August 19, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Aug. 19, 2022: SUN SHOWERS — Seattle Storm narrowly beat Mystics in epic first-round clash

The Wings flew too close to the Connecticut Sun

Happy Friday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 2 of the WNBA postseason came and went, with one “recline your seat back and watch the chaos” match and one “stay on the edge of your seat” match. To put it nicely, the Connecticut Sun burned the Dallas Wings to a crisp at Mohegan Sun, keeping the Wings to just 68 points and coming away with a commanding win. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics kicked off an instant classic series with a wire-to-wire nail-biter, with huge performances from Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart. The New York Liberty remain the only lower seed to lead a series as we head into the Game 2s of the first round, which begin on Saturday.

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In other news, this morning, Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was honored with the 2022 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. The award announcement acknowledged the Sylvia Fowles Family Fund, Fowles’ work with the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy and a career’s worth of community engagement and mentorship. She is just the second Lynx player to receive the award, following Teresa Edwards in 2004.

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But first, read:

  • More playoff previews, at your convenience:
    • Our Arie Graham sets up the Dallas end of the Wings–Sun showdown that began Thursday night, while our Jacqueline LeBlanc takes you through the Connecticut side.
    • Our Em Adler details Seattle’s best options for getting through the highly anticipated Storm–Mystics series.
  • Our Jenn Hatfield highlights the Mystics’ Swiss Army knife, Myisha Hines-Allen, and the many hats she’s worn for Washington this season.
  • The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner pulls back the curtain on the creation of Elena Delle Donne’s jump shot and the shooting coach who kick-started it all.
  • Gabe Ibrahim delivers a delightful edition of Ball & Order with all the details on Marine Johannès’ instant classic over-the-head pass from Wednesday.

Watch List, Friday, Aug. 19


Thursday, Aug. 18 recap

Connecticut beat Dallas, 93–68, to take a 1–0 series lead. The teams traded baskets until the mid-first quarter, when the Sun went on a 10–0 run to forge a multiple-possession lead. By halftime, Connecticut had expanded the lead to double digits, eventually leading by 27. Dallas never scored 20 points in a quarter. Overall, the Sun shot 11.2 percentage points better from the field and 10.7 percentage points better from three than the Wings. Connecticut also won the rebounding battle by seven and grabbed five more steals, contributing to Dallas’ 17 turnovers. The Sun had their way in the places they shine brightest, scoring 16 more points in the paint and 14 more fast break points.

Big Jonquel Jones led the Sun and all scorers with 19 points on 5-for-10 shooting (2–4 3pt., 7–8 FT), eight rebounds (three offensive) and three assists. Big wing Alyssa Thomas notched a double-double on 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds, along with seven assists. Combo guard Courtney Williams had 10 points on 5-for-12 shooting and six assists. Off-ball guard DiJonai Carrington contributed 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field, six rebounds and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench.

Dallas was led by off-ball guard Allisha Gray’s 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field (1–4 3pt., 2–6 FT), five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Wing Marina Mabrey notched 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field (1–3 3pt.) and four rebounds (two offensive) on five fouls. Point guard Tyasha Harris had 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting (1–4 3pt., 2–2 FT), five rebounds (two offensive) and three assists.

Seattle beat Washington, 86–83, to take a 1–0 series lead. Washington took an early 7–0 lead, but Seattle was quick to respond. The score was tied heading into the second quarter, but the Storm went on a 5–0 run, eventually building an eight-point lead. But, much like Seattle had in the early going, the Mystics responded in kind and went into halftime with a slight advantage. The teams traded baskets through the third quarter, but Seattle eventually pulled ahead in the game’s final minutes on a set of free throws from combo guard Jewell Loyd, who was perfect from the line all game long. When the Mystics struggled to respond out of a final timeout, the Storm took advantage and just barely came away with the win.

Overall, Seattle shot 13.2 percentage points better from three than Washington and snagged four more rebounds, while the Mystics had three more blocks. The Storm bench outscored the Mystics’ by five.

The Storm were led by big wing Breanna Stewart, who had a double-double on 23 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field (2–3 3pt., 5–5 FT) and 12 rebounds, along with four assists. Wing Gabby Williams stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting (2–2 3pt.), seven rebounds, six assists and three steals against four turnovers. Loyd had 16 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field (2–6 3pt., 6–6 FT), two rebounds and three assists. Center Tina Charles notched nine points on 4-for-9 shooting (1–1 3pt.) and seven rebounds (three offensive).

Big Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics and all scorers with 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting (4–4 FT), three rebounds and five assists. Point guard Natasha Cloud had 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field, six rebounds and three blocks (you read that right) on four turnovers. In her playoff debut, rookie center Shakira Austin logged 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting and seven rebounds (three offensive). Big Myisha Hines-Allen contributed six points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field (4–4 FT), six rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing editor for The Next from upstate New York. She occasionally covers 3x3 and labor in women's basketball.

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