WNBA Game Day #5 / Thursday, July 30

Mystics sink Storm from behind the arc

On the back of their excellent shooting, the Washington Mystics beat the Seattle Storm to improve to a perfect 3–o start to their season. The Storm were unable to contain the Mystics‘ sharpshooters, falling to 2–1 in the #Wubble.

Washington was on fire from the tip-off, jumping out to an early 15–4 lead. Ariel Atkins and Aerial Powers were firing on all cylinders, while the Storm were struggling on offense. Their offensive rebounding kept them in the game, though. Jordin Canada lead a Seattle comeback off the bench to bring the Storm within 7 at the end of the first quarter. Atkins had scored 11 of the Mystics‘ 21 points (3/4 3pt).

The Mystics stayed hot from long range, converting 9 of their first 13 attempts. They blew the game wide open, since the Storm were unable to get shots to fall. Emma Meesseman was struggling with her own shot, but put on another great performance as point center again. She always looked to get her teammates involved, setting up a lot of threes. She finished the game with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. At halftime, Washington lead 50–32, the main difference being their excellent shooting (62.5% 3pt) and their ball movement. Sue Bird, who had been sensational in the first two games was a non-factor in the first 20 minutes. Breanna Stewart was as productive as usual, putting up 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists before the break.

The Storm seemed to lack confidence and the belief that they could turn the game around in the second half. Myisha Hines-Allen (17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 8/13 FG) was nothing short of sensational, battling with Stewart, pushing her around and (wo)manhandling her in the paint. She used her strong physique to get to the basket over and oer again, shoving the excellent Seattle defender whereever and whenever she wanted. She gave Stewart a tough time on the other end of the court as well, holding her to 15 points on 5/14 shooting (1/5 3pt).

The Mystics‘ defense was stellar all game long, they forced 18 Seattle turnovers (13 steals), point guard Leilani Mitchell got a few clever steals poking the ball away fron behind. Moreover, the Mystics only committed 8 turnovers themselves. Stewart was the only starter to score in double figures. The Storm bench, especially Sami Whitcomb (11 points, 4/7 FG) and Mercedes Russell (7 points, 9 rebounds), went on a 12–3 run at the start of the fourth, cutting the deficit to 12. Atkins was fouled on a corner three, though, burying the shot, the free throw, and the Seattle Storm for good. Over the course of the game, the Mystics shot 15/32 from downtown, while Seattle only shot 20% from long range (5/25).

Mystics nehmen Storm den Wind aus den Segeln

… Spielbericht folgt in Kürze …

Boxscore: https://www.wnba.com/game/20200730/SEAWAS/

Two missed layups save Lynx‘ win over Sky

The Chicago Sky and the Minnesota Lynx went head to head on Thursday night. The Sky had beaten the Las Vegas Aces and the Los Angeles Sparks to start their season 2–0, looking for their first 3–0 start in 6 years. The Lynx were looking to improve to 2–1 and to make up for the beating they had received on the hands of the Seattle Storm. After a back and fourth battle between the two teams, Minnesota was able to come away with the win in dramatic fashion. Both teams are now 2–1 on the season.

Through three quarters, the game was tied, no team was able to pull ahead significantly. The Sky lead through most of the first quarter, but a Rachel Banham three-pointer put the Lynx ahead for the first time since the opening basket by Shenise Johnson, who struggled with her shot all game long (3/15 FG). Courtney Vandersloot got off to a great start, orchestrating the offense, but also scoring herself. She hit a long two with 1:20 to go in the second quarter to end a Lynx run at 37–32 after a Sylvia Fowles layup. The WNBA’s all-time leading rebounder was battling foul trouble, though, eventually fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter with 10 points (4/4 FG) and 7 rebounds. The Lynx lead 38–34 at the break, as they were able to slow down Chicago’s offense, forcing their slower style of play upon them, almost lulling them into it.

The game remained a nip and tuck affair through the third quarter, the Lynx‘ lead oscillated between 1 and 4 points for the most part. The Sky were able to retake the lead for a while, but Minnesota came right back with a Napheesa Collier layup. „Kiki“ Herbert-Harrigan’s second three of the night put the Lynx up 57–53.

