June 1, 2022 

Daily Briefing — June 1, 2022: CHOKE POINTS — Ogunbowale misses game-tying free-throws in Los Angeles

Classic WNBA After Dark in LA

Happy hump day! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 23 of the WNBA season is here, following a couple very normal games, Phoenix looking Kind Of Good after Diana Taurasi got herself ejected, and also some classic WNBA After Dark in LA.

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For those unfamiliar, teams on the west coast like to get up to a little nonsense in their late games. They keep a professional sheen while the east coasters are up; but once those suckers go to bed, the façade is dropped. No good game slate is complete without some nonsense After Dark, and the better the full day’s slate, the greater the nonsense. And boy was yesterday a good slate, which set up Wings-Sparks:

  1. Brittney Sykes, a heretofore defense-only wing, played backup point guard
  2. Brittney Sykes set a Sparks-career-high
  3. Chennedy Carter played well, and then basically didn’t play the final 15 minutes
  4. Veronica Burton capped the record for “most minutes to start a career without a bucket” (per Across The Timeline) at 106 minutes, then nailed a 27-foot pull-up three with 16 seconds left on the shot clock
  5. Veronica Burton was a +12 in 14 minutes
  6. Tyasha Harris made both of her first-half threes, then only played 4.5 second-half minutes
  7. Isabelle Harrison hit a three
  8. The Sparks built a 15-point lead in 15 minutes
  9. The Wings’ defense, which we’ve spent a week hyping up, allowed LA of all teams to score 93 points
  10. Dallas trailed by six with 20 seconds left, then later went to the line to tie the game
  11. Arike Ogunbowale missed the first free-throw, then pump-faked the second to try to draw a lane violation — which is illegal, so she’s credited with two missed-free throws. Then she broke the sideline ad monitor in frustration.
  • By the way, a lane violation only results in redoing one free-throw, not both

WNBA After Dark, baby.

But first, read:

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W Roundup

Connecticut: Signed big Stephanie Jones to a hardship contract, with big Joyner Holmes in health and safety protocols

Watch List, Wednesday, June 1

(All times in Eastern)

Minnesota @ Atlanta, 7 p.m., ESPN+ (Local: Bally Sports North Extra, Bally Sports Southeast)

Indiana @ New York, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network (Local: Indiana Fever Livestream, YES Stream)

Wednesday, June 1 recap

Washington beat Indiana, 87-75. The Fever jumped out to a 15-4 lead, but the Mystics had a lead by the late first quarter; Indiana led for most of the second and third quarters, before Washington won the final 15 minutes 35-19. The Mystics won the rebounding battle by 10.

Washington was led by off-ball guard Ariel Atkins’ season-high 28 points on 9-for-16 from the field, 4-for-6 from three, 6-for-6 from the line, four rebounds, and two assists against three turnovers; point guard Natasha Cloud had 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting (1-3 3pt.), four rebounds, nine assists, and two steals against five turnovers; backup center Elizabeth Williams recorded a 10-point, 15-rebound double-double on 4-for-7 FG, plus six blocks against two turnovers in 23 minutes — the 11th 10 pts/15 reb/6 blk game in WNBA history, and just the second in fewer than 32 minutes; big Elena Delle Donne notched 19 points on 8-for-17 from the field and 2-for-6 from three, seven rebounds (three offensive), three assists, and two blocks.

Combo guard Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with 26 points on 9-for-14 from the field (3-6 3pt.) and four assists against three turnovers; big NaLyssa Smith had 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting (2-4 3pt.), four rebounds, and three assists against three turnovers and five fouls in 29 minutes; backup combo forward Emily Engstler notched six points on 3-for-6 FG (0-2 3pt.), six rebounds (four offensive), three assists, two steals, and two blocks against two turnovers.

Chicago beat Phoenix, 73-70. The Sky led by 12 in the late first half, but the Mercury outscored them from that point through the early fourth 39-19; Chicago won the fourth quarter 22-11.

Point guard Courtney Vandersloot led the Sky with a season-high 18 points on 6-for-12 from the field (0-2 3pt.) and 6-for-8 from the line and six assists against four fouls in 30 minutes; big Emma Meesseman had 10 points on 5-for-8 FG, five rebounds, and three assists without a turnover; wing Kahleah Copper notched 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting (1-4 3pt.), seven rebounds, and three assists against three turnovers and four fouls in 30 minutes.

Phoenix was led by center Tina Charles’ season-high 25 points on 10-for-21 from the field and a season-high 3-for-6 from three, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks; combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smith had 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting (2-5 3pt.) and eight assists against three turnovers and five fouls in 36 minutes; wing Diamond DeShields notched 10 points on 5-for-14 FG (0-3 3pt.), seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals against two turnovers.

Las Vegas beat Connecticut, 89-81. The game was tied as late as the early second quarter, and then the Aces scored 10-straight points. The teams combined to shoot 44.4% from the field and 25.5% from three, but Vegas took eight more free-throws.

Center A’ja Wilson led the Aces with a season-high 24 points on 9-for-19 from the field (1-4 3pt.) and 5-for-7 from the field and 14 rebounds (five offensive) for a double-double, plus two assists and two blocks against two turnovers; point guard Kelsey Plum had 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting (3-7 3pt.), four rebounds, and seven assists against four turnovers; wing Jackie Young notched 21 points on 8-for-15 FG (1-4 3pt.), five rebounds, three assists, and three steals against two turnovers and four fouls in 37 minutes.

The Sun were led by big Alyssa Thomas’ double-double with 12 points on 6-for-12 FG and a season-high-tying 11 rebounds, plus six assists and two steals against two turnovers; combo guard Courtney Williams had 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting (1-4 3pt.), three rebounds, and four assists; big wing DeWanna Bonner notched 14 points on 6-for-15 from the field, 0-for-5 from three, and 2-for-6 from the line without a turnover.

Los Angeles beat Dallas, 93-91. The Sparks had a 93.5% win probability with a 12-point lead in the late third quarter, and then the Wings went on a 23-8 run; LA led 91-85 with 28 seconds to go, and 18 seconds later, it led 93-91 Dallas had the ball in the halfcourt (and you already know what happened next). The Sparks shot 19.7 percentage points better from the field, but only took four threes while allowing the Wings to go 11-for-27 (40.7%) from deep; Dallas notched 10 steals; the teams combined for 44 fouls.

Los Angeles was led by backup… point guard(!)… Brittney Sykes’ season-high 25 points on 8-for-11 from the field and 9-for-11 from the line, six assists, and two steals against four turnovers and four fouls in 27 minutes; big Nneka Ogwumike recorded a double-double of 16 points on 7-for-10 FG and 10 rebounds, plus three assists against two turnovers; combo forward Katie Lou Samuelson had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting (2-3 3pt.) and two steals against two turnovers.

Big Isabelle Harrison, who came off the bench for Vickie Johnson Galaxy Brain reasons, led the Wings with a season-high 20 points on 7-for-13 FG (1-1 3pt.). eight rebounds (four offensive), two assists, and three steals against two turnovers; wing Marina Mabrey had 16 points on 7-for-17 from the field (1-5 3pt.), four rebounds, and three assists against four fouls in 30 minutes; big Satou Sabally notched 12 points on 2-for-5 from three (1-2 from two), four rebounds, and four assists against four fouls in 22 minutes.

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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