June 28, 2022 

Daily Briefing — June 28, 2022: Please enjoy these Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson highlights

Taurasi scores a season-high 27

It’s Tuesday. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 44 of the WNBA season is here, following the Aces overcoming a Chelsea Gray absence and a slow start to oust the Sparks in an instant classic. The lead changed hands, I kid you not, eighteen times. Las Vegas head coach Becky Hammon started Kierstan Bell in Gray’s absence, and played four Aces off the bench for 12-17 minutes each; but the real highlight was the show Kelsey Plum and A’ja Wilson put on. There was excitement generated by Los Angeles too, with Lexie Brown bombing away and Nneka Ogwumike being Nneka Ogwumike. The hootin’ and hollerin’, though, was all coming from Vegas’ stars.

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I mean, look at this:

Or this:

Or just enjoy Plum going supernova to the tune of 21 second-half points:

Elsewhere, Phoenix has discovered the value of playing only one center and having four shooters/drivers next to her. Welcome to the Modern Age!

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But first, read:

  • Our Gabriella Lewis looks at the chemistry Naz Hillmon brings to the Dream and how she’s adjusting to life in the A
  • ESPN’s T.J. Quinn summarizes what Sunday’s news of Brittney Griner’s impending trial indicates about the expediency of bringing her home

W Roundup

Atlanta: Released Maya Caldwell and Yvonne Turner from their hardship contracts, since Erica Wheeler and Kristy Wallace are active again

Phoenix: Re-signed off-ball guard Jennie Sims and signed big Reshanda Gray

Washington: Signed off-ball guard Evina Westbrook to her first seven-day contract

Watch List, Tuesday, June 28

(All times in Eastern, Game Of The Day in bold)

Atlanta @ Washington, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Dallas @ Minnesota, 8 p.m., ESPN+ (Local: Bally Sports Southwest Extra, Bally Sports North Extra)

Monday, June 27 recap

Phoenix (8-12) beat Indiana (5-15), 83-71. The Mercury jumped out to a 16-7 lead, but the Fever led by multiple possessions by the mid-second quarter. Indiana shot 58.3% from three, but on 21 fewer attempts from deep than Phoenix; the teams combined for 46 fouls.

Combo guard Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 27 points on a season-high 7-for-15 from three (0-2 from two) and 6-for-7 from the line, five rebounds, and two assists against five fouls in 32 minutes; combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smith had 17 points on 6-for-17 shooting (2-5 3pt.), three rebounds, and four assists; wing Diamond DeShields notched 11 points on 4-for-12 FG (0-1 3pt.), three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks against three turnovers and five fouls in 26 minutes off the bench.

The Fever were led by Kelsey Mitchell’s 22 points on 5-for-16 from the field, 3-for-6 from three, and 9-for-9 from the line and four assists against three turnovers; big NaLyssa Smith recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds on 5-for-10 shooting (1-1 3pt., 4-6 FT) against three turnovers; backup big Emma Cannon notched 12 points on 5-for-8 FG and four rebounds against four fouls in just 13 minutes.

Las Vegas (14-4) beat Los Angeles (7-11), 79-73. The teams swapped leads or were tied 18 (eighteen!) different times. The Sparks assisted on 23 of their 28 buckets; the teams combined for 37 fouls.

Point guard Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 29 points on 8-for-16 from the field, 4-for-7 from three, and 9-for-11 from the line, three rebounds, five assists, and three steals against three turnovers; center A’ja Wilson has a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double on 8-for-16 shooting (1-5 3pt., 8-9 FT), plus a career-high-tying four steals against five turnovers.

Los Angeles was led by off-ball guard Lexie Brown’s 17 points on a career-high-tying 5-for-8 from three (1-1 from two) in 22 minutes off the bench; big Nneka Ogwumike had 18 points on 8-for-18 FG (0-1 3pt.) and 11 rebounds for a double-double, plus two assists against four fouls in 29 minutes; de facto point guard Brittney Sykes — Jordin Canada was out — notched 10 points on 4-for-15 shooting (0-3 3pt.), seven rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks against two turnovers.

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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