July 5, 2022 

Daily Briefing — July 5, 2022: ‘Please don’t forget about me’: Brittney Griner sends letter directly appealing to the White House

Big night for the Sparks

It’s Tuesday. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the NCAA Roundup, W Roundup daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 51 of the WNBA season has arrived, as the Los Angeles Sparks pulled a narrow win over the Phoenix Mercury. On Monday afternoon, excerpts from a letter sent from Brittney Griner directly to President Biden were released to the public. The letter, which was handwritten by Griner herself, reached the White House on Monday, and makes reference to the Independence Day holiday.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Griner wrote to the White House. “It hurts thinking about how much I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

Another excerpt explicitly asked for the President’s support, alongside a vote of confidence. “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,” Griner wrote. “I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you.”

Griner’s trial in Russia is expected to resume on Thursday. The U.S. State Department has designated Griner’s detention as wrongful since May 3, 2022.

The full excerpts of Griner’s letter to the White House that were released can be found here.

But first read…

  • For Women’s Health Australia, Jessica Campbell chronicles the career so far of the Mercury’s Kia Nurse, who made a splash in 2020 as she became the WNBL league MVP, as she gears up for the 2022 FIBA World Cup in Sydney.
  • For The Pioneer Press, Jace Frederick takes you behind the scenes of former Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson’s jersey retirement.
  • From the archives: February 21, 1998 — Calling all Seattle fans! For The Kitsap Sun, John Wallingford pulls back the curtain on a narrow win for the Seattle Reign, the city’s first professional women’s basketball team, and inaugural member of the ABL.

W Roundup

Washington: Released off-ball guard Evina Westbrook from a 7-day contract.

Phoenix: Re-signed off-ball guard Jennie Simms and big Reshanda Gray to their second 7-day contracts following their expiration.

Los Angeles: Signed wing Kianna Smith to a 7-day contract using a hardship exception.

NCAA Roundup

Transfer portal

Out of the portal

  • Dariauna Lewis: The forward out of Alabama A&M committed to Syracuse. At 6’1, Lewis previously transferred from Missouri State after one season.

Watch List, Tuesday, July 5

(All times in ET)

Seattle @ Indiana, 7 p.m., League Pass (Local: Indiana Fever Livestream, FOX13/Amazon Prime video)

Connecticut @ Dallas, 8 p.m., Facebook (Local: Bally Sports Southwest, NESN+)


Don’t miss future episodes of the New York Liberty Rewind series!

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Bookmark this page and mark your calendars for our next games! You’ll be up late watching, we’ll be up late watching, let’s watch together.

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Monday, July 4 recap

Los Angeles (10–11) beat Phoenix (9–14), 78–75. With four lead changes and five ties in the first quarter alone, this was sure to be a well-contested match. The Sparks eventually took a 14–2 run, grabbing a 10-point advantage in the late second, but by halftime, the lead had been cut to just two. Heading into the third, the two teams passed the lead back and forth once again, neither able to secure a significant lead. As the final minutes wound down, Phoenix missed two key opportunities to pull ahead over Los Angeles, who had a two-point advantage. In the end, as the Mercury couldn’t deliver out of their final timeout, free throws would secure the win for the Sparks.

Big Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks and all scorers with 23 points on 9-for-15 from the field (5–7 FT), nine rebounds, and three assists against five turnovers. Center Liz Cambage logged 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting and seven rebounds. Off-ball guard Lexie Brown had 14 points on 5-for-9 from the field (4–5 3pt), three rebounds, four assists, and three steals on four fouls. Point guard Shey Peddy notched 10 points on 4-for-7 from the field (2–3 3pt), a season-high six rebounds, three assists, and four steals. The Sparks bench totaled just two points, six rebounds, and three assists.

Combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smith led the Mercury with 22 points on 7-for-15 shooting (2–4 3pt, 6–6 FT), four rebounds, and five assists against six turnovers. Combo guard Diana Taurasi had 13 points on 4-for-14 from the field (1–10 3pt, 4–4 FT), and six assists on four turnovers.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Next from upstate New York who regularly covers 3x3 and the state of women's basketball in the U.S. and internationally. She also covers women's sports for The Daily Princetonian, the independent student newspaper of Princeton University.

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