July 24, 2022 

Daily Briefing — July 24, 2022: New York Liberty snap losing streak with narrow win over Chicago Sky

Aces beat Sparks to clinch playoff spot, Fever officially eliminated

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 67 of the WNBA season has arrived, following a nail-biter victory for the New York Liberty over the Chicago Sky. For the Sky, who were on the wrong side of a back-to-back that had them (you guessed it) dealing with travel issues, their performance should inspire confidence as they look ahead to the playoffs. For the Liberty, who snapped a five-game losing streak, it was a sorely needed win for a team fighting for that final playoff spot.


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Aug. 11 – Chicago Sky vs. Las Vegas Aces, 10 p.m. ET

Aug. 17 – Playoff Watch Party, Time TBA

Aug. 18 – Playoff Watch Party, Time TBA

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Speaking of the playoffs, here’s where we currently stand:

  • The Sky and Aces have both clinched spots in the playoffs. Las Vegas sits one game behind Chicago in the standings with eight games remaining (two of which are against Indiana.)
  • The Sparks and Dream are tied in record, with Los Angeles leading the tiebreaker at present, though they’ll play once more to decide the season series in early August.
  • New York and Dallas are 1.5 games behind Phoenix in the race for the eighth seed. With the win over Chicago, the Liberty will face the Sky one more time before heading into their final games, all against teams in the bottom half of the standings.
  • The Fever have been eliminated from playoff contention, sitting at a record of 5–24.

But first, read…

  • Our Jackie Powell recaps the Liberty’s three consecutive camp day outings, from frustrating performances to where head coach Sandy Brondello sees hope for the future.
  • Our Jenn Hatfield brings you to Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood, where volunteers (including Mystics players) worked together to construct a mural of Brittney Griner and other Americans who have been wrongfully detained or held hostage abroad.
  • From the archives: Jan. 7, 1979 — For The New York Times, Al Harvin catches up with WBL player Althea Gwyn and documents her 27-point, 21 rebound performance for the New York Stars in their win over the Iowa Cornets.

Watch List, Sunday, July 24

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

Dallas @ Indiana, 3 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Bally Sports Indiana, Bally Sports Southwest, TSN5)

Atlanta @ Seattle, 6 p.m., NBA TV (Local: FOX13/Amazon Prime, Bally Sports Southeast, NBA TV Canada)

Connecticut @ Minnesota, 7 p.m., Amazon Prime (Local: Bally Sports North, NESN)

Saturday, July 23 recap

New York (10–17) beat Chicago (21–7), 83–80. New York took an 8–0 run to open the first, but Chicago was quick to recover. The two teams traded baskets through halftime, but the Liberty pulled together a multiple-possession lead by the end of the third quarter. Entering the fourth, New York quickly expanded their lead to double digits, but Chicago took a 13–2 run to pull within striking distance. The lead bounced back and forth for the final minutes before Liberty combo guard Sabrina Ionescu cashed in an and-one layup to give New York a one-point advantage. As the final seconds wound down, Chicago big Candace Parker made a move to post up Liberty big Michaela Onyenwere but couldn’t sink the final shot. Onyenwere tore down the rebound and was fouled on the way, giving the Liberty their final two free throw points and sealing their 10th win of the season.

Ionescu’s and-one layup on Gardner to put the Liberty up one, and then Onyenwere’s defensive stand on Parker to steal the win for New York.

Overall, the Liberty shot 26.4 percentage points better from three than the Sky and out-rebounded the Sky by five. Chicago had five more steals and nine fewer turnovers than New York, who allowed 27 Chicago points off of their 20 turnovers.

Ionescu led the Liberty with 17 points on 7-for-17 from the field (2–6 3pt), eight rebounds and nine assists against five turnovers. This is the fourth time Ionescu has logged this statline or better and she is the only player to reach that mark or better this season, per Across the Timeline. Big Natasha Howard had a double-double with 16 points on 5-for-12 from the field (6–7 FT) and 10 rebounds, along with two assists and four steals. Howard fouled out in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Centers Han Xu and Stefanie Dolson combined for 25 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Dolson had four fouls.

Big Candace Parker had a double-double with 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting (1–5 3pt, 6–8 FT), 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Wing Kahleah Copper had 17 points on 4-for-13 shooting (0–3, 9–11 FT), seven rebounds and two assists. Off the bench for Chicago, off-ball guard Rebekah Gardner logged 16 points on 5-for-12 from the field (2–4 3pt, 4–6 FT), four rebounds, three assists, a season-high four steals and a season-high three blocks.

Las Vegas (20–8) beat Los Angeles (12–15), 84–66. Las Vegas took the early lead, building a double-digit advantage by the mid-first, but the Sparks would take a 13–3 run to grab a one-point lead by the end of the first. The two teams traded baskets, neither holding a significant advantage, until the mid-fourth quarter, when the Aces went on a 10–0 run. Los Angeles couldn’t respond as Las Vegas continued to build on their lead, outscoring the Sparks by 14 in the fourth quarter and running away with the win. Overall, the Aces shot 20.3 percentage points better than the Sparks and out-rebounded Los Angeles by six, most of which came on the offensive end.

Wilson and Plum force their way into the paint to bring the Aces up by seven as they start to run away with the win.

Point guard Kelsey Plum led the Aces and all scorers with 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting (4–8 3pt, 7–8 FT), five rebounds and two assists on four fouls. Center A’ja Wilson logged 24 points on 8-for-19 from the field (2–5 3pt, 6–7 FT), six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. This was Wilson’s seventh consecutive 20+ point performance which set a new Aces franchise record, per Across the Timeline. Wing Jackie Young had 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting (1–2 3pt, 2–2 FT), nine rebounds (three offensive) and six assists.

For the Sparks, point guard Chennedy Carter led with 15 points on 5-for-11 from the field (5–8 FT), five rebounds and two assists off the bench. Point guard Jordin Canada had 11 points on 4-for-9 from the field (1–3 3pt, 2–2 FT), a season-high seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Big Katie Lou Samuelson had 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting (1–5 3pt, 3–3 FT), two rebounds and three assists.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a breaking news writer for The Next from upstate New York. She also covers women's basketball for The Daily Princetonian.

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