The WNBA Rewind: Week ending August 5

A recap of select WNBA games and news for the week ending August 5, 2018.

Curious about the captions? Check out the WNBA Rewind playlist on Spotify.

Disclaimer: All stats and team rankings are courtesy of the official WNBA website. Opinions and league award rankings are solely those of this author. Don’t @ me.

Some teams came back from the All-Star Break refreshed and ready for a final playoff push...and some teams just came back. Let's discuss.

The Bounce

To paraphrase RuPaul, “The category was TRAVEL” this week. For the first time in WNBA league history, a game was canceled at the request of one of the competing teams. The Las Vegas Aces endured over 25 hours of flight hell to try and make a game with the Washington Mystics, a game which had significant playoff implications for both teams (the Aces began the week ranked ninth; the Mystics were seventh, though they’re currently fifth). The top eight overall teams, regardless of conference, make the playoffs).

After arriving a few hours before tipoff (which the league laughingly pushed back one hour in a halfhearted attempt to accommodate the travel-weary Las Vegas team), the Aces opted not to play (with the discussion with and support of the players’ union) and the game was canceled. Reactions were mixed; some players and fans were supportive, others were of the “suck it up and deal” school of thought, including Mystics head coach Mike Thibault and Mystics players Kristi Toliver and Monique Currie. (Hey, I get it: if I thought I was cheated out of an easy win at the expense of a younger and exhausted road team and could move up in the standings, I’d be pissed too.) Most were awaiting the league’s decision by WNBA president Lisa Borders on whether or not to call the game a forfeit (which would give Washington the win) or to reschedule the game (difficult, given the already compressed schedule in which the regular season ends August 19).  As of the end of the day on August 5, a decision had not yet been made by Borders. Las Vegas was fully aware of the potential consequences of their decision.

This drama could not come at a worse time for the league, as notification of the decision to opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is due October 31 of this year. Travel and player health is sure to join an increased revenue share (currently estimated at around 2opt2%) as negotiation priorities. The players’ union has a new Director of Operations in Terri Carmichael Jackson (a fellow Hoya alumna) and Borders was not league president at the signing of the last CBA in 2014; players also had a chance to have significant discussions regarding the upcoming CBA during the 2018 All-Star Break, so there will be fresh viewpoints and approaches all around. Things are going to get very interesting in the offseason, so stay tuned.

In Other News

  • More “Lizstory” as Liz Cambage (Dallas Wings) has scored 206 points over the last 6 games, the most in WNBA history.
  • Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) became the 20th WNBA player to reach the 5,000 career points milestone with a free throw against the Phoenix Mercury on August 5.
  • The Seattle Storm clinched the league's first playoff berth (at #1, no less) in their August 5 win over the Minnesota Lynx.

Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered

The red-hot Atlanta Dream hosted the Washington Mystics in an attempt to win their ninth straight game. The Mystics started slow and missed shots, but free throws kept them in game. Atlanta came out with strong defense. Washington's Ariel Atkins (7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) picked up her 2nd foul at  6:06 in the 1st quarter. New Mystics addition Aerial Powers (10 points, 6 rebounds, two 3-pointers) substituted in for Atkins. Atlanta's Jessica Breland (2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks) picked up her 2nd foul halfway through the 1st. Atlanta was up 30-17 at the end of the 1st quarter. Washington shot 29% from field-goal range in the 2nd quarter but managed to take a 30-29 lead behind an 11-3 run at 6:09 in the 2nd quarter. Atkins received her 3rd foul late in the 2nd. Washington’s LaToya Sanders (13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block) received her 3rd foul late in the 2nd. The Mystics were up 50-43 at halftime. Atlanta’s poor defense and ill-chosen shots hurt them early in the 3rd quarter. Sanders picked up her 4th foul halfway through the 3rd quarter. The Dream’s Elizabeth Williams (13 points, 9 rebounds) came alive briefly late in the 3rd with 6 offensive rebounds. Atlanta went on an 8-0 run to close the gap to 3 points, but the Mystics led 70-63 headed into the 4th quarter. Natasha Cloud (11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, three 3-pointers) fouled out with 3:17 left in the game after back-to-back fouls within 10 seconds of each other. The Dream’s Alex Bentley, who was acquired in a trade with the Connecticutecticut Sun a month ago, is starting to find her place within the Atlanta rotation; Powers, also acquired via trade, seems to be thriving in her new Washington home. The Dream shot themselves in the foot with poor shot selection, missed shots, and porous defense, which allowed the Mystics to get to the 3-point line. The Dream's franchise record 8-win streak was over as Washington won 86-71. Elena Delle Donne (28 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, one 3-pointer) was also in double digits for Washington. Tiffany Hayes (18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, one 3-pointer) and Angel McCoughtry (12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block) were also in double digits for Atlanta.

