May 12, 2022 

Daily Briefing — May 12, 2022: PROTOCOL PROBLEMS — Breanna Stewart, Epiphanny Prince late scratches ahead of Storm loss

Big night for Han Xu, bigger night for Chicago Sky

Happy Thursday — the workweek’s almost passed! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day five of the WNBA was here, with Seattle taking a blowout loss to Phoenix after superstar big wing Breanna Stewart and shot-creating combo guard Epiphanny Prince were late scratches, having to enter the health and safety protocols shortly before tipoff in Phoenix.

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COVID rates have been rising a bit across the country, and we are once again having a conversation about W players having to fly commercial. With the FAA’s mask mandate having ended recently, flights are one of the few areas in which players have to be in small, enclosed spaces with a maskless general population that isn’t required to be vaccinated. We already had players like Natasha Cloud and Odyssey Sims in protocols; this could become a major issue if players continue to have to miss games.

Elsewhere, Atlanta notched a hell of a statement win over Los Angeles, as a packed house rocked out to another Rhyne Howard showcase. Oh, and Chicago clobbered New York into next week.

But first, read:

Watch List, Thursday, May 12

(All times in Eastern)


Wednesday, May 11 recap

Atlanta beat Los Angeles, 77-75

The Sparks led for a grand total of 5:53. The Dream shot 11.7% better from three; the teams combined for 36 fouls.

Wing Rhyne Howard led Atlanta with 21 points on 7-for-18 from the field and 5-for-10 from three and eight rebounds; combo forward Megan Walker scored 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting (2-3 3pt.) off the bench without a turnover; big Cheyenne Parker was limited to 24 minutes with five fouls, but recorded 10 points on 4-for-9 FG (2-4 3pt.) and five rebounds; off-ball guard Kristy Wallace notched 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting (1-3 3pt.) and two assists against four fouls in 22 minutes.

Los Angeles was led by point guard big Nneka Ogwumike’s 17-point, 15-rebound double-double on 6-for-11 from the field (0-1 3pt.) and 5-for-8 from the line, with five offensive boards and four assists; Jordin Canada had 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting (2-4 3pt.), six rebounds, and three assists against three turnovers and four fouls in 30 minutes; center Liz Cambage notched 16 points on 4-for-10 FG (1-1 3pt., 7-8 FT), two assists, and five blocks in 26 minutes.

Chicago beat New York, 83-50

The Sky won the first half 36-17. Chicago shot 12.3% better from the field and 32.2% from three; the Liberty assisted on 16 of their 20 buckets.

Combo guard Dana Evans led the Sky with 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting (3-3 3pt.), four rebounds, and three assists in 26 minutes; combo forward Rebekah Gardner made her season debut, started and playing 27 minutes, finishing with 14 points on 6-for-9 FG, four rebounds, and two steals; big Candace Parker and Emma Meesseman combined for 21 points on 8-for-19 from the field (Parker 3-5 3pt., Meesseman 0-1 3pt.), 12 rebounds, eight assists, and just one turnover, with Parker adding three blocks.

New York was led by backup center Han Xu’s 10 points on 3-for-4 FG (1-1 3pt.) in nine minutes; combo forward Jocelyn Willoughby notched nine points on 4-for-8 shooting (1-2 3pt.) in 19 minutes; the Big Three of point guard Sabrina Ionescu, wing Betnijah Laney, and big Natasha Howard struggled to a combined 18 points on 8-for-30 from the field, plus 15 rebounds and six turnovers, with Laney adding six assists.

Phoenix beat Seattle, 97-77

The game was within one possession for almost all of the first 16 minutes, and then the Mercury went on a 16-2 run; the teams both scored 32 points in the third quarter. Phoenix shot 19.1% better from the field and 17.8% better from three; The Storm assisted on 20 of its 27 buckets, and notched 10 steals; the teams combined for 33 turnovers and 43 fouls.

Center Tina Charles led the Mercury with 22 points on 8-for-13 from the field (3-4 3pt.) and 11 rebounds for a double-double, plus two assists; combo guard Skylar Diggins-Smith had 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting (2-4 3pt.), seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals against five turnovers; combo guard Diana Taurasi notched 15 points on 4-for-6 from three (0-2 from two), four assists, and two blocks against four turnovers; wing Diamond DeShields made her Phoenix debut, finishing with 12 points on 6-for-13 FG (0-3 3pt.) and  four assists against three turnovers and five fouls in 25 minutes; point guard Shey Peddy tallied 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting (1-1 3pt.), six assists, and four steals against three turnovers and four fouls in 22 minutes; backup center Megan Gustafson committed five fouls in nine minutes.

Seattle was led by combo guard Jewell Loyd’s 26 points on 9-for-19 from the field and 4-for-7 from three, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals against five turnovers and four fouls in 33 minutes; point guard Sue Bird had 14 points on 4-for-7 from three (0-2 from two), six assists, and two steals against three turnovers; big Ezi Magbegor notched 11 points on 5-for-12 FG (0-1 3pt.), five rebounds (three offensive), and two steals against four fouls in 28 minutes.

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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