May 9, 2022
Daily Briefing — May 9, 2022: ACES HIGH — Las Vegas bests Seattle in primetime rivalry
Plus: on Los Angeles and Washington's road wins to wrap up the opening weekend
It’s Monday, I’m sorry. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap. Day four of the WNBA is here, following a night in which Las Vegas notched the first quality win of the Becky Hammon Era — and boy was it a quality one. The Aces rocketed out to a quick lead over Seattle, and responded with a run each and every time the Storm got within striking distance.
Elsewhere, Los Angeles continued playing… interesting basketball, while Washington obliterated Minnesota (until a late comeback after the Mystics basically stopped trying).
But first, read:
- Off-ball guard Gabby Williams elevated Seattle’s defense to new heights in its season-opener
- The ink dried on Baylor’s three high-profile transfers, sure to keep them a competitor next season
- Basketball News’ Nekias Duncan and Mark Schindler ran through the W’s season-openers, with four thoughts on each game.
- Her Hoop Stats’ Jacob Mox envisioned how the WNBA could create practice squads.
Watch List, Monday, May 9
(All times in Eastern)
Sunday, May 8 recap
Los Angeles beat Indiana, 87-77. The Sparks did not hold a lead until the late first quarter, and didn’t go ahead by more than one score until a 12-0 run from the mid-second quarter through the mid-third; the Fever were tied as late as the early fourth, but 10 unanswered Los Angeles points wrapped things up. The Sparks out-shot Indiana by 10.7% from the field, but shot just 1-for-10 from three to the Fever’s 38.5%; the teams combined for 26 steals, part of 37 turnovers; the teams combined for 38 fouls. Eight of the 10 players who saw the floor for Los Angeles went 0-for-1 from three.
Center Liz Cambage led the Sparks with 22 points on 8-for-11 FG (0-1 3pt., 6-6 FT) and 11 rebounds for a double-double, plus two assists in 22 minutes; off-ball guard Brittney Sykes had 17 points on 5-for-12 from the field (0-1 3pt.) and 7-for-7 from the line, four rebounds, three assists, and five steals against three turnovers in 25 minutes; big Nneka Ogwumike notched 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting (0-1 3pt.), eight rebounds (five offensive), and three steals against three turnovers; backup point guard Chennedy Carter scored 12 points on 5-for-12 FG (0-1 3pt.) with five assists and two blocks against three turnovers; off-ball guard Lexie Brown tallied five points (2-3 FG, 1-2 3pt.), five rebounds, two assists, and two steals without a turnover.
Indiana was led point guard Destanni Henderson’s 19 points on 6-for-13 form the field, 3-for-4 from three, and 4-for-6 from three, three offensive rebounds, three assists, and two steals against four turnovers; combo guard Kelsey Mitchell scored 15 points on 6-for-20 shooting (2-8 3pt.), plus seven assists against two turnovers and five fouls; big NaLyssa Smith had 13 points on 6-for-12 FG (0-1 3pt.) and nine rebounds.
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Washington beat Minnesota, 78-66. The game was within one possession in the late first quarter… and then the Mystics won the second 23-4; the Lynx made it a game late, after Wahsington took its foot well off the gas. The Mystics held Minnesota to 34.8% shooting; the teams combined for 39 fouls.
Washington was led by point guard Natasha Cloud’s 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-7 from three, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals against three turnovers and four fouls; off-ball guard Ariel Atkins had 20 points on 6-for-17 shooting (1-5 3pt., 7-7 FT), four rebounds, and five assists; center Shakira Austin had a double-double of 13 points on 6-for-8 FG and 10 rebounds in her second WNBA game, against three turnovers and four fouls.
Combo forward Jessica Shepard led the Lynx with a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double on 6-for-12 from the field and 2-for-4 from three, with four offensive boards and four assists and no turnovers; center Sylvia Fowles had 13 points on 5-for-12 FG and eight rebounds (three offensive) in 28 minutes; bench guards Yvonne Turner and Odyssey Sims combined for 21 points on 7-for-16 from the field and 3-for-6 from three, with each recording three rebounds, three assists, and three turnovers.
Las Vegas beat Seattle, 85-74. The Aces jumped out to a 16-7 lead, before the Storm cut the gap to five or six for most of the second quarter; Seattle took the lead in the early fourth, but separate Vegas runs of seven- and six-straight points put it out of reach. The Aces out-shot the Storm by 9.3% from the field and 6.5% from three, while winning the rebounding battle by 15; the teams combined for 18 blocks and 40 fouls.
Las Vegas was led by center A’ja Wilson’s 20-point, 15-rebound double-double on 8-for-14 FG (1-1 3pt.), with two assists and five blocks; wing Jackie Young scored 19 points on 6-for-10 from the field (2-3 3pt.) and 5-for-6 from the line, plus three rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes; point guard Kelsey Plum had 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting (2-5 3pt., 6-6 FT), three rebounds, seven assists, and three steals against five turnovers and five fouls; combo forward Dearica Hamby notched a double-double with 10 points (5-12 FG, 0-1 3pt.) and a career-high 19 rebounds, plus two assists.
Big wing Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 21 points on 8-for-19 from the field and 3-for-7 from three, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals; combo guard Jewell Loyd scored 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting (3-8 3pt.) without a turnover in 28 minutes; backup combo guard Epiphanny Prince scored 11 points in 10 minutes on 3-for-4 FG (2-3 3pt.) without a turnover.
TDB Seattle wing minutes watch: Gabby Williams, 21 minutes; Briann January, 17; Stephanie Talbot, 13.
Written by Em Adler
Em Adler (she/they) covers the Seattle Storm and college basketball for The Next, while also writing for The Chronicle, Duke's independent student paper
The Minnesota Lynx are in dire need of a point guard. Oh, right, they had points guards. Yes, Crystal Dangerfield had an underachieving sophomore season. So do a lot of players, and then they bounce back. Crystal is a point guard. So is Clarendon, but perhaps the injury status was enough to let them go. But Rachel Banham is not a point guard, and that is something you don’t learn on the fly. So far, almost no production. By comparison, Nina Milic comes off the plane, no practice, no nothing, and scores 7 points and gets 6 rebounds in 12 minutes. Looking at the list of waived players, there are point guards out there. Given the mounting injuries the Lynx are dealing with, maybe it’s time to take a good look at that list, and sooner rather than later. Sylvia Fowles deserves better. The Lynx deserve better. Cheryl Reeve’s track record is too damn good to think this is just the way it is.