June 22, 2022 

Daily Briefing — June 22, 2022: PIE IN THE SKY — Chicago pulls off largest comeback in WNBA history

Moriah Jefferson leads Lynx to win

Happy hump day! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 38 of the WNBA season is here, following Chicago getting crushed by Las Vegas for 13 or so minutes for the sole purpose of spending the next 27 minutes humiliating the Aces in the largest comeback in WNBA history. That’s right — the Sky overcame a 28-point deficit (twenty-eight points!), a full three points more than the previous record (25 points, Detroit, 2005).


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This feat required some heavy lifting on Chicago’s part, of course, in both ways: the Sky allowed Vegas to open with the league-high scoring mark in a quarter, including a 23-0 run, before they charged back. But the win still came in some wacky ways:

  • The Sky did not take a free-throw until the mid-third quarter, when they already led.
  • The Sky did not grab a single offensive rebound — just the fourth-such game in league history*
  • The Sky finished one assist from tying the WNBA record*

*Per Across The Timeline

And with that, the season series between the two is tied up — and Chicago’s hope of hosting the Commissioner’s Cup stays alive.

But first, read:

W Roundup

Minnesota: Big Natalie Achonwa returned to the rotation, terminating center Elissa Cunane’s hardship

Watch List, Wednesday, June 22

(All times in Eastern)

New York @ Connecticut, 7 p.m., ESPN2



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Tuesday, June 21 recap

Atlanta (8-8) beat Dallas (8-9), 80-75. The Dream led by double-digits in the mid-third quarter, but the Wings tied things up by the early fourth. Atlanta shot 7.4 percentage points better from the field and 21.5 better from three, but Dallas took 11 more free-throws; the Wings notched 10 steals, part of 22 Dream turnovers; the teams combined for 41 fouls.

Atlanta was led by off-ball guard Maya Caldwell’s debut of 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting (4-5 3pt.), four assists, and two steals against five turnovers — tying Chennedy Carter’s scoring record in a Dream debut, per ATT; wing Rhyne Howard had 16 points on 5-for-19 from the field and 3-for-9 from three, eight rebounds (three offensive), and four assists against four turnovers; point guard Aari McDonald notched 15 points on 6-for-9 FG (1-2 3pt.) and five assists against five turnovers.

Wing Allisha Gray led Dallas with 18 points on 5-for-14 from the field, 2-for-8 from three, and 6-for-6 from the line, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals; big Awak Kuier played three first-quarter minutes, scored seven points on 3-for-3 FG (1-1 3pt.), and sat for effectively the rest of the game — thank you, Vickie Johnson; backup center Teaira McCowan had 14 points on 6-for-10 FG, four rebounds, and two turnovers; wing Marina Mabrey and off-ball guard Arike Ogunbowale struggled to a combined 23 points on 9-for-25 from the field and 3-for-13 from three and four turnovers, with Mabrey adding six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Chicago (11-5) beat Las Vegas (13-3), 104-95. The Aces opened with a 41-point quarter — including a 23-0 run — that set the season-high for scoring in a quarter, and peaked at a 99.3% win expectancy with a 28-point lead in the mid-second quarter; the Sky made a 15-0 run in the mid-second quarter and a 16-0 run in the early third quarter to take the lead. Chicago shot 13.3 percentage points better overall while assisting on 34 of its 43 buckets — the second-most single-game assists in WNBA history, per ATT — but took 12 fewer free-throws; the Sky recorded zero offensive rebounds, the fourth-such game in W history, per ATT; Vegas committed just six fouls, tied for third-fewest in a game in league her, per ATT.

Chicago was led by point guard Courtney Vandersloot’s season-high 25 points on 10-for-14 from the field (3-5 3pt.), three rebounds, and eight assists; big Candace Parker recorded a double-double with 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting (1-4 3pt.) and 10 rebounds, plus four assists and two steals against two turnovers; backup big Azurá Stevens notched 19 points on 8-for-10 FG (3-4 3pt.), seven rebounds, two steals, and no turnovers against four fouls in 22 minutes; big Emma Meesseman notched 17 points on 8-for-14 shooting (1-1 3pt.), six rebounds, six assists, and two blocks against two turnovers.

Wing Jackie Young led the Aces with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting (3-5 3pt.), five rebounds, six assists, and two steals without a turnover; point guard Kelsey Plum had 22 points on 8-for-19 from the field and 3-for-8 from three, seven assists, and four turnovers; center A’ja Wilson notched a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double on 6-for-15 FG (2-4 3pt.) and 11 rebounds, plus two blocks.

Minnesota (4-13) beat Phoenix (6-11), 84-71. The Mercury led by 10 in the late first quarter and by 11 in the mid-second; the Lynx outscored Phoenix 42-26 over the next 15 minutes. Minnesota assisted on 24 of its 28 buckets; the teams combined for 38 fouls.

Off-ball guard Kayla McBride led the Lynx with 18 points on 7-for-11 from the field (1-4 3pt.), three assists, and a career-high-tying five steals; point guard Moriah Jefferson had 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting (2-4 3pt.), two rebounds, and a career-high-tying nine assists; backup big Natalie Achonwa played for the first time since May 8, finishing with 12 points in 18 minutes on 5-for-6 FG, six rebounds, and two assists against four fouls.

The Mercury were led by combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smiths’ 25 points on 9-for-18 shooting, two rebounds, and six assists without a turnover; combo guard Diana Taurasi had 15 points on 3-for-10 from three and 6-for-8 from the line, four rebounds, three assists and three turnovers; backup point guard Shey Peddy scored 12 points on 3-for-8 from three (1-2 from two), three rebounds, and two assists.

Los Angeles (6-9) beat Washington (11-8), 84-82. The Mystics led for about two mid-first-quarter minutes… and then didn’t lead again; the Sparks led by 14 with 4:16 to go, then Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins, and Alysha Clark made four threes for a 13-4 run; Cloud went to the line with a chance to tie the game with 2.5 seconds left, thanks to a phantom foul call on Brittney Sykes, but only made the first free-throw. The teams combined for 21 steals.

Los Angeles was led by big Nneka Ogwumike’s 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting (1-1 3pt.), six rebounds, two assists, and three steals against two turnovers; combo forward Katie Lou Samuelson had 13 points on 5-for-10 from the field and 3-for-6 from three, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals without a turnover; backup center Chiney Ogwumike notched 10 points on 5-for-7 FG and nine rebounds (four offensive).

Point guard Natasha Cloud led Washington with a 13-point, 13-assist double-double on 4-for-6 shooting (3-3 3pt. — all within the final five minutes — 2-7 FT), plus three rebounds and three steals against four turnovers; off-ball guard Ariel Atkins had 22 points on 7-for-15 from the field and 3-for-7 from three, three rebounds, and three steals against two turnovers; big Myisha Hines-Allen notched 17 points on 8-for-17 FG, eight rebounds (four offensive), and three steals against three turnovers.

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the Seattle Storm and college basketball for The Next, while also writing for The Chronicle, Duke's independent student paper

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