0 of 12
Washington Mystics ahead Elena Delle Donne appears to be like to shoot the ball in opposition to two Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm through the third quarter of a WNBA basketball sport. Picture by: Terrance Williams for The Washington Put up through Getty Photographs.
Following the Commissioner’s Cup championship sport, through which the Las Vegas Aces gained the title and the prize cash in Chicago, we’re again to the ultimate video games of the WNBA common season. There are two weeks left, and 5 of the eight playoff spots have been secured.
It was extremely troublesome to rank the 5 groups within the prime tier, which incorporates the Aces, Chicago Sky, Washington Mystics, Seattle Storm and Connecticut Solar. The Aces performed the Indiana Fever, which saved their power of schedule down for the week.
The Storm and Mystics performed an uber-competitive back-to-back Saturday and Sunday that included video games determined by one or two possessions. It felt like a playoff collection.
The Sky and Solar went to time beyond regulation, with the defending champions getting the final chuckle. Additionally, how did the Storm fall to the Solar after which beat the Mystics two days later? Living proof: The highest tier is tremendous aggressive.
So is the center tier. Six groups continued to compete for these ultimate three playoff spots. The Minnesota Lynx and New York Liberty regarded targeted this week, whereas the Phoenix Mercury, Los Angeles Sparks and Atlanta Dream fell aside. After which there are the Dallas Wings, who’ve been constantly inconsistent.
1 of 12
Kelsey Mitchell #0 of the Indiana Fever handles the ball through the sport through the sport in opposition to the Las Vegas Aces on July 29, 2022 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Picture by: Pepper Robinson/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 0-2
Well being Outlook: The Fever’s season took a flip for the more serious when the group introduced on Saturday that prime scorer Kelsey Mitchell could be out for the remainder of the 12 months with a partial plantar fascia tear in her left foot.
Mitchell had been having a profession season, placing up 18.4 factors and 4.2 assists per sport whereas taking pictures 40.9 p.c from three, all of which are private bests. Sunday’s sport was the first pro game she’s missed in her WNBA profession.
Stat of the Week: 2022 No. 2 total choose NaLyssa Smith racked up her eighth double-double of the season within the Fever’s 94-69 loss on Sunday to the Aces. She scored 14 of the Fever’s ultimate 21 factors.
Is There a Brilliant Facet to Mitchell’s Season-Ending Harm? With 4 video games remaining, Indiana has the chance to see who they’ve earlier than fascinated by their pictures on the Aliyah Boston sweepstakes. Who on this present roster out of the seven rookies do the Fever imagine can develop and develop?
With out Kelsey Mitchell having the ball in her fingers, who will show they’ll rating and play make on this league? Anticipate rookies Destanni Henderson, Lexie Hull and Khayla Pointer to get extra run on this ultimate stretch.
2 of 12
Brittney Sykes #15 of the Los Angeles Sparks passes the ball in opposition to the Minnesota Lynx within the first quarter at Crypto.com Area on July 31, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Picture by Ronald Martinez/Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 0-2
Well being Outlook: Sharpshooting guard Lexie Brown has performed simply two minutes since injuring her ankle in opposition to the Dream on July 21. In the meantime, rookie Rae Burrell continues to be recovering from knee surgical procedure. I doubt Burrell performs earlier than the top of the common season.
Additionally, Kristi Toliver returned to the rotation, solely to be pulled out of Sunday’s 84-77 loss to Minnesota after re-injuring her calf within the second quarter.
Stat of the Week: An commentary I had of the Sparks this week was how their help proportion modified post-Liz Cambage. Whereas Cambage was on the roster, the Sparks maintained the league’s third-worst help proportion (63.8).
Within the two video games with out her, the group’s help proportion has elevated to 66.7, tied for fifth within the league this week. Is that sufficient of a pattern measurement? I am undecided, however the change certain is noticeable.
Life With out Liz: Whereas on paper Liz Cambage leaving the Sparks’ frontcourt might be for the best, the group has regarded dysfunctional on either side of the ball following her exit.
Within the week with out Cambage, the Sparks have had the third-worst offensive (93.5) and defensive scores (103.6) within the league. On offense, Cambage’s presence would draw the protection, and it allowed LA to get a extra open look from the perimeter or on the excessive publish for Nneka Ogwumike.
