June 9, 2022 

Daily Briefing — June 9, 2022: Mystics come up big in Sky rematch

And the Sun, well, they're always big

It’s Thursday, and the work week is nearly over. Hang in there, we believe in you! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, NCAA Roundup, the daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 29 of the WNBA season has arrived, and dice are starting to roll as New York and Atlanta swap trade pieces. The Next’s Spencer Nusbaum reported yesterday afternoon that Atlanta had agreed to swap combo forward Megan Walker and the rights to center Raquel Carrera (a Spanish prospect who is currently overseas) for the Liberty combo guard AD Durr, who had missed the 2020 and 2021 season due to complications with COVID-19. With AD’s slot vacant, the Liberty were quick to sign French combo guard Marine Johannès, The Next’s Jackie Powell reported. Whether this move encourages other teams in the depths of the rankings to take the gamble or not has yet to be seen, but if New York scores big here, who’s to say others won’t try their hand next? Yesterday, the Washington Mystics scored an important win in a rematch against the Chicago Sky, while the Sun took the Fever to town in a blowout victory for Connecticut.

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But first read…

  • Our Jenn Hatfield explores Kennedy Burke’s impact for the Mystics, on and off the court.
  • Our Hayden Cilley dives into what it’s like to be the Phoenix Mercury right now, on the mend from a seven-game losing streak. Spoilers: it’s not great, but we won’t say there isn’t hope to cling to.
  • Our Jackie Powell brings you the New York side of the Liberty-Atlanta trade, and the potential Johannes brings to the table, while our Spencer Nusbaum details the Atlanta side, and what Dream general manager Dan Padover sees in AD.

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W Roundup

  • Los Angeles: Activated combo guard Kristi Toliver.
  • Atlanta, New York: As described above, the Dream traded combo forward Megan Walker and the rights to center Raquel Carrera (overseas, Spain) to the Liberty for combo guard AD Durr.
  • New York: Signed combo guard Marine Johannès. Also waived Megan Walker and released the hardship contract of point guard Crystal Dangerfield.

NCAA Roundup

Transfer portal

Out of the portal

  • Latasha Lattimore: The forward out of Texas committed to Miami.

Coaching changes

  • American: Promoted associate head coach Tiffany Coll to head coach after Megan Gebbia left for Wake Forest.

Watch List, Thursday, June 9

None. Strange, but true.

Wednesday, June 8 recap

Connecticut beat Indiana, 88–69. The Fever started out strong, keeping up with the Sun through the first quarter, but were quickly overwhelmed as Connecticut kicked into high gear. A 15–4 Connecticut run in the mid-second practically sealed the deal, as the Sun kept a comfortable double-digit lead through the second half. The Sun were lethal on the boards, grabbing 41 rebounds to the Fever’s 29, and got themselves to the free throw line at a high clip, attempting 27 shots to the Fever’s 14. Connecticut out-shot Indiana from the field by 25%, and had six fewer fouls overall.

For the Sun, the big three struck once again: center Brionna Jones led with 18 points on 7-for-14 from the field (4–4 FT), which she paired with a season-high nine rebounds and three assists on three fouls; big wing Alyssa Thomas notched 11 points on 3-for-9 from the field (5–6 FT), nine rebounds and five assists on five fouls and six turnovers; and big wing Jonquel Jones logged 16 points on 4-for-9 from the field (1–5 3pt, 7–9 FT) alongside nine rebounds and three assists on four turnovers. The teammates set another WNBA record, becoming the first trio to have at least 10 points, nine rebounds, and three assists each in the same game, per Across the Timeline. Off the bench, off-ball guard DiJonai Carrington logged 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 from the field (2–4 FT), as well as four rebounds and three steals, while big Joyner Holmes had a season-high eight points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal in just five minutes on the court. Holmes is the first player in WNBA history to record that stat line or better in less than six minutes of playing time, per Across the Timeline.

Fever big NaLyssa Smith led Indiana and all scorers with a season-high 19 points on 8-for-15 from the field (1–4 3pt, 2–2 FT), along with seven rebounds and two steals. Center Queen Egbo had 10 points on 4-for-7 from the field and four rebounds on five fouls, while guards Danielle Robinson and Kelsey Mitchell combined for 21 points on 8-for-24 from the field. Mitchell also logged five assists, while Robinson also had five rebounds and three assists.

Washington beat Chicago, 84–82. The Washington Mystics entered yesterday’s rematch against the Sky on a two-game losing streak and not looking to extend it, as they took an early lead and held onto it through the first quarter. An 11–0 Chicago run in the early second, however, swung the lead in favor of the Sky for just long enough to invigorate Washington, who were now missing big Elena Delle Donne as she exited the game with back tightness and wasn’t able to return. Despite missing Delle Donne, the Mystics managed to claw their way back into the lead at halftime, led by key drives and consistency from the free throw line from off-ball guard Alysha Clark. Entering the second half, the Sky went cold from the field and allowed the Mystics to grab a double-digit lead which they maintained until the mid-fourth quarter. But as we’ve all come to learn, never count out Chicago: clutch passes from point guard Dana Evans cut the lead to eight, and the full force of the Sky’s defense pulled four Mystics turnovers that Chicago was quick to capitalize on. Suddenly, with a minute left to play, the Sky had found themselves within one possession of the lead. A completed and-one jump-shot from Sky big Candace Parker brought the score to 82 apiece, but a shooting foul on Mystics point guard Natasha Cloud, Washington’s best free throw shooter, gave the Mystics the slightest edge they needed to seal the deal. Overall, Chicago out-shot Washington from three by 52%, but Washington had nearly twice as many free throw attempts, going 17-for-20 to Chicago’s 10-for-11.

Mystics point guard Ariel Atkins led Washington and all scorers with 19 points on 8-for-12 from the field (3–4 FT), along with seven rebounds (three offensive) and five assists on three fouls. Off-ball guard Alysha Clark had a season-high 18 points on 7-for-9 from the field (4–4 FT), along with three rebounds and two assists on three fouls. Center Shakira Austin had 14 points on 5-for-6 from the field (4–4 FT), six rebounds and two blocks on four fouls. Off the bench, forwards Tianna Hawkins and Myisha Hines-Allen combined for 16 points on 7-for-18 from the field. Hawkins also snagged a season-high six rebounds and two steals on five turnovers and three fouls.

For Chicago, big Candace Parker led with 16 points on 6-for-15 from the field (1–4 3pt, 3–4 FT), along with nine rebounds and three assists on four fouls. Wing Kahleah Copper had 12 points on 5-for-12 from the field (2–2 FT), along with five rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, big Azura Stevens had 11 points on 5-for-8 from the field (1–3 3pt), five rebounds, and two assists.

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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