Last year’s ROY Collier was outstanding in the final period, scoring 10 of her 20 points and sparking a Lynx run that extender their lead to double digits for the first time. Damiris Dantas sank a shot from the perimeter to put Minnesota up 73–62. With 3:26 left in the game, Crystal Dangerfield hit two foul shots to extend the lead to 12. The Sky were able to mount a late comeback, though. Cheyenne Parker was everywhere on the court: She knocked down a three, blocked Herbert-Harrigan, and was flawless at the line (8/8 FT). She stole the ball from Minnesota’s Johnson, too, allowing Azurá Stevens to splash a corner three on the break to shrink the deficit to 74–79. Diamond DeShields stripped Johnson for an easy layup to cut the Minnesota lead to 3 with 54 seconds left in the game. Collier converted two shots at the charity stripe to get the lead back up to 5, but Allie Quigley, who’s not been able to get into her groove from long range yet (last season: 44.2%), came up clutch and hit her sole three of the night (1/8 3pt) to make it a one possession game at 81–83 with 37.4 on the clock. The Lynx were unable to score on the offensive end, giving Chicago a chance to tie or win the game on the final possession of the game. But Vandersloot missed two layups, Gabby Williams was unable to convert an alley-oop inbounds pass as well. A dramatic finish to an exciting game, with the Lynx emerging as the lucky, yet deserved winner.

Lynx kommen nach Sky-Comeback mit blauem Auge davon

… Spielbericht folgt in Kürze …

Boxscore: https://www.wnba.com/game/20200730/CHIMIN/

Sparks take down Sun despite Bonner’s big night

After Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, the Sun are 0–3 to start the #Wubble. Despite DeWanna Bonner’s MVP caliber performances so far, her team has been unable to edge out a win so far. The Sparks improve to 2–1 though, making up for their loss to the Chicago Sky on Tuesday.

The Sun lead through the entire first quarter after a quick 6–0 start, sparked by the aforementioned Bonner. Chelsea Gray was outstanding for the Sparks, dishing out assists and involving her team mates: She hit the rolling Nneka Ogwumike with a sweet no-look assist and set up Candace Parker on the break with a shovel pass. Seimone Augustus tied the game at 16 apiece with a hook shot in the post. Both teams were trading buckets throughout the first half, neither the Sparks nor the Sun were able to pull ahead. Alyssa Thomas looked a bit flat after playing 38 minutes in Connecticut’s last game, starting 0/7 from the field. She finished the game with 10 points on 2/12 shooting (6/12 FT), but she also grabbed 18 rebounds and assisted on 8 buckets. Riquna Williams knocked down 3 first half three-pointers for the Sparks, putting them up 41–36 at the break.

The Sun were able to retake the lead after another 6–0 start, when Bonner and Gray started putting on a show and trading buckets. The former buried a three to put Connecticut up 51–46, the latter set up an Augustus jumpshot with a neat behind the back bounce pass. “Money Mone” had a great game off the bench for LA, scoring 13 points on 6/12 shooting. The Sparks finished the third quarter with a 13–3 run that carried over to the final period, eventually leading to a 12-point lead at 71–59. Jasmine Thomas hit a tough fallaway jumper off the glass to cut the lead to 10. Her offensive performance (3/12 FG) was symptomatic for the Sun, though, who shot the ball poorly all game long (35.6%). Their offensive rebounding prowess kept them in striking distance, though, as Bonner put back an Alyssa Thomas miss to cut the deficit to 8 with 5:20 left in the game. The Sun missed too many free throws and wide open looks, though, to come back into the game. They were lacking fire power apart from Bonner, whom the Sparks defense couldn’t contain at all. She finished the game with 34 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists. But it wasn’t enough to get the win, because Nneka Ogwumike, who had been quiet for most of the second half, scored a couple of big late game buckets to put the game out of reach. She was efficient once again, scoring 14 points while shooting 60% from the floor.

The Sun’s worrisome start to the season continues, while DeWanna Bonner seems to relish the opportunity to be the first option on a team after being part of Phoenix’ big three the past seasons. Connecticut has to find a way to be successful as a team to turn their season around, the 22-game schedule doesn’t allow too many hiccups. The Sparks gladly picked up their second win of the season, now setting their sights on their matchup with their fellow championship favorites, the Seattle Storm.

Düstere Aussichten für die Sun nach Niederlage gegen LA

… Spielbericht folgt in Kürze …

Boxscore: https://www.wnba.com/game/20200730/CONLAS/

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