Sunny Skies

The Dallas Wings hosted the Chicago Sky in their final meeting of the season. Dallas’s Liz Cambage (33 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks) was gifted with a custom Wings jersey & official stat sheet by the Wings’ owner/CEO before the start of the game to commemorate her historic 53-point game on July 17.

 It was an even game until the Sky went on 15-0 run to take a double-digit lead late in the 1st quarter. Cambage received her 2nd foul with 1:44 left in 1st. Chicago was up 28-15 at the end of the 1st. Teresa Plaisance (2 rebounds) returned for Dallas at 3:27 in the 2nd quarter) after rehabbing a torn ACL injury she received while playing overseas in the offseason. Skylar Diggins-Smith (15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists) went to the locker room with a deep cut to the chin after a collision with the Sky’s Cheyenne Parker (20 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) under the basket; she went to the locker room and got stitches, then returned after halftime. Cambage picked up her 3rd foul at 6:51 in the 2nd quarter and sat the rest of the quarter; she played only 9 minutes in the 1st half. The Sky was up 55-36 at halftime. Dallas shot 31% from field-goal range in the 1st half. Dallas came out strong with a Diggins-Smith basket plus a foul in the first 7 seconds of the 3rd quarter. Glory Johnson (11 points, season-high 14 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 block) was effective. Chicago’s Stefanie Dolson (2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists) picked up her 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter and her 5th less than a minute later. A technical foul was called on the Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot (12 points, 4 rebounds, 14 assists, 2 steals) at the 3:35 mark. The Wings went on 11-2 run to cut a 24-point deficit to 3 points with 1:26 left in the 3rd. An Allisha Gray (12 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals) layup tied the game 72-72 heading into the 4th quarter. Cambage received her 4th foul less than 1 minute into the 4th quarter. The Wings took their first lead since the 1st quarter, 76-74, due to a Gray steal/Diggins-Smith layup. Chicago’s Allie Quigley (22 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, four 3-pointers) tied the game with a 2-pointer. A technical foul was called on Cambage (her 7th technical foul of the season) due to an inadvertent face hit on Dolson; she will be automatically suspended for Dallas’ next game, against the Indiana Fever. Chi\cago went on a 9-4 run halfway through the 4th quarter to take a 5-point lead, 83-78. Azurá Stevens (3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) was very disruptive late in the 4th quarter as Dallas took a 1-point lead. The Wings regained their 1-point lead with 13.6 seconds left in the game; Chicago had the ball and a Diamond DeShields (15 points 6 rebounds, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) layup put the Sky up by 1. with 5 seconds left in the game. A Diggins-Smith turnover via a missed pass to Cambage with 2 seconds left gave the Sky a very narrow win, 92-91. It was the third straight loss for Dallas. Gabby Williams (10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) was also in double digits for Chicago. Kayla Thornton added 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, and one 3-pointer for Dallas.

Severe Storm Warning

The Seattle Storm visited the Phoenix Mercury as they sought to hold on to the number-one ranking in the league.  Leilani Mitchel (birth of her first child)l and Diana Taurasi (league suspension for technical fouls) were back for Phoenix. Phoenix played assertively, shooting often and early. Taurasi gave a strong performance; the Mercury led 24-23 end of 1st quarter despite Brittney Griner picking up her 2nd foul halfway through the 1st quarter, along with her style of play; she was a lot more aggressive. Seattle, behind the stellar play of the scoring triumvirate of Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, and Jewell Loyd, took a 53-44 lead at halftime and held Taurasi scoreless in the 2nd quarter. Griner picked up her 3rd foul early in the 3rd quarter, to join DeWanna Bonner in foul trouble. Phoenix never pulled ahead and Seattle continued to dominate as they held an 81-60 lead heading into the 4th quarter. Seattle eventually won 102-90.