It is a tall process for the Sparks to change their offensive id with out ample apply.
3 of 12
Head Coach Tanisha Wright of the Atlanta Dream leads huddle through the sport in opposition to the Dallas Wings on July 30, 2022 at Gateway Heart Area in Faculty Park, Georgia. Picture by: Adam Hagy/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 0-2
Well being Outlook: The Dream’s rotation continues to shorten as a consequence of accidents. This week the group introduced that mid-season acquisition AD could be out for the remainder of the season “in preparation” for surgical procedure they are going to get on their proper hip.
Forwards Nia Coffey (proper knee) and Monique Billings (proper ankle) had been additionally out this week for Atlanta. On Saturday in opposition to the Wings, guard Tiffany Hayes landed awkwardly on her proper ankle towards the start of the second quarter. She did not return to the sport however returned to the bench on crutches and a big bag of ice on that ankle.
Head coach Tanisha Wright famous pregame on Saturday that each one season lengthy that the Dream have been a “we, we, we over me” kind of group, however with doubtlessly 4 gamers on the damage report this coming week, there aren’t many extra gamers who may be known as on. Shifting ahead, the Dream might want to perform with solely eight obtainable gamers.
Stat of the Week: 2022 No. 1 total choose Rhyne Howard has continued to show her scoring prowess, dropping 22 factors within the loss to the Wings. Whereas her effectivity (36.4 p.c taking pictures from the sector) leaves one thing to be desired, her 15.6 factors per sport are good for twelfth within the league.
ESPN Stats & Information @ESPNStatsInfo
Regardless of the loss, Rhyne Howard notched her eighth sport with at the least 20 factors this season.
All different rookies have mixed for simply 6 such video games in 2022. pic.twitter.com/GdgxrHeADW
Can the Dream Make the Playoffs? The Dream did not compete of their 92-85 loss to the Lynx on Thursday. Two days later, in opposition to the Wings, Wright sensed a bit extra of a combat in her group, nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient. Atlanta turned the ball over 19 instances, resulting in 29 Dallas factors.
With so few our bodies obtainable, Wright needed to start Saturday’s sport in opposition to the Wings in a zone protection, one thing she doesn’t prefer to do. The Dream have all the time had the buy-in this season, however I am not sure if they’ve the well being to make it into the postseason for the primary time since 2018.
4 of 12
Sylvia Fowles #34 of the Minnesota Lynx shoots the ball over Cheyenne Parker #32 and Naz Hillmon #00 through the sport in opposition to the Atlanta Dream on July 28, 2022 at Gateway Heart Area in Faculty Park, Georgia. Picture by: Chamberlain Smith/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 2-0
Well being Outlook: Sylvia Fowles returned to the fold this week and supplied the Lynx an enormous raise, placing up a mixed 28 factors and 23 rebounds in Minnesota’s two wins this week.
Jessica Shepard was additionally listed on the damage report this week with a roughed-up nostril, however she performed in each video games with a protecting masks. Additionally, the Lynx signed level guard Lindsay Allen to her second seven-day contract this week whereas Damiris Dantas stays on depart for private causes and Napheesa Collier is on maternity depart.
Stat of the Week: In Sunday’s win over the Sparks, Fowles grew to become simply the fifth participant ever within the W to report 2,500 made discipline targets.
Lynx PR @Lynx_PR
Fowles joins an elite record of shooters which have surpassed 2500 discipline targets made throughout their profession:
1. Diana Taurasi 3041
2. Candice Dupree 2842
3. Tina Charles 2835
4. Tina Thompson 2630
5. Sylvia Fowles 2500 https://t.co/t3PA7lCHob
The Lynx’s Underrated Bench: Whenever you consider the Lynx, you do not take into consideration their bench unit. They rating essentially the most factors per sport within the league (26.0), and so they have the second-best internet ranking (1.7).
Whereas the Lynx had been outscored by the Spark’s bench unit on Sunday, their manufacturing has been important to how the Lynx have achieved success this season as they proceed to claw again into the playoff hunt.
“To know that we bought women that may really go on the market and outplay the beginning 5 some nights, it’s extremely comforting,” Fowles said.
