August 6, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Aug. 6, 2022: Atlanta Dream fend off Los Angeles Sparks in thrilling fashion

Sparks, Lynx face playoff elimination

Happy Saturday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 78 of the WNBA season is upon us, as the New York Liberty, Dallas Wings and Phoenix Mercury attempt to keep their playoff dreams alive. Only one of them will play against the Indiana Fever the rest of the way, however. With two games against Dallas remaining, New York will look to beat Phoenix tonight to help its chances.

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On Friday, the Los Angeles Sparks came up short after a back-and-forth match against the Atlanta Dream, who were working with a standout performance from wing Rhyne Howard. Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx, each sitting at a record of 12–20, are all but eliminated from playoff contention. Notably, this means Sylvia Fowles will likely play her final game in Minnesota on Aug. 12 against Seattle and her final game before retirement in Connecticut on Aug. 14.

But first, read…

  • Our Antonio Losada returns with a look at the rosters for several EuroLeague teams for the 2022-23 seasons.
  • Our Rowan Schaberg takes you inside Lauren Jackson’s return to Seattle as she joined the Storm in celebrating Sue Bird’s final season.

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Watch List, Saturday, Aug. 6

(All times in ET, Game of the Day in bold)

Indiana @ Dallas, 8 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Bally Sports Southwest, Indiana Fever Livestream, NBA TV Canada)

New York @ Phoenix, 10 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Bally Sports Arizona, YES Network, NBA TV Canada)

Friday, Aug. 5 recap

Atlanta (14–18) beat Los Angeles (12–20), 88–86. The Dream took the early lead, going on an 11–2 run through the mid-first quarter. The Sparks responded with a 7–0 run that cut the lead to two, but Atlanta forged ahead, ending the first quarter with a double-digit advantage. The teams traded baskets through the mid-second quarter as Los Angeles struggled to put a dent in the Dream’s lead. Then, in the final minutes before halftime, a 13–0 Sparks run brought Los Angeles within one possession again. It was a repeat of the first half in the second half, the teams passing the lead back and forth until the Dream got out ahead again and the Sparks were back to catch-up mode.

It took Los Angeles until the final seconds of the fourth quarter to make that comeback, as Sparks big Katie Lou Samuelson sank a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game with three seconds left. As the seconds dwindled down, however, a key play out of a Dream timeout got big Cheyenne Parker to the rim for the game-winning bucket. Overall, the Dream shot 19.9 percentage points better from three than the Sparks but logged five more turnovers. Los Angeles snagged four more steals and three more blocks.

Wing Rhyne Howard led the Dream and all scorers with 28 points on 7-for-12 shooting (4–8 3pt, 10–11 FT), four rebounds and three assists. Parker notched 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field, six rebounds (two offensive) and two assists. Combo forward Naz Hillmon logged seven points on 3-for-5 shooting and nine rebounds (four offensive). Off the bench, guards Aari McDonald and Maya Caldwell combined for 24 points on 7-for-17 shooting (2–6 3pt, 8–8 FT).

For the Sparks, off-ball guard Brittney Sykes led with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field (5–5 FT), seven rebounds and four assists. Big Nneka Ogwumike logged 16 points on 8-for-13 shooting and six rebounds. Point guard Jordin Canada had four points on 1-for-6 shooting (2–4 FT), eight assists, three rebounds and two steals. Off-ball guard Lexie Brown contributed 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting from the field (1–7 3pt), five rebounds and four assists off the bench.

Chicago (24–8) beat Washington (20–13), 93–83. The teams traded baskets until Chicago went on a 12–0 run to push ahead by double digits. By the late second quarter, the Sky had forged a 20-point lead as the Mystics struggled to respond. It took Washington until the late fourth quarter to cut the lead to 10 points, but by then hopes of a comeback had virtually collapsed. Overall, the Sky shot 7.6 percentage points better from three than the Mystics while grabbing six more steals and three more blocks. Chicago also managed 22 fast-break points to Washington’s seven.

For Chicago, wing Kahleah Copper led with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting (2–4 3pt, 3–4 FT), five rebounds and two assists. Off-ball guard Allie Quigley logged 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field (2–3 3pt), three rebounds and two steals. Point guard Courtney Vandersloot notched 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting (1–5 3pt, 3–3 FT), five rebounds and seven assists. Off the bench, big Azura Stevens notched 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting (1–3 3pt), six rebounds, two assists, two steals and five blocks.

Big Myisha Hines-Allen led the Mystics and all scorers with 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting (3–5 3pt), six rebounds and four assists. Center Shakira Austin notched 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting (5–7 FT) and four rebounds. Off the bench, center Elizabeth Williams logged eight points on 3-for-7 shooting (2–5 FT), six rebounds (three offensive) and two blocks.

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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