WNBA Game Day #7 / Saturday, August 1

Lynx prey on Sun again

The Sun’s woeful start to the season continues, their second loss to the Lynx gives them an 0–4 record in the #Wubble. Minnesota remains the best offensive rebounding team in the league, corralling in 12 (!) offensive boards. Compared to Connecticut’s 19 defensive rebounds, this stat’s even more impressive. Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles combined for 11 of these rebounds, killing the Sun’s defense with second or even third chance points and sparking their team’s momentum. The Lynx‘ third ranked defense shut down Connecticut’s offense completely in the second half, so Minnesota improved to 3–1 on the season.

Connecticut benefittedfrom early foul trouble of the Minnesota bigs, Fowles and Damiris Dantas both picked up 2 personal fouls in the first quarter. Bridget Carleton, who’d been drafted by the Sun 21st overall last season, played a career-high 23 minutes coming off the Lynx‘ bench. She was a perfect 3/3 from the field, scoring 8 points, also a career-high. For the Sun, Alyssa Thomas had a very quiet game, only attempting five shots all game, making good of none of them. She collected 7 rebounds over the course of the game, though, and stole the ball 5 times. The Sun’s superstar and MVP candidate DeWanna Bonner had only attempted and missed only two shots in the first quarter as well. It was Brionna Jones, who stepped up for Connecticut. She finished the game with season-high 15 points (5/7 FG) and 7 rebounds and was elementary in building Connecticut’s early advantage. The Lynx crept closer by the minute, Collier finally tied the game with a putback and put her team ahead with a free throw at the end of the period.

Their mini-run carried over to the second period, as they extended their lead to 5. Bonner decided it was time for her to take over and she did so by knocking down 4 three-pointers to spark a 22–7 run to retake the lead and extend it to 10. The Sun outscored the Lynx 25–17 in the second quarter, heading into halftime up 42–35. Bonner lead all scorers with 18 points, Collier had a team-high 13 for Minnesota.

Fowles was playing with 4 fouls, but she stayed aggressive on the offensive end, dominating in the paint. Her and Carleton brought their team back almost by themselves, combining for 10 points in 4 minutes. Crystal Dangerfield knocked down Minnesota’s first shot from the perimeter to cut the Sun’s lead to 1. The rookie point guard then hit another one to tie the game at 51 apiece. The 16th overall pick had her best game thus far, scoring 17 points on 5/14 shooting (3/8 3pt), dished out 3 assists and got 3 steals. Dantas was the only other Lynx player to convert a long range shot, Minnesota went just 4/19 from downtown. The lowest-scoring offense in the WNBA has not found its rhythm yet, but as long as their defense wins them games, coach Cheryl Reeve has time to find out which tweaks have to be made. Bonner was able to keep the Sun in the game until the end of the third. She had 25 points after 30 minutes, but would only score 3 more in the final period. Crystal Dangerfield put Minnesota in the lead 61–60, when she splashed her third triple of the quarter with 5.7 seconds left on the clock.

Theresa Plaisance made her season debut in the fourth quarter, knocking down a fallaway jumpshot on her first possession. Both teams went scoreless for 2:30 minutes after that basket, until Fowles upped her tally to 17 points on another second chance opportunity for Minnesota after a Dangerfield airball. Jasmine Thomas tied the game at 65 with 6:50 minutes left to play. The Lynx went on a 11–0 run, allowing no points for more than 5 minutes. On the back of their excellent defense, Minnesota was able to come away with another late comeback win against the Sun.

Sun werden erneut zur Beute für die Lynx

… Spielbericht folgt in Kürze …

Boxscore: https://www.wnba.com/game/20200801/MINCON/

Sky demystify Washington

The undefeated reigning champions have fallen; the Chicago Sky took down the Washington Mystics in a nailbiter between two contenders for a Finals appearance this season. Chicago still only had 8 players available, Cheyenne Parker got the start for the injured Stefanie Dolson again, coming up huge in the closing seconds with her gamewinning shot. For the Mystics, Ariel Atkins was red hot from downtown once more, knocking down 4 of her 6 attempts.

Allie Quigley is slowly finding her rhythm in the #Wubble, opening the game with a three for Chicago. She went 3/6 from behind the arc over the course of the game, scoring a season-high 15 points. The teams traded buckets throughout the first quarter. Aerial Powers, who’s looking to build on her good performances thus far, hit two free-throws to put Washington up 15–12 with around 4 minutes to go in the first. Chicago went on an 8–0 run to end the quarter. They held Washington’s high-octane offense scoreless by applying constant pressure on the ball. On the other hand, the weren’t able to get a lot of shots to fall in the closing minutes either, going scoreless as well after Parker’s layup with 1:43 left on the clock, perfectly set up by Diamond DeShields.

Myisha Hines-Allen converted her sole three-point attempt on the first possession of the second period, before Essence Carson tied the game at 20 with a step-back jumpshot from midrange. Both didn’t shoot the ball too well, though. Hines-Allen connected on 4 of her 12 shot attempts, but still was invaluable for her team, scoring 13 points, grabbing 12 boards, dishing out 3 assists and getting 3 steals as well. Carson went 2/9 for 4 points and was part of a disappointing showing of the Mystics‘ bench. The four of them only chimed in with 8 points altogether, getting outscored by Chicago’s substitutes by 20 points. Washington’s reserves shot were 4/15, while Gabby Williams, Ruthy Hebard and Diamond DeShields shot 11/17 from the floor. The Sky’s roster may be depleted at the moment, but the players they had available are extremely talented. The Sky were absolutely on fire from long range midway through the second quarter: Kahleah Copper knocked down two threes and set up Williams for another one. Both teams were cooling off, though, with halftime approaching. Washington was able to slow down Chicago’s offense effectively, while scoring the last 5 points of the first half themselves. They went into the break up 37–35 in what seemed to be a low-scoring affair, especially considering the firepower these two are sporting.