5 of 12
Skylar Diggins-Smith #4 of the Phoenix Mercury dribbles the ball through the sport in opposition to the New York Liberty on July 31, 2022 on the Barclays Heart in Brooklyn, New York Picture by: Steven Freeman/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 1-1
Well being Outlook: The Mercury performed each video games this week with out Diamond DeShields (hip), who hasn’t performed since July 14 when she fell down awkwardly after taking contact on a drive by Elizabeth Williams in opposition to the Mystics. In the meantime, Kia Nurse continues to be recovering from a torn ACL following the playoffs final fall. Head coach Vanessa Nygaard famous pregame on Sunday that it is a “day-to-day” course of for each gamers.
Stat of the Week: There is a price to enjoying small, and for the Mercury, it is an incapacity to get on the glass when pictures do not fall. That problem to rebound, particularly with out Brittney Griner within the paint, has haunted all of them season however particularly this week.
The Mercury allowed a median of 36.5 rebounds to their opponents this week, second worst within the W to Indiana.
‘Please Take Me Out!’ There’s extra drama in Phoenix Mercury land! With a minute-plus left within the loss to Liberty, Skylar Diggins-Smith, who scored 13 factors on 18 pictures, shouted, “Please take me out!” following a missed three-point shot on the prime of the important thing.
That wasn’t all that occurred Sunday. A fan who was sitting near the Mercury bench noticed that Diggins-Smith was aggravated when she was substituted all through the sport.
“There gave the impression to be little rhyme or cause for a number of the subs,” the fan tweeted. “Appeared like what DT [Diana Taurasi] needed was dictating a few of it.”
6 of 12
Crystal Dangerfield #3 of the New York Liberty talks to the sideline reporter Jess Sims after the sport in opposition to the Phoenix Mercury on July 31, 2022 on the Barclays Heart in Brooklyn, New York. Steven Freeman/NBAE through Getty Photographs
Report this Week: 1-1
Well being Outlook: The Liberty’s damage report consists of 1: 2021 All-Star Betnijah Laney. In apply, Laney has been finishing particular person exercises and competing in one-on-one, two-on-two and three-on-three apply simulations with New York’s teaching and basketball operations employees.
Head coach Sandy Brondello advised B/R that she expects Laney to start training “five-on-five” this week because the group figures out how they’ll greatest use one in every of their greatest gamers, who’s coming off an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy on her proper knee.
Stat of the Week: Sabrina Ionescu set one more New York Liberty report, as her 16 assists on Sunday afternoon broke a report initially held by franchise legend Teresa Weatherspoon. Ionescu is tied with present Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot and the now retired Ticha Penicheiro for second-most single-game assists in league historical past.
Backcourt Protection Stands Out: The Liberty shut down Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi of their win on Sunday at house over the Mercury. Rebecca Allen bothered Taurasi along with her 6’5″ wingspan all afternoon, and the 5’5″ Crystal Dangerfield moved by means of screens so shortly that Diggins-Smith had barely sufficient house to go downhill or hearth off her deadly rainbow threes.
Whereas New York fell to Chicago 89-81 two days earlier, it was additionally Allen who was primarily answerable for holding Sky sharpshooter Allie Quigley to 4-of-12 taking pictures.
7 of 12
Teaira McCowan #7 of the Dallas Wings appears to be like to cross the ball through the sport in opposition to the Atlanta Dream on July 30, 2022 at Gateway Heart Area in Faculty Park, Georgia. Picture by Adam Hagy/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 1-1
Well being Outlook: Ahead Satou Sabally missed her sixth straight sport after injuring her ankle July 12 in opposition to the Storm. It continues to baffle me that Vickie Johnson put her again into that sport. However on the brilliant aspect for Dallas, second-year participant Awak Kuier returned to the rotation after lacking two video games with an ankle damage. She played 14 minutes, scored 5 factors on 2-of-2 taking pictures and registered two rebounds and three steals within the Wings’ 81-68 win over the Dream.
Stat of the Week: In opposition to the Mystics on Thursday, Teaira McCowan posted a profession excessive of 27 factors on 11 pictures in an 87-77 loss. McCowan is taking pictures 62.9 p.c, second within the league to solely Sylvia Fowles’ 63.6.
Can the Wings Take Benefit of a Extra Balanced Offense?