Stick A Fork In Me

There was no Epiphanny Prince (leg) or Shavonte Zellous (ankle) for New York as they visited the Connecticut Sun. Connecticut’s Shekinna Stricklen (10 points, 2 rebounds, three 3-pointers) scored all of the team’s first 7 points; the first four points were the result of a 4-point play reminiscent of the buzzer-beater winner against the Liberty in June.

Connecticut had a 10-point lead before New York went on an 8-0 run to close the gap to 7 points. New York had another 6-0 run to come within 3 points. Connecticut was up 21-18 at the end of the 1st quarter. A Tina Charles (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, one 3-pointer) 3-pointer for the Liberty opened up the 2nd quarter and gave them the 2-point lead. The Connecticut answer tied the game 23-23, then they outscored New York 19-3 to take a 14-point lead late in the 2nd quarter and a 48-39 lead at halftime. The Liberty opened the 3rd quarter with an 8-0 run. A technical foul was called on the Sun’s Alyssa Thomas (5 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) at 7:38 in the 3rd quarter. The Sun responded with a 10-0 run to once again take the lead. Connecticut Coach Curk Miller received his 5th technical foul of the season with 3 seconds left in the 3rd. The Sun led 64-58 heading into the 4th quarter, thanks to a Layshia Clarendon (7 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists) buzzer beater. Charles was held to 3 points in the 2nd half. Connecticut went on to win the season series with the Liberty (2/3), 92-77. Jonquel Jones was the team’s leading scorer off the bench with 21 points, 2 rebounds, four 3-pointers). Courtney Williams (17 points,

Butter Knives and Gun Fights

The Phoenix Mercury, fresh off a home loss to Seattle, played the Las Vegas Aces on the road. It was the Aces’ first game since their second straight win over the Indiana Fever on July 22. Las Vegas started strong and caused 2 quick fouls on Phoenix's Stephanie Talbot (8 points, 4 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, two 3-pointers) in the 1st quarter. A technical foul was called on the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi (37 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, four 3-pointers) halfway through the 1st. Phoenix was more aggressive in the latter half of quarter and got the Aces bigs in foul trouble (Ji-Su Park, Nia Coffey, Kelsey Bone, Carolyn Swords). The Mercury was up 29-23 at the end of 1st. Both teams did not shoot or play that well in the 1st quarter due to poor shot selection and turnovers, especially by Las Vegas. An 8-2 Aces run in the 2nd quarter cut their 11-point deficit to 5 points. Phoenix led 48-42 at halftime. A very physical 3rd quarter saw the Mercury staying aggressive and Taurasi getting to the free throw line a lot. Phoenix continued to lead, 75-67, heading into the 4th quarter. Las Vegas came out stronger in the 4th quarter on a 7-2 run behind Moriah Jefferson (2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist), Dearica Hamby (10 points, 5 rebounds), and A’Ja Wilson (29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block) to cut the 11-point deficit to 3 points. Phoenix’s Brittney Griner (25 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks) picked up 2 quick fouls in the 4th. The Mercury continued their veteran savvy and ballooned the lead to 13 points; they got a  much-needed win, 106-93. DeWanna Bonner (20 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist, one 3-pointer) was also in double digits for Phoenix. Kayla McBride (18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, one 3-pointer) and Tamera Young (10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) were also in double digits for Las Vegas.

On the Ropes

The Dallas Wings were without Skylar Diggins-Smith (facial injury sustained during Chicago game when they visited the Indiana Fever); Kaela Davis (15 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, two 3-pointers) replaced her in the starting lineup. The technical foul that Liz Cambage (37 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, one 3-pointer) received in the Chicago game was rescinded, so she played. Cappie Pondexter (18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, two 3-pointers) was hot for Indiana with two 3-pointers to give the Fever the lead. Stil, the Wings were up 25-20 at the end of the 1st. Cambage scored 18 points in the 1st quarter but the Fever held her to 7 points in the 2nd. Whenever Cambage was on the bench thee Fever took advantage; back-to-back three-pointers by rookie Victoria Vivians (12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, four 3-pointers) put Indiana up by 2 points halfway through the 2nd quarter. Cambage picked up her 3rd foul off a Natalie Achonwa (13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) charge with 50 seconds left in the 2nd. The Fever led 43-39 at halftime. Pondexter was on the bench for the majority of the 3rd quarter after picking up her 4th foul early in the 3rd. Indiana led 63-59 heading into 4th. Cambage picked up her 5th foul with 4:04 left in the game. The Fever won their 4th game of the season, 84-78, and scored 25 points off of 19 Dallas turnovers in the game. Candice Dupree (12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals), Tiffany Mitchell (10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal) and rookie Kelsey Mitchell (10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) were also in double digits for Indiana. Rookie Azurá Stevens chipped in 12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 blocks for Dallas.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Both Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen and Tiffany Hayes received league honors as the Eastern Conference coach and player of the month, respectively, for the month of July as the team hosted the Chicago Sky for their final meeting of the season. The Dream came out strong and went on an 8-0 run late in the 1st quarter to take the lead. Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry (21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) picked up her 2nd foul late in the 1st quarter. The Dream were up 23-19 at the end of 1st. The 2nd quarter saw strong play by both teams, though Atlanta outrebounded Chicago. The Sky went on a 9-0 run capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Courtney Vandersloot (24 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, three 3-pointers) to put Chicago up by 1 point at halftime. Chicago’s Stefanie Dolson (6 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) picked up her 3rd foul early in the 3rd quarter. The Sky tied the game 53-53 halfway through 3rd. Cheyenne Parker (8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks, one 3-pointer) of Chicago picked up her 4th foul with 3:36 left in the 3rd. Atlanta’s Elizabeth Williams (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) picked up her 4th foul. A technical foul was called on McCoughtry with 1:53 left in the 3rd but Chicago took a narrow 43-42 lead into halftime. The Dream opened up the 4th quarter with back to back 3-pointers by Alex Bentley (11 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, one 3-pointer) and Hayes (19 points. 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, three 3-pointers). Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery (9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) added another 3-pointer in the 4th quarter. The Dream clamped down on the Sky and opened up a double-digit lead to win 89-74 in a game that saw 10 lead changes. Jessica Breland added 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks for Atlanta.

Talking All That Jazz

Nneka Ogwumike (15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist) and Alana Beard (5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) were back in the lineup for the Los Angeles Sparks as they hosted the Minnesota Lynx. The Sparks limited Minnesota’s Maya Moore (8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) early, and caused 3 Minnesota turnovers in the first half of the quarter. The Lynx’s Rebekkah Brunson (7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) sat on the bench early due to a quick foul. Los Angeles’ Candace Parker (23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, two 3-pointers) was on fire in the 1st quarter: she scored 11 points, made two 3-pointers, and got to the foul line. Minnesota struggled to make shots, even layups. The Sparks were up 20-8 at the end of the 1st quarter. Brunson picked up her 3rd foul halfway through the 2nd quarter and went back to the bench. Los Angeles led 40-29 at halftime. The 3rd quarter saw the bad blood between the Sparks’ Odyssey Sims (4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen (4 rebounds) rise to the surface as Sims was called for both a technical and a regular foul at 6:53 for instigating an altercation with Whalen; the two players had to be pulled apart by their respective teammates and the referees. The Lynx pulled within 8 points of Los Angeles at 3:44 in the 3rd quarter. Parker and Ogwumike were frequently hit in the mouth/face all game but there was no call until 3:09 in the 3rd when Ogwumike finally got to the foul line. Los Angeles had a 59-46 lead heading into the 4th quarter and won 79-57. Chelsea Gray chipped in 18 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, and two 3-pointers for Los Angeles. Sylvia Fowles was the only Lynx player in double digits with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block.

The Perfect Storm

The Minnesota Lynx visited the Seattle Storm on the second game of their only back-to-back of the season, while Seattle hadn't played since before the All-Star break.  The Storm immediately came out with pressing defense. The Lynx went on a 12-0 run to lead 22-16 at the end of the 1st quarter. There were lots of missed shots by the Storm in the 1st quarter but they went on an 8-0 run in the 2nd quarter to climb back from a 9-point deficit. The Lynx were up by 1 point, 38-37, at halftime thanks to