August 31, 2022
Daily Briefing — Aug. 31, 2022: WNBA Semifinals resume with Game 2 double-header
A’ja Wilson named Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive teams announced
Happy Wednesday! Halfway there already. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup and the daily Watch List. Day eight of the WNBA post-season has arrived, and what a day it’s shaping up to be. After back-to-back upsets in the first set of WNBA semifinals on Sunday, both the Sun and Storm will look to replicate that underdog success. Meanwhile, both the Aces and Sky have had two days to hit the film and reset the plan. If you’re looking for previews and keys to the game for each team, we have you covered. The Next‘s Matthew Walter took a look at how the Aces can make the leap forward, while Jacqueline LeBlanc detailed how the Sun finally cracked the code to beating the Sky.
What have I got you for you? Only the most detailed and thought-provoking basketball analysis presented in the most effective format known to man-kind: Bingo cards.
Defensive Player of the Year: A’ja Wilson
On Tuesday afternoon, the WNBA announced Aces center A’ja Wilson as the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year. Wilson becomes the first Aces player in franchise history to win the award. The league cited her league-leading blocks per game and total double-doubles, and her role in leading the Aces to a franchise-high 26 regular-season wins.
Wilson received 20 votes to place first, followed by the Sun’s Alyssa Thomas (14 votes), the Storm’s Breanna Stewart (13 votes), and the Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles (four votes). In addition, the Mystics’ Natasha Cloud and the Sun’s Jonquel Jones received two votes each, while the Wings’ Allisha Gray received one vote.
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All-Defensive First, Second teams
In addition, the league also announced the players named to All-Defensive First and Second team. Voting totals were not disclosed. All-Defensive teams take position into account, and allow for two forwards, one center, and two guards to be named to each team. Starting this season, All-WNBA teams, which will be announced in mid-September, are composed without regard for position.
- (F) A’ja Wilson (1st First Team nod, 2nd All-Defensive nod)
- (F) Breanna Stewart (1st, 4th)
- (C) Sylvia Fowles (8th, 11th)
- (G) Natasha Cloud (1st, 2nd)
- (G) Ariel Atkins (1st, 5th)
- (F) Alyssa Thomas (3rd Second Team nod, 4th All-Defensive nod)
- (F) Jonquel Jones (1st, 3rd)
- (C) Ezi Magbegor (1st, 1st)
- (G) Brittney Sykes (2nd, 3rd)
- (G) Gabby Williams (1st, 1st)
- For NBC Sports, Lisa Antonucci paints a picture of Chicago’s Azura Stevens and her renewed focus on mental health as the Sky attempt to repeat last year’s championship success.
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W (Injury) Roundup
- Seattle: Wing Gabby Williams has been ruled out for Wednesday’s match, as she recovers from a concussion suffered in Game 2 against Washington.
- Las Vegas: Combo forard Dearica Hamby is not expected to make a return Wednesday’s match but has been in practice, ESPN’s M.A. Voepel reported Tuesday afternoon.
Watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 31
(All times in Eastern)
Connecticut @ Chicago, 8 p.m., ESPN2, NBA TV Canada — Connecticut leads the series 1–0.
Seattle @ Las Vegas, 10 p.m., ESPN2, SN1 — Seattle leads the series 1–0.
End-of-Season Awards Schedule:
- Sep. 1 Sixth Player of the Year
- Sep. 7 Most Valuable Player
- Sep. 15 All-WNBA First, Second Team
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.