May 8, 2022 

Daily Briefing — May 8, 2022: Rhyne Howard dazzles in debut

No. 1 picks show out across the Eastern Conference

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Top rookie Rhyne Howard made her debut last night and did something no one in league history has ever done, with Natasha Howard the only one who’s come close (but you’ll have to read on to find out!). That led Atlanta to a surprise win over Dallas, the second upset of the night after another recent No. 1 pick led New York over Connecticut! (I’m referring to Sabrina Ionescu, of course.)

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Watch List, Sunday, May 8

(All times in Eastern)

Los Angeles @ Indiana, 3 p.m., Amazon Prime Video

Washington @ Minnesota, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Seattle @ Las Vegas, 10 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, May 7, recap

New York beat Connecticut, 81-79. The Sun led 12-2 midway through the first quarter, though the Liberty took the lead in the late second; New York led by as much as nine multiple times in the third before Connecticut held a one-possession lead for most of the fourth quarter. The Liberty out-shot the Sun by 5.5% from the field and 16.5% from three; the teams combined for 30 turnovers and 44 fouls.

Point guard Sabrina Ionescu led New York with 25 points on 10-for-18 from the field and 3-for-6 from three, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals against four turnovers and four fouls in 35 minutes; combo guard Sami Whitcomb had 15 points on 2-for-6 from three (2-2 from two, 5-6 FT), five rebounds, five assists, and three steals against four turnovers and four fouls in 33 minutes; big Natasha Howard notched 16 points on 5-for-14 from the field and 3-for-7 from three, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks against three turnovers and four fouls in 36 minutes.

Connecticut was led by big Alyssa Thomas’ 25 points on 10-for-16 from the field and 5-for-9 from the line, seven rebounds (three offensive), two assists, and four steals against three turnovers in 36 minutes; big wing Jonquel Jones had 15 points on 6-for-17 shooting (2-7 3pt.), seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks against six turnovers; point guard Jasmine Thomas notched 13 points on 3-for-7 FG (1-4 3pt., 6-7 FT), four rebounds, and three assists against four turnovers and five fouls in 29 minutes.

Atlanta beat Dallas, 66-59. The Wings were within one possession in the mid-first quarter; then the Dream went on a 17-2 run; a 15-0 Dallas run led to a one-possession game in the early third, but Atlanta responded with a 12-3 run. The teams combined to shoot 27.8% from the field and 23.9% from three; the teams combined for 22 steals, part of 38 turnovers and 43 fouls.

In her WNBA debut, No. 1-overall pick Rhyne Howard led the Dream with 16 points on 4-for-12 from three (0-3 from two), three rebounds, four assists, two steals, and four blocks — the first 16/3/4/2/4 debut in league history, per Across The Timeline (and only the second debut with multiple assists, steals, and blocks, after Natasha Howard in 2014); combo forward Nia Coffey scored 11 points on 3-for-9 from the field and 1-for-4 from three, plus nine rebounds against four turnovers and four fouls; big Cheyenne Parker recorded a double-double with 10 points (4-11 FG, 0-2 3pt.) and 10 rebounds, plus two steals and three blocks against five turnovers and five fouls.

The Wings were led by wing Marina Mabrey’s 20 points on 8-for-16 from the field and 3-for-7 from three and six rebounds against four turnovers off the bench; wing Allisha Gray had 12 points on 3-for-12 FG (0-2 3pt., 6-8 FT), nine rebounds, two assists, and three blocks; off-ball guard Arike Ogunbowale, combo forward Kayla Thornton, and big Isabelle Harrison struggled to a combined 5-for-29 shooting, with Thornton adding three steals and Ogunbowale committing six turnovers and four fouls.

TDB Dallas point guard minutes distribution watch: Veronica Burton, 21 minutes; Tyasha Harris, nine; Moriah Jefferson, four.

TDB Dallas center minutes distribution watch: Awak Kuier, 19 minutes; Isabelle Harrison, 17; Charli Collier, three.

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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