Dallas must benefit from its extra balanced inside-outside offense. Because it has established McCowan inside, groups have adjusted and double- and typically triple-teamed the 6’7″ middle. Dynamic guard Arike Ogunbowale might want to purchase in to the truth that getting McCowan a paint contact earlier than she takes a shot could possibly be an important technique for the Wings to retain their playoff positioning. Dallas holds the No. 6 seed with only one.5 video games separating it from the primary group out of the playoff race, Atlanta, which holds the ninth spot within the standings.
8 of 12
Breanna Stewart #30, Ezi Magbegor #13, Tina Charles #31, Sue Fowl #10 and Gabby Williams #5 look on after the sport in opposition to the Connecticut Solar on July 28, 2022 at Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, Connecticut. Picture by Brian Babineau/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 1-2
Well being Outlook: The Storm had been solely with out Mercedes Russell this week. The group had announced the week prior that she underwent surgical procedure to deal with low-pressure complications which have impacted her all season. In opposition to the Mystics on Saturday and Sunday, head coach Noelle Quinn shortened her rotation, and ahead Jantel Lavender picked up her second straight DNP.
Stat of the Week: Tina Charles now ranks twelfth in league historical past with 386 blocks.
Seattle Storm PR @SeattleStormPR
Tina Charles with the large block on the 6:29 mark of the second quarter. It was the 386th of her profession, shifting her previous Tamika Catchings into twelfth place on the WNBA’s all-time block record.#TakeCover
Can the Storm Keep away from the Mystics within the First Spherical? The Storm and Mystics cut up a weekend back-to-back in Washington, D.C. Seattle gained the primary sport 82-77, and the Mystics grabbed the second 78-75. The groups are so evenly matched: Washington has the No. 1 defense with Seattle at No. 2; the Storm have the No. 7 offense, and the Mystics are No. 8; their internet scores are separated by an excellent slimmer margin with No. 4 Washington (5.0) edging No. 5 Seattle (4.8).
To keep away from taking up the Mystics within the first spherical of the postseason, the Storm will want some massive wins. This week, they are going to play at house in opposition to the rising Lynx adopted by the offensive juggernaut that’s the Aces. These video games will probably be important earlier than Seattle finishes the season with three highway contests.
9 of 12
Head Coach Curt Miller of the Connecticut Solar appears to be like on through the sport in opposition to the Chicago Sky on July 31, 2022 at Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, Connecticut. Picture by: Chris Marion/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 1-1
Well being Outlook: The Solar announced Wednesday that Bria Hartley had torn her left ACL in final Sunday’s win in opposition to the Lynx. The combo guard had simply discovered her footing after tearing her different ACL in 2020. Hartley’s absence pressured common supervisor and head coach Curt Miller to play guard Nia Clouden for a number of the longest stretches she’s had throughout her rookie season. In two video games, Clouden recorded 28 minutes, scored six factors on two threes and registered two assists, an offensive rebound and a steal.
Stat of the Week: Jonquel Jones grew to become the seventh-fastest participant to report 500 offensive rebounds.
Throughout the Timeline @WBBTimeline
Her 1st OREB right this moment is Jonquel Jones’ five hundredth within the WNBA. She is the Seventh-fastest participant to get to 500:
1. Yolanda Griffith: 106 video games
2. Natalie Williams: 132
3. Tina Charles: 139
4. Cheryl Ford: 145
5. Sylvia Fowles: 181
6. Taj McWilliams-Franklin: 189
7. Jonquel Jones: 190
Questions About Curt Miller’s Choices: The Solar have had hassle defeating the defending champion Sky. The 2 groups met once more Sunday for what was a battle within the paint that Chicago gained 95-92 in time beyond regulation for its third victory in three video games this season. Sixth Participant of the Yr front-runner Brionna Jones scored 13 factors on 11 pictures however was on the bench in time beyond regulation till 28 seconds remained. Miller went together with his MVP, Jonquel Jones, who is not but again to herself conditioning-wise following her time within the well being and security protocols. Down one, Connecticut didn’t foul and allowed Courtney Vandersloot to seek out Allie Quigley on a backdoor lower with eight seconds to play.
10 of 12
Myisha Hines-Allen #2 of the Washington Mystics excessive fives Ariel Atkins #7 of the Washington Mystics through the sport in opposition to the Dallas Wings on July 28, 2022 on the Faculty Park Heart in Arlington, Texas. Picture by Cooper Neill/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 2-1
Well being Outlook: Elena Delle Donne did not play within the Mystics’ sport on the Wings on Thursday as head coach and GM Mike Thibault as soon as once more designated the two-time MVP for scheduled relaxation. Delle Donne performed within the back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday in opposition to the Storm, and Thibault said he expects her to play at house in opposition to the Aces on Tuesday.
Stat of the Week: Natasha Cloud recorded her 1,000th help on Sunday. It was her sixth sport this season with 10-plus dimes.
Jenn Hatfield (she/her) @jennhatfield1
(1/2) Per @WashMystics PR, @T_Cloud4 made historical past right this moment w/ her 1,000th profession help: She’s the thirty second #WNBA participant all-time to do it, & she bought there w/ back-to-back double-doubles. No Mystic had had b2b double-doubles on factors/assists since Temeka Johnson in 2005. @TheNextHoops
Mystics Determine Out Easy methods to Win With out Delle Donne: Washington was spectacular in its defeat of the Wings on Thursday. Whereas Dallas went on an 8-1 run early within the fourth quarter, the Mystics held on. With out Delle Donne, they put collectively one in every of their most balanced performances of the season. The beginning 5 scored in double digits with Cloud, Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen netting 14 apiece, Alysha Clark placing up 13 and Shakira Austin scoring 12. The bench outscored the Dallas bench 20-5 within the 87-77 victory.
11 of 12
Kelsey Plum #10 of the Las Vegas Aces drives to the basket through the sport in opposition to Lexie Hull #10 of the Indiana Fever on June 17, 2022 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Picture by: Ron Hoskins/NBAE through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 3-0
Well being Outlook: The Aces’ damage report regarded clear this week, and their field scores did not function as many DNPs as they often do. Head Coach Becky Hammon used her bench rather more than regular as soon as Las Vegas bought out to comfy leads in its two video games in opposition to Indiana.
Stat of the Week: Kelsey Plum scored a franchise-record 19 factors in 1 / 4 Sunday. She has additionally hit 94 threes this season, which ranks fifth in league historical past. The one participant who has made extra threes in a season is Diana Taurasi.
The Bench Acquired Some Run: After profitable the Commissioner’s Cup final Tuesday, the Aces’ bench gamers bought high quality minutes in opposition to a group that rosters seven rookies. How did they do? Within the first sport, Riquna Williams led the bench with 9 factors, and Kiah Stokes had six rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Two days later, Theresa Plaisance broke out with 13 factors on 6-of-10 taking pictures. Kierstan Bell additionally had two assists in six minutes. It is a begin.
12 of 12
Chicago Sky guard Kahleah Copper (2) drives previous Connecticut Solar guard DiJonai Carrington (21) throughout a WNBA sport between Chicago Sky and Connecticut Solar on July 31, 2022, at Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, CT. Picture by: M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photographs.
Report This Week: 2-1
Well being Outlook: The Sky bought again level guard Courtney Vandersloot for the Commissioner’s Cup finale final Tuesday, however Candace Parker missed the games in opposition to the Liberty and Solar with a non-COVID-19 sickness.
A Technical Despatched the Sky to Additional time: Along with her group up 82-81 in opposition to the Solar and 28 seconds remaining, Rebekah Gardner bought fouled beneath the basket. Sky coach James Wade tried to name a timeout earlier than Gardner’s free throws, however the officers apparently could not hear him. As a substitute, they noticed him outdoors the teaching field and gave him a technical foul.
After DeWanna Bonner made a free throw and Gardner made two, Connecticut was down solely two. Courtney Williams hit a game-tying jumper after Bonner missed a possible go-ahead three, but when the technical hadn’t been known as, Chicago might have gained the sport in regulation.
Chicago wanted time beyond regulation to beat Connecticut, largely as a result of head coach James Wade was known as for a game-tying tech with 30 seconds left within the 4th– for stepping midway out the coach’s field making an attempt to name a timeout.
I’ve by no means seen a tech given for one thing so regular. pic.twitter.com/KvzZHzuD6u