January 23, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Jan. 23, 2022: Haley-ing down

Atlanta continues to be active in WNBA free agency

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 75 of college basketball is here, following a day that saw eight games go to overtime, including four overtime periods between Charlotte and Rice! Plus Haley Cavinder added to her triple-double count and the Atlanta Dream continued to lead free agency, all ahead of a packed early afternoon.

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W Roundup

Free agency

  • Tiffany Hayes: Is finalizing a deal to re-sign with Atlanta, per Rachel Galligan. The nine-year veteran has been with the Dream since being drafted in 2012, and ranks second (behind Angel McCoughtry) in nearly every Atlanta career leaderboard. Though she can slide to the two-spot in some lineups, Hayes’ status as a three most of the time should slightly dampen the team’s interest in some of the other high-profile wings on the market.
  • Leilani Mitchell: Apparently pregnant? She announced that she and her wife Mikaela Dombkins were expecting a second child on Instagram four weeks ago, and Mitchell’s WNBL team in Australia, the UC Capitals, now lists her as “out for the rest of the season expecting her second child.” The couple had a son in 2018, which Dombkins carried, a thing I’m only noting because there’s so little to go off of here. The baby is due in June, which would rule Mitchell out for most of the WNBA season if she’s carrying. The free agent point guard market was already incredibly shallow, and if she’s out, Washington is also entering the fray. That pretty much guarantees Odyssey Sims and Rachel Banham good roles, and we might see a lot of minutes from a rookie class that is strong in the backcourt.
  • Kiah Stokes: Is finalizing a deal to sign with Atlanta, per Winsidr’s Aryeh Schwartz, a move that is really hard to scrutinize. Stokes has been the lowest-usage player in the W in recent years, an undersized center limited to drop coverage and rebounding; anything more you ask of her ends disastrously. The Dream had a better undersized defense-first center in Elizabeth Williams, who’s now an unrestricted free agent, and a hyperactive switch-everything small-ball five in Monique Billings, a restricted free agent — who Seattle and Indiana are pursuing, per Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV. Stokes doesn’t fit with a rebuilding timeline in any way — she got cut from a young, mediocre Liberty team in June — and can’t start on a contender. This is just weird.

(All times in Eastern)

Watch List, Sunday, Jan. 23

Must-watch

#5 Tennessee @ #13 Georgia, 2 p.m., SEC Network

Good games

Ole Miss @ #23 Kentucky, Noon, SEC Network

Fordham @ Dayton, Noon, ESPNU

#14 Oklahoma @ RV* Kansas State, 2 p.m., ESPNU — Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee might go for 50 points

#7 Iowa State @ #15 Baylor, 3 p.m., ESPN2

Also watchable

#22 Colorado “@” #10 Arizona, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Mountain (the Pac-12 is getting weird in its reschedulings)

RV Virginia Tech @ #4 N.C. State, 4 p.m., ACC Network

Sickos games

#20 North Carolina @ #18 Georgia Tech, Noon, ACC Network

Pac-12 or Big Ten on national television (or national streaming)

RV Ohio State @ Rutgers, 1 p.m., ESPN2

Illinois @ #25 Iowa, 6 p.m., BTN

Saturday, Jan. 22 recap

#15 Texas: 68-47 win over TCU. Won the second quarter 22-9. Shot only 39.1% from the field and 28.6% from three but forced 19 turnovers and drew 19 fouls; committed 18 fouls. Wing Joanne Allen-Taylor led with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting (1-2 3pt.), four rebounds, five assists and two steals without a turnover; off-ball guard Audrey Warren had 13 points off the bench on 4-for-7 shooting from the field (5-6 FT), four rebounds and four assists against three turnovers; with freshman Aaliyah Moore making her second straight start, center Lauren Ebo remained a backup, finishing with a double-double of 10 points on 5-for-13 FG and 13 rebounds (six offensive) in 25 minutes.

#24 FGCU: 66-44 win over Jacksonville State. Held the Gamecocks to 25.4% shooting from the field and 14.3% from three. Committed 18 turnovers and 19 fouls. Point guard Tishara Morehouse led with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting (2-4 3pt.), five rebounds and four assists against three turnovers. Big wing Kierstan Bell did not play with a knee injury.

RV South Florida: 75-67 overtime win over Temple. Assisted on 18 of its 25 buckets; the teams combined for 44 fouls. Combo guard Elena Tsineke led with 25 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field (1-2 3pt.) and 10-for-12 from the line and two turnovers; center Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu had 16 points on 6-for-14 FG (0-1 3pt., 4-6 FT) and nine rebounds against four fouls in 41 minutes; combo forward Bethy Mununga fouled out in 22 minutes, finishing with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting (0-1 3pt.), nine rebounds and two assists.

RV UCF: 61-57 loss to Cincinnati. Shot 56.3% from three, but its vaunted defense allowed the Bearcats to shoot 42.9% from the field and 52.6% from deep; notched 10 steals; committed 16 turnovers. Point guard Diamond Battles led with 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field and 5-for-8 from three, four rebounds, three assists and two steals against three turnovers; combo guard Alisha Lewis notched 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting (4-6 3pt.), six rebounds, three assists and no turnovers.

Illinois State: 52-51 win over Missouri State. The Redbirds add to their lead atop the MVC in the first leg of their three-game stretch against the top teams in the conference.

Charlotte: 88-83 quadruple-overtime win over Rice. Yep! The 49ers held a double-digit lead in the mid-third quarter before the teams traded one- or two-possession leads for the rest, until Charlotte ended on a 9-2 run. The teams combined for 53 turnovers and 43 fouls. Combo guard Octavia Jett-Wilson led the 49ers with a season-high 36 points on 12-for-28 shooting from the field, 4-for-9 from three and 8-for-11 from the line; seven rebounds; and a season-high five steals against three turnovers in 57 minutes.

Fresno State: 80-74 loss to New Mexico. Point guard Haley Cavinder pulled within a triple-double of Caitlin Clark with her third of the season, finishing with 21 points on 7-for-19 shooting from the field and 3-for-9 from three, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against five turnovers without sitting.

Cancellations

  • SFA @ New Mexico State
  • Tulsa vs. SMU
  • Coastal Carolina vs. Louisiana
  • UMBC vs. Maine
*Receiving Votes

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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