Leilani Mitchell opened a second half shoot-out with a wide open three after an Emma Meesseman rebound and assist, before Powers, Mitchell again and finally Atkins splashed 3 more to give Washington a 49–40 lead. Vandersloot made two three-pointers as well to cut the deficit, but Atkins came right back with another one. DeShields, who is fortunately starting to look like herself again, made 2long two-pointers to cut the deficit to 4; Allie Quigley curled around a screen and hit a game-tying three with 20.4 seconds left in the third, set up by Courtney Vandersloot. The Chicago point guard would finish the game with 8 assists and 8 points, playing deliberately, not forcing anything, and turning the ball over just once.

The Sky turned the game around completely, going on a 9–0 run to start the final 10 minutes. Halfway through the fourth, Chicago was up 77–68, when Vandersloot tracked down a loose ball and fed the running Copper for an easy layup on the break. Now Washington went on a run, coutscoring the Sky 15–5 to put themselves in the driver seat. With about a minute to go, Quigley had the mismatch she’d wanted, blew by Meesseman, who couldn’t recover in time to stop the sharpshooter’s layup that put Chicago up by 1. With the gamed tied at 84, Parker left Hines-Allen in the dust and finished at the rim to give her team a 2-point lead with 22.1 seconds left. On the other end, Atkins made both of her foul shots: 86–86. It was Parker again, who scored for the Sky. After receiving the ball from Vandersloot, she drove to the basket, but kicked the ball out to DeShields, who might have stepped out of bounds while catching the pass. She penetrated to the hoop, but gave the ball back to Parker, who flicked it up and in with her left hand, and even got fouled by Atkins on the play. Washington had 5.9 seconds to tie the game, yet they could not get up a shot, as Meesseman tried to pass it baseline from the post, resulting in a turnover.

The Mystics were unable to keep up the offensive prowess they had shown in the previous three games. They also allowed too many open shots: The Sky shot 51.4% from the field and 48% from downtown and improved to 3–1 on the season, catching up with the Mystics at the top of the league table. Gabby Williams had an incredibly efficient game off the bench as well as DeShields. Ariel Atkins led all scorers with 24 points, Aerial Powers had 20 for Washington. The Mystics only had themselves to blame following the loss and will look to bounce back against the Aces on Wednesday, whereas the Sky will take on the young and fresh Dallas Wings on Tuesday.

Chicago Sky entzaubern die Washington Mystics

… Spielbericht folgt in Kürze …

Boxscore: https://www.wnba.com/game/20200801/WASCHI/

Storm return to winning ways against Sparks

The Storm were without their starting point guard Sue Bird (rest) after their loss to the Mystics, while the Sparks (still) had to do without Marie Gülich and Kristine Anigwe. Both teams were 2–1 and looking for that sweet third win of the #Wubble season. In the end, a great first half by Seattle was enough to overcome LA’s comeback efforts in the second. Breanna Stewart was excellent once more, filling the statsheet in the absence of her congenial partner. Head coach Gary Kloppenburg relied heavily on his starters (four played 32 minutes or more), apart from Natasha Howard.

Los Angeles had a very rough start to the game. They had to wait 4 minutes for their first field goal of the game, when Candace Parker knocked down a three-pointer to cut Seattle’s early lead to 14–4. Stewart would answer with a three-pointer of her own, though. The Storm held on to their 11-point advantage until the end of the quarter. Jordin Canada took over the starting job for Bird, as she had done last year, and was very efficient, putting pressure on the Sparks‘ defense with her relentless drives. She finished the game 6/9 from the field for 16 points, dished out 4 assists, but committed 6 turnovers as well. Jewell Loyd hit 3 shots from behind the arc in the first 3:30 minutes of the game, cooling down a bit over the course of the game. She still put up 17 points (6/13 FG, 4/9 3pt). The Seattle defense held the Sparks to just 16 points in the first quarter – and even less in the second. They outscored Los Angeles 18–13, building a 45–29 halftime advantage. Rookie Ezi Magbegor was outstanding again; the Australian went 5/8 from the floor and grabbed 5 rebounds, doing a good job on defense as well.

Candace Parker came out of the locker room on fire, trying to bring her team back, and started attacking the basket more. Seattle didn’t give in at all, though. With 2:27 minutes left in the third, Alysha Clark sank a left-handed hook shot for their largest lead of the game (62–47). Riquna Williams continued her hot shooting, splashing jumpshot after jumpshot from long range (4/7 3pt) for a season-high 16 points. Parker posted her first double-double of the season (19 points, 12 rebounds), fueling a 10–1 run by LA to cut the deficit to 10 before the final period. Semone Augustus turned into „Money Mone“, scoring 8 consecutive points to pull the Sparks back to within 3, they closest margin since Loyd’s opening quarter three. And it was the Storm shooting guard, who would eventually put the game out of reach, making a three with 4:19 minutes left (73–65). Los Angeles just couldn’t string the stops and makes together that would have been needed to beat Seattle that night. The Storm will look to build on that win, whereas the Sparks will want to climb back to over .500 against the Fever.

Storm finden gegen Sparks zurück auf die Siegerstraße

… Spielbericht folgt in Kürze …

Boxscore: https://www.wnba.com/game/20200801/LASSEA/

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