July 8, 2022 

Daily Briefing — July 8, 2022: Seattle Storm crush Sparks in final Commissioner’s Cup match

Chicago to host Las Vegas for Cup championship, July 26

Happy Friday! You made it, and that’s something to be damn proud of. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the NCAA Roundup, daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 53 of the WNBA season came and went and we have officially entered All-Star break! This means no games until Sunday, when Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson and their teams will face off in Chicago. There will be some commotion to look forward to on Saturday, however, with the three-point contest and skills challenge airing at 3 p.m. ET. Regular season games will resume on Tuesday, July 12, and not long after we’ll have the Commissioner’s Cup championship on July 26. With a decisive win over the Indiana Fever, and now sitting atop the league standings, the Sky will host the game in Chicago.

But first read…

  • News broke Thursday morning that Brittney Griner had pled guilty to drug charges in Russian court. For NPR, Rachel Treisman and Charles Maynes break down what this could mean for Griner and how the White House is looking to respond.
  • Our Jackie Powell paints a picture of New York’s 2022 All-Stars, Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard, from how their gameplay fits together to what their All-Star selections mean to the Liberty as a team and organization.
  • Our Matthew Walter chronicles Aces rookie Iliana Rupert’s journey from French leagues to the WNBA and how she fits into the system in Las Vegas.
  • From the archives: December 24, 1979 — For The New York Times, Jane Gross takes you along on the WBL New York Stars’ 9-day cross-country road trip, from the songs played on repeat, 25-point fourth quarter leads, and the value of head coach Dean Meminger.

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

Users can sign up to join our Playback for free and watch along with a cable or streaming login. New York Liberty beat writer Jackie Powell takes you through the 2022 New York Liberty season, breaking down Xs and Os, the biggest games, and the outlook for 2023 in returning players and free agency.

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.

Remaining Schedule:
Oct. 27, Nov. 10, Dec. 1, Dec. 15 and Dec. 29 (All streams at 7:30 p.m. ET)

It’s free, it’s fun and it’s easy! Plus, look out for live college game streams once the NCAA season gets underway.


NCAA Roundup

Transfer Portal

In the portal*:

  • Aliyah Matharu, off-ball guard, Texas

*Note: Players entering the transfer portal after the May 1, 2022 deadline must obtain a waiver in order to play in the upcoming season.

Watch List, Friday, July 8

None! All-Star break has begun, so my recommendation is to go for a walk and get some fresh air. Basketball will be back before you know it.

Thursday, July 7 recap

Chicago (16–6) beat Indiana (5–19), 93–84. The Sky took the early lead, but the Fever fought to stay in it, keeping within one possession until a 9–0 Chicago run pushed the Sky out front. From that point forward, Chicago would continue to expand their lead as Indiana struggled to mount a response. With a minute left to play and a ten-point cushion on their lead, the Sky would sink their final free throws to close out the match. Overall, the Sky shot 14.6 percentage points better from the field than the Fever and out-rebounded Indiana by 14, despite logging six more turnovers.

Sky big Emma Meesseman led Chicago with 20 points on 9-for-13 from the field (2–2 FT), six rebounds and three assists. Big Azurá Stevens logged 16 points on 6-for-13 from the field (1–4 3pt, 3–5 FT) and seven rebounds (two offensive). Point guard Courtney Vandersloot notched seven points on 3-for-5 from the field (1–2 FT), five rebounds and six assists. Big Candace Parker had 12 points on 4-for-7 from the field (1–2 3pt), nine rebounds (three offensive) and five assists on four turnovers.

Fever combo guard Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana and all scorers with 27 points on 10-for-18 from the field (4–7 3pt, 3–4 FT), five assists and two steals. Big NaLyssa Smith had 20 points on 8-for-19 from the field (3–4 3pt), 11 rebounds (five offensive) and three assists on four turnovers.

Phoenix (10–14) beat New York (9–13), 84–81. Phoenix took the early lead as they mounted a 8–2 run in the opening minutes of play. Through the mid-third, the Mercury would expand and maintain their lead. Despite that, New York managed a run of their own in the mid-third quarter, and cutting the lead to two. However, a clutch three pointer and a pair of sunk free throws from Phoenix combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smith in the late fourth would give the Mercury the edge they needed to close out the game. Overall, New York out-rebounded Phoenix by 10, and the Mercury logged six more steals. Phoenix also managed 20 points off turnovers to New York’s seven.

Combo guard Diana Taurasi had 23 points on 6-for-16 from the field (4–10 3pt, 7–7 FT), three rebounds and three assists on four fouls. Combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smith notched 13 points on 2-for-12 from the field (1–4 3pt, 8–8 FT), seven rebounds (two offensive) and nine assists. Point guard Shey Peddy also logged 13 points on 4-for-9 from the field (1–4 3pt, 4–5 FT), two assists and a career-high-tying four steals. The Phoenix bench totaled just four points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

Combo guard Sabrina Ionescu had a double double with 22 points on 7-for-18 from the field (4–8 3pt, 4–4 FT) and 10 rebounds, along with three assists against six turnovers and five fouls. Big Natasha Howard logged 16 points on 5-for-12 from the field (1–1 3pt, 5–6 FT), seven rebounds (three offensive), three assists and two blocks. Combo guard Sami Whitcomb had 12 points on 4-for-7 from the field (2–5 3pt, 2–2 FT), eight rebounds (three offensive) and two steals.

Seattle (15–8) beat Los Angeles (10–12), 106–69. Seattle took the early lead and never looked back. By halftime, the Storm had built a 19-point lead which would balloon to a 37-point advantage by the final seconds of play. The Sparks weren’t able to mount a significant run, as Seattle completely overwhelmed them on both sides of the court. Overall, the Storm shot 27.5 percentage points better from the field and 20.8 percentage points better from three than the Sparks. Seattle also out-rebounded Los Angeles by 12. Each player on the Seattle roster attempted and made at least two field goals, a new WNBA record, per Across the Timeline.

Big wing Breanna Stewart led Seattle and all scorers with 23 points on 9-for-15 from the field (3–5 3pt, 2–2 FT), four rebounds and two assists. Center Ezi Magbegor logged a double double with 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field (1–1 3pt, 1–1 FT) and 11 rebounds (four offensive), alongside three assists on three turnovers. Combo guard Jewell Loyd had 16 points on 5-for-11 from the field, four rebounds and seven assists. Center Tina Charles had 18 points on 8-for-12 from the field, two rebounds and two steals in her 19 minutes off the bench.

Point guard Lexie Brown led the Sparks with 16 points on 7-for-12 from the field (2–4 3pt), two rebounds, four assists and four steals. Point guard Jordin Canada logged 14 points on 6-for-15 from the field (1–3 3pt) and six assists. Center Liz Cambage had 14 points on 4-for-9 from the field (6–6 FT), four rebounds, three assists and two blocks on three fouls.

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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