September 8, 2022 

Daily Briefing — Sept. 8, 2022: Sky return to Chicago for do-or-die Game 5

Plus: NCAA shoe deals and new hires

Happy Thursday! Almost to the end of the work week and as always we’re cheering you on to the finish line. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the NCAA Roundup and the daily Watch List. Day 11 of the WNBA post-season is here, which means it’s finally time for the Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun to face off for a chance to play the Aces in the WNBA Finals. After a historic offensive performance from the Sun in Game 4, Connecticut are entering the lion’s den with plenty of momentum behind them. Meanwhile, for Chicago, taking home court may provide a boost to their energy on both sides of the court.

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The changes we saw to the Sun’s offensive between Game 3 and Game 4 were extensive — DeWanna Bonner was the only player to log over 30 minutes on the court; offensive production was spread between more of their pieces, with six players taking 8+ field goal attempts; Jonquel Jones better utilized the double-teams the Chicago Sky threw at her; and, Connecticut found a way to embrace the transition offense they’re known for, without sacrificing off-ball movement and paint touches in the half-court (Courtney Williams was particularly key to this.)

But, if there’s anything Chicago has shown they can do, it’s react and adapt to what their opponents give them. In the three times the Sky have played a team back-to-back this year and lost the first game, they have never lost the second game. If the Sky can return to the detail-oriented half-court offense that got them the No. 2 seed to begin with, we’ll be in for an all-out showdown this evening.

But first, read:

  • Hot off the press, our Jacqueline LeBlanc previews Connecticut’s keys to Game 5 against Chicago, and how they can replicate their Game 4 success.
  • Our Matthew Walter takes you through the Aces’ Game 4 win over the Seattle Storm, the players that stepped up and the key plays that punched their ticket to the finals.
  • Greenville News’ Emily Adams details the moments after A’ja Wilson’s MVP announcement, and the impact she continues to have on South Carolina.

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NCAA Roundup

NIL movement:

  • Puma: Announced this morning that it had signed LSU rookie Flaujae Johnson to a shoe deal. The details of the deal were not disclosed. Notably, LSU has its own deal with Nike in place. How the school handles this aspect of NIL deals (its players taking offers from competitors to their own sponsors) will be a space to watch in the coming weeks, and could have ripple effects beyond LSU.

Staff updates:

Watch list, Thursday, Sept. 8 — Semifinals

(All times in Eastern)

Connecticut @ Chicago, 8 p.m., ESPN2, NBA TV Canada — series tied, 2–2.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing editor for The Next from upstate New York. She occasionally covers 3x3 and labor in women's basketball.

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