June 29, 2022 

Daily Briefing — June 29, 2022: MoJeff Mo Problems

All-Star Game reserves revealed

Happy hump day! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 45 of the WNBA season is here, following Minnesota getting its first-ever triple-double — from in-season import Moriah Jefferson! MoJeff not only recorded the trip-dub for her third W team, she did against the team that decided to cut her midseason; and she did it in a way that only Sheryl Swoopes (in 1997) and Candace Parker (twice this year) matched. But you’ll have to read on to find out what that was…

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Also! The WNBA rounded out its 2022 All-Star rosters by naming the 12 reserves. The reserves are selected by the 12 WNBA head coaches. So, without further ado:

  • Ariel Atkins, Washington (2nd All-Star nod)
  • Kahleah Copper, Chicago (2nd)
  • Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix (6th)
  • Dearica Hamby, Las Vegas (2nd)
  • Natasha Howard, New York (2nd)
  • Rhyne Howard, Atlanta (1st)
  • Brionna Jones, Connecticut (2nd)
  • Jewell Loyd, Seattle (4th)
  • Emma Meesseman, Chicago (2nd)
  • Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas (2nd)
  • Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut (3rd)
  • Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago (4th)

You will notice that Dallas’ best player isn’t on here. Despite leading the team in scoring efficiency and being second in overall scoring, and leading the team in assist-to-turnover ratio and stocks*, and being far and away one of the Wings’ two best defenders, Allisha Gray is not an All-Star. I’m not really sure what any Dallas player not named Arike Ogunbowale has to do to be an All-Star at this point, considering by any measure, Gray has been one of the few best backcourt players in the league this year.

Also, Kelsey Mitchell has played 656 minutes this season to Kahleah Copper’s 380, with Mitchell nearly doubling the latter’s assist rate while committing fewer turnovers and running a higher usage.

But first, read:

  • WNBA.com’s Mark Schindler dives deep into the understated excellence of Allisha Gray
  • Rachel Galligan sketches out that Courtney Vandersloot game-winner and (correctly) argues Nneka Ogwumike needs more paint touches
  • Bleacher Report’s Jackie Powell adds Ezi Magbegor, Elena Delle Donne, and more to my aforementioned All-Star snubs

W Roundup

Seattle: Signed center Tina Charles to a full rest-of-season contract

Watch List, Wednesday, June 29

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

Connecticut @ Chicago, Noon, NBA TV (Local: NESN, Marquee)

Indiana @ Phoenix, 10 p.m., NBA TV (Local: Indiana Fever Livestream, Bally Sports Arizona)

Las Vegas @ Seattle, 10 p.m., League Pass (Local: My LV TV, FOX13/Amazon Prime video)

Tuesday, June 28 recap

Washington (13-9) beat Atlanta (8-11), 92-74. The Dream scored the first points, then promptly fell victim to a 16-2 Mystics run. Washington shot 55.2% from the field and 60.0% from three, while holding Atlanta to 25.0% from deep.

Point guard Natasha Cloud and off-ball guard Ariel Atkins led the Mystics with a combined 33 points on 11-for-15 from the field and 8-for-11 from three and six assists, against three Cloud turnovers; backup big Myisha Hines-Allen had 11 points on 5-for-8 FG (1-1 3pt.), seven rebounds, and two assists in 13 minutes.

The Dream were led by backup off-ball guard AD’s 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting (1-3 3pt.) and four assists against two turnovers; bench big Naz Hillmon had 11 points on 3-for-3 FG, four rebounds, and two assists against two turnovers.

Minnesota (6-14 beat Dallas (9-11), 92-64. The Lynx won the first quarter 33-11, and the mid-second quarter was the last time the Wings got within 20. Minnesota shot 41.4% from three, while holding Dallas to just 28.8% overall; the Lynx won the rebounding battle by 23, including a season-high 17 offensive boards — the fourth-most-dominant rebounding game by a team this year, per Across The Timeline; Minnesota committed 22 fouls.

Point guard Moriah Jefferson led the Lynx with her first-career triple-double, on 13 points (5-14 FG, 2-5 3pt.), a career-high-tying 10 rebounds, and a career-high 10 assists, plus two steals and just one turnover. It’s just the fourth one-turnover trip-dub in WNBA history, but the third this year (the other two were both Candace Parker); off-ball guard Aerial Powers had 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting (3-3 3pt.), three rebounds, and four assists against two turnovers; big Damiris Dantas notched 11 points on 3-for-6 from three (0-1 from two), six rebounds, and four assists without a turnover.

The Wings were led by backup point guard Veronica Burton’s 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting (2-4 3pt.); off-ball guard Arike Ogunbowale struggled to 16 points on 5-for-12 from the field (2-5 from three) and three assists against two turnovers; center Teaira McCowan notched eight points on 4-for-5 FG and eight rebounds and still only played 15 minutes, for some reason — thank you, Vickie Johnson; wing Allisha Gray did not play, if only to drive home how she is clearly the team’s best player.

* steals + blocks

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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