August 23, 2022
Daily Briefing — Aug. 23, 2022: Sky, Liberty gear up for Game 3 in New York
A'ja Wilson, unruffled
It’s Tuesday. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup and Yesterday’s Recap. Day five of the WNBA postseason is finally here, with the first of two series-deciding matches to wrap up the first round of play. After a historic blowout loss to the Chicago Sky on Saturday, the New York Liberty will host their first playoff game at Barclays Center and their first postseason home game since 2017.
It wouldn’t be the first time New York has had to overcome the odds, something former Liberty star guard Teresa Weatherspoon knows well. On September 4, 1999, Weatherspoon’s Liberty, who had just added a rookie Becky Hammon to their ranks, found themselves in a do-or-die match against a dominant Houston Comets team itching for their third straight title. Their first quarter stats might sound familiar to Liberty fans of present day; 1-for-12 from the field, six turnovers, six fouls. Things looked dire, until a miraculous early third quarter pulled the team back into the same stratosphere as the Comets.
As the final seconds ticked down, however, a last-stitch Tina Thompson jumpshot appeared to have sealed the title for Houston. Fans were on their feet, ready to shower the champions with applause and celebrate the win. But, as history may have it, two seconds of basketball is plenty of basketball to work with. With no timeouts remaining, Weatherspoon grabbed the inbound, Thompson hot on her tails. From 47 feet out, several steps behind the halfcourt line, her body at a near 90-degree angle to the basket, and with a 6’2 Thompson reaching out to block her way, Weatherspoon heaved the shot across court. And you know what, I’ll just have you watch it for yourself:
It’s safe to say the Liberty might like to have her in the arena this evening.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Wings became the next team in a long line of teams this season to be hit with travel difficulties. And, much like in previous situations, players were quick to take to social media:
Unlike other times this season, however, which saw players pulling near all-nighters on back-to-back games, or sleeping in airports, it appears the league actually responded this time. Though it took nearly 24 hours, the Wings’ cancelled flight was replaced with a chartered one. At this year’s All-Star game, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced that the league would charter flights for this year’s finals teams. It was unclear whether the league would be more lenient with other playoff teams facing travel problems, but this is certainly a welcome move.
The Next, a 24/7/365 women’s basketball newsroom
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But first, read:
- Our Natalie Heavren details the journey of women’s basketball trailblazer Karen Logan and the history of the smaller sized ball in the women’s game.
- For Bleacher Report, Scott Polacek sits down with A’ja Wilson to talk about her deal with Ruffles, playing under Becky Hammon, and her playoff mindset.
- Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman charts Jackie Young’s rise through the WNBA ranks, and how she found success this season.
Watch List, Tuesday, Aug. 23
(All times in Eastern)
Chicago @ New York, Game 3, 9 p.m., ESPN, TSN — series tied 1–1.
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- Oregon: Added New York Liberty assistant Sadie Edwards as an assistant coach.
Written by Isabel Rodrigues
Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Next from upstate New York who regularly covers 3x3 and the state of women's basketball in the U.S. and internationally.