January 4, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Jan. 4, 2022: Florida A&M’s rattling around

Sika Kone enters the 2022 WNBA draft

It’s Tuesday, the barest day of the week. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 55 of college basketball is here, featuring a Natisha Hiedeman signing, Florida A&M with a first win in crazy fashion, and the shortest Recap I’ve written thus far.

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W Roundup

Mali native and Spar Gran Canaria star big wing Sika Kone will declare for the 2022 WNBA draft, per our Howard Megdal. From Robert Mummery, Her Hoop Stats contributor and international basketball analyst:

“She’s 6’2 and a non-shooter/non-shot-blocker, but the numbers and rebounding in Spain are silly; she’s making 53% of her 2s on a team with no shooters whatsoever. Clearly draftable, probably slots in the 2nd-round stash spot,” — typically the middle of the round — “but I need to do more research to go any higher. I have significant doubts though… [Sparks big Maria] Vadeeva and [Storm big Ezi] Magbegor were statistically much better prospects, and both were late, late first-rounders. Kone would have to be a nuclear athlete to get on their level. [Sky center] Astou Ndour-Fall played for the exact same team eight years ago and graded out better, and was a second-round pick.”

Our Howard Megdal spoke with a pair of WNBA talent evaluators, and Mummery’s analysis dovetails with the current view of Kone around the league as well.

Connecticut: Combo guard Natisha Hiedeman signed her qualifying offer, per Rachel Galligan. This is nothing short of a resounding win for the Sun, who will only be paying the Sixth-Woman-of-the-Year-candidate the veteran minimum, though as a reserve player she had limited leverage.**

Indiana: Extended another qualifying offer, this time to point guard Lindsay Allen, per Galligan.

Minnesota: Extended qualifying offers to wing Bridget Carleton and point guard Anna Cruz, per Rachel Galligan. If the name “Anna Cruz” does not ring a bell, well, that’s because she last played for the Lynx in 2016.

(All times in Eastern)

Watch List, Tuesday, Jan. 4



Good games

#8 Michigan @ RV* Nebraska, 7 p.m., BTN

Also watchable


Sickos games


Monday, Jan. 3 recap

Southern, Texas Southern: The Jaguars beat the Tigers 70-60. Our first true sickos game in a while, the teams combined to shoot 33.1% from the field and 21.1% from three — with Southern adding 10 missed free-throws — plus 56 turnovers and 45 fouls. Southern had a sub-70 offensive rating, somehow. Only one Jaguar shot better than 40% overall, only two had more assists than turnovers, and only one had more assists than fouls. Every Tiger had at least as many turnovers and at least as many fouls as assists.

Blown leads

Bethune-Cookman: 70-68 loss to Florida A&M, the Rattlers’ first win of the season! The Wildcats had a 99.2% win expectancy with an eight-point lead at 2:42 in the fourth quarter as Florida A&M missed a jumper, and still led by three with 17 seconds left. But the Rattlers hit a three, then did the following with just seven-tenths on the clock:


  • #21 Kentucky vs. Mississippi State
  • Northwestern vs. Michigan State
  • RV Ohio State vs. Penn State
  • Wyoming vs. Boise State
  • San José State vs. Fresno State
  • Northwestern State vs. New Orleans
  • Mississippi Valley State vs. Alabama State
  • Incarnate Word vs. Nicholls
  • Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
  • SE Louisiana vs. McNeese

70% of tomorrow’s games are cancelled.

*Receiving Votes
**A previous version of this story called Hiedeman a restricted free agent.

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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