’s career-high 21 points on 7-for-15 from the field and a career-high 5-for-10 from three and 10 rebounds (three offensive) for a double-double, plus four assists and three steals; combo forward Sophie Cunningham had 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting (6-10 3pt.), four rebounds, and two steals; backup center Megan Gustafson scored a career-high 15 points on 6-for-10 FG (1-3 3pt.) in 17 minutes.

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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