May 24, 2022 

Daily Briefing — May 24, 2022: Los Angeles does not spark joy

This is not Bill Laimbeer's Aces

It’s Tuesday. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 16 of the WNBA season is here, following a day in which Los Angeles fell to 2-5, the most recent victim of a beatdown from Las Vegas. The star-studded Sparks now sit five games out of first place but just one game ahead of the last-place Lynx, a team whose lone win came over Los Angeles. The Sparks have dropped five straight games, and after averaging a third-place ranking in defensive rating over the past six years, are down to eighth this season.

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Nneka Ogwumike is playing at an All-WNBA level for Los Angeles in her return to health, Liz Cambage has been pretty much the same great player she’s been for her whole career, Jordin Canada’s experiencing a real breakout as a starting point guard, and Lexie Brown looks great in returning to a full-time role. But the entire bench has been disappointing, with Chennedy Carter looking uncomfortable running point and everyone else shooting poorly. Brittney Sykes is now even more redundant while still killing the Los Angeles spacing, and Ogwumike and Cambage have been an incompatible defensive combination. To make matters worse, the team’s X’s-and-O’s haven’t been maximizing the talent.

Well, at least they’ll get a good draft pick… for Washington.

But first, read:

W Roundup

Las Vegas: Signed point guard Chelsea Gray to a two-year extension, per Andy Yamashita of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Watch List, Tuesday, May 24

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

Dallas @ Connecticut, 7 p.m., League Pass (Local: Bally Sports Southwest Extra, NESN+)

Atlanta @ Washington, 7 p.m., League Pass (Local: Bally Sports Southeast Extra, NBC Sports Washington/Monument)

Indiana @ Chicago, 8 p.m., League Pass (Local: Indiana Fever Livestream, WCIU)

New York @ Minnesota, 8 p.m., League Pass (Local: YES App, Bally Sports North Extra)

Monday, May 23 recap

Las Vegas beat Los Angeles, 104-76. The game was tied midway through the first quarter, and then the Aces went on a 31-3 (thirty-one-to-three) run. Vegas shot better than the Sparks by 10.7 percentage points from the field and 25.7 percentage points from three; the Aces tied a WNBA record with 18 threes; Vegas won the rebounding battle by 10.

Center A’ja Wilson led the Aces with a season-high 24 points in 19 minutes on 10-for-15 shooting (career-high 2-4 3pt.) and six rebounds without a turnover; wing Jackie Young had 19 points on 7-for-11 FG (2-2 3pt.), nine rebounds, and five assists against two turnovers; point guard Kelsey Plum notched 17 points on 5-for-8 from three (0-2 from two), four rebounds, and eight assists; backup combo forward Kierstan Bell scored a career-high 12 points in 11 minutes on 4-for-6 shooting (2-4 3pt.) with two rebounds.

Los Angeles was led by backup point guard Chennedy Carter’s 17 points on 7-for-13 from the field, three rebounds, and two assists without a turnover in 14 minutes; point guard Jordin Canada had 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting (0-1 3pt.), three rebounds, and a season-high nine assists; center Liz Cambage notched 10 points on 4-for-9 FG (0-1 3pt.), four rebounds, and three 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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