June 25, 2022
Daily Briefing — June 25, 2022: WNBA responds to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade
Nine of the WNBA's 12 teams issued statements on social media, and many players spoke out as well
It’s Saturday. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 41 of the WNBA season is here, following a basketball game — in which the New York Liberty extended their win streak — but, more importantly, some non-basketball news: The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling that Americans do not possess the right to an abortion. There are too many implications and thoughts for me to detail here — how this will disproportionately harm low-income people and people of color, how the United States stands in contrast to dozens of countries increasing abortion access, how this was leaked a month and a half ago to no effect, how leaders of the political party in favor of abortion access have made no indications of effecting material change.
Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello spoke before Friday’s game:
“We haven’t had any [conversation] yet, but obviously we’re all thinking about it. It’s just mind-boggling, to be honest. It’s a disgusting result. We just had great things for 50 years of Title IX, and now we’re taking two steps back. And now a woman can’t decide what she wants to do with her body?”
The WNBA Players Association wrote in a statement: “This decision shows a branch of government that is so out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity. This is why we say voting rights are critically important and must be protected. We must recognize that when we cast a ballot it is to elect officials and to connect the dots to policies and legislation that align with our values.“
During the Seattle Storm’s regular media availability, forward Gabby Williams said, “It’s amazing to me that guns can have more rights than my own body.” And the Las Vegas Aces wore shirts saying “Our bodies, our futures, our abortions” and “Bans off our bodies” during practice.
Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner spoke out on the inherent hypocrisy and the anti-democratic nature of the Supreme Court. Seattle forward Breanna Stewart tweeted a sentiment similar to Brondello’s.
Nine of the WNBA’s 12 teams issued their own statements on social media; the Indiana Fever, Liberty and Mercury did not. The Minnesota Lynx put out a one-line statement about “fight[ing] inequities and injustices”; the Dallas Wings also issued a statement about personal freedoms and health equity that did not directly acknowledge Roe or abortion.
The Los Angeles Sparks called it an “outrage” to “strip women of [a] fundamental right.” The Connecticut Sun spoke in solidarity, saying that “each and every one of us has lost the right to decide our future.” The Chicago Sky pledged to “be a voice for all those impacted by today’s Supreme Court decision.” The Aces acknowledged that “this is only the beginning. Birth control, a married couple’s right to privacy, and same-sex marriage are all likely to come under attack in the coming years.”
The Atlanta Dream wrote in part, “The governing of people’s rights to make decisions for their own bodies has serious and often deadly consequences for those who can become pregnant. The impacts — known and unknown — affect every one of us, but people of color, families of lower socioeconomic statuses and victims of abusive relationships will be disproportionately affected.”
The Washington Mystics said that the decision “eliminates the work of many generations of women,” adding, “As professional athletes, we are the physical manifestation of the battles forged by women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ individuals for us to have the opportunities that we have today … We will continue to use our platform to fight the inequalities that seek to turn back the clock and halt the progress that started generations ago by those who came before us.”
- Our Jackie Powell dives deep into the parallel developments of Han Xu and the Liberty since Han’s drafting in 2019
- Our James Kay describes how the Sky’s versatility fed into their historic comeback against the Aces on Tuesday
- Our Matthew Walter looks at how Dearica Hamby has become a difference-maker for the Aces and the joy behind her play
The mid-season cutdown deadline passed on Friday, meaning that teams had to either cut their unprotected-salaried players or pay them for the rest of the season. The following players were cut; several of them will likely be re-signed through mechanisms I’ll describe in later TDBs.
Minnesota: Waived off-ball guard Evina Westbrook
Phoenix: Waived big Kristine Anigwe
Seattle: Waived big Reshanda Gray
Washington: Waived combo forward Kennedy Burke
Watch List, Saturday, June 25
(All times in Eastern, Game Of The Day in bold)
Phoenix @ Dallas, 8 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Bally Sports Arizona, Bally Sports Southwest Extra)
Los Angeles @ Seattle, 9 p.m., League Pass/Facebook (Local: Spectrum SportsNet, JOEtv/Amazon Prime video)
Washington @ Las Vegas, 10 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Monumental, My LV TV)
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Friday, June 24 recap
New York (8-10) beat Atlanta (8-9), 89-77. The Dream never led. The Liberty shot 10.5 percentage points better overall; New York committed 16 turnovers.
Point guard Sabrina Ionescu led the Liberty with a near-triple-double of 21 points (on 7-for-15 shooting from the field and 5-for-9 from three), nine rebounds and eight assists against three turnovers and four fouls in 34 minutes; big Natasha Howard recorded a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double on 7-for-12 shooting (1-3 3pt., 4-8 FT) with five assists and two steals against four turnovers; wing Marine Johannès scored 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting from three (1-2 from two), plus three assists against four turnovers.
Atlanta was led by backup combo guard AD’s 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from three, three rebounds, and two steals; wing Rhyne Howard had 19 points on 6-for-18 shooting (2-5 3pt.), eight rebounds and two assists against two turnovers.
The Next’s Jackie Powell contributed reporting for this story.