July 20, 2022 

Daily Briefing — July 20, 2022: DREAM TEAM — Atlanta Dream crush Aces in key victory

And come watch Storm-Sky with us today!!!!

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the NCAA Roundup, the daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 63 of the WNBA season is here, following an after-dark breakdown of the Las Vegas Aces by the Atlanta Dream, another camp day loss for the Liberty, and an all-too-familiar fourth quarter fumble for the Indiana Fever. Checking in on the standings, the no. 10 through no. 6 spots remain extremely close, with just two wins separating the five teams. The race for the eighth seed is particularly contentious, as the Sparks and Wings are tied at 11–14, with the Mercury just behind with 11–16. The coming games will be extremely important to determine who we’ll see again come late August.

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But first read…

  • Our Jenn Hatfield takes you inside the Mystics’ Japanese Heritage Day celebrations and how point guard Rui Machida has adjusted to the WNBA, while elevating her game in Washington.
  • Our James Kay makes the case for an Executive of the Year nod for James Wade, GM and head coach of the Chicago Sky, and explores the free agency moves that have propelled the Sky forward.
  • For Vogue, Atalie Gimmel explores Candace Parker’s relationship with Adidas, and her latest collection of colorways for her Exhibit B shoe, “The Candace Parker Collection, Part II.”

W Roundup

Minnesota: Signed big Nikolina Milić to a hardship contract. The Next’s Lucas Seehafer confirmed the move is being completed via a rest of season emergency hardship contract, as the Lynx would have fewer than the 10 required active players without Milić. 

Even if Napheesa Collier (maternity leave) returns to the court, Minnesota would have less than the required 11 rostered players without Milić, per The Next’s Jacob Mox. Only time will tell whether the league would allow for an exception to either hardship eligibility or roster minimum rules.

Watch List, Wednesday, July 20

Seattle @ Chicago, 12:00 p.m. ET, NBA TV (Local: Marquee, FOX13/Amazon Prime Video, NBA TV Canada)

Tuesday, July 19 recap

Connecticut (17–9) beat New York (9–16), 82–63. The two teams traded the lead between them eleven times through halftime, but a breakout performance from Sun combo guard DiJonai Carrington pushed the Sun ahead in the early fourth. Shooting just 28.6% from the field in the fourth quarter, the Liberty couldn’t keep up as Connecticut took a 25–5 run to close out the game. Overall, the Sun shot 12.8 percentage points better from the field and 12.2 percentage points better from three than the Liberty, despite shooting 70.8% from the free throw line on 24 attempts. Connecticut also out-rebounded New York by 13 and grabbed four more steals, while New York logged six more blocks.

Center Brionna Jones led the Sun and all scorers with 21 points on 9-for-15 from the field (3–6 FT) and eight rebounds (two offensive). Big wing Alyssa Thomas had her eighth double double of the season with 18 points on 7-for-12 from the field (4–8 FT) and 13 rebounds (four offensive), as well as five assists and a season-high six steals. Combo guard DiJonai Carrington had a career-high 18 points on 5-for-7 from the field (2–3 3pt, 6–6 FT) and three rebounds in her 18 minutes off the bench.

For New York, combo guard Sabrina Ionescu led with 13 points on 6-for-18 from the field (1–7 3pt), five rebounds (two offensive), and four assists on four fouls. Center Stefanie Dolson had 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting (2–2 3pt) and six rebounds (two offensive). In 19 minutes off the bench, center Xu Han logged eight points on 3-for-5 from the field (1–2 3pt) and two blocks.

Atlanta (12–14) beat Las Vegas (18–8), 92–76. The Atlanta Dream took the early lead and never looked back, quickly expanding to a double-digit advantage by the late first quarter. Though they cut the lead to just six in the mid-third, the Aces were never able to catch up as the Dream ran away with the win. Atlanta’s pace of play was key to their offensive success, as they logged 17 fast break points to Las Vegas’ one. Overall, the Dream shot 15.0 percentage points better from the field and 33.9 percentage points better from three than Las Vegas. The Dream also out-rebounded the Aces by 11, while the Aces had six more steals.

Wing Tiffany Hayes led the Dream and all scorers with a season-high 31 points on 11-for-14 from the field (4–5 3pt, 5–8 FT) and three rebounds. Wing Rhyne Howard notched 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting (6–9 3pt, 2–2 FT), five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three blocks. Big Naz Hillmon had seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, 10 rebounds (two offensive), and three assists. Point guard Aari McDonald logged 11 points on 4-for-5 from the field (2–2 3pt) and two assists in 17 minutes off the bench.

For Las Vegas, center A’ja Wilson led with 22 points on 8-for-15 from the field (1–3 3pt, 5–6 FT), 10 rebounds (two offensive), three steals, and four blocks. Guards Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young combined for 35 points on 12-for-27 from the field (6–14 3pt) and 13 assists on eight fouls. Young also had five rebounds (two offensive). The Las Vegas bench had just 10 points, four rebounds, and two steals in 57 minutes played.

Los Angeles (11–14) beat Indiana (5–23), 86–79. The Sparks took the early lead but Indiana was close behind, eventually taking a four-point lead in the late-second. The two teams traded the lead three times to round out the half. This would continue this through the third quarter, with five lead changes and four ties. In the fourth quarter, however, the Sparks would pull away from the Fever on a 13–4 run, closing out the win as Indiana struggled to respond. Overall, Indiana shot 10.2 percentage points better from three than Los Angeles and out-rebounded the Sparks by five, though they had eight more turnovers. The Sparks held down the paint, with 48 of their points coming from that area.

Big Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks and all scorers with a season-high 35 points on 12-for-20 shooting (2–4 3pt, 9–11 FT), two rebounds, and two steals. Point guard Jordin Canada logged 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting (1–4 3pt), eight assists and four steals. Center Chiney Ogwumike had eight points on 3-for-6 shooting (1–2 3pt, 1–4 FT), 10 rebounds (four offensive), and two steals against four fouls. Off-ball guard Lexie Brown had nine points on 3-for-6 from the field (2–5 3pt), two rebounds, and two assists off the bench for Los Angeles.

For the Fever, off-ball guard Tiffany Mitchell led with a season-high 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting (1–2 3pt, 3–3 FT), a season-high four rebounds and two steals on four fouls off the bench. Big NaLyssa Smith had 14 points on 5-for-8 from the field (2–4 3pt, 2-4 FT), five rebounds and four assists on four fouls. Center Queen Egbo had nine rebounds (three offensive) and two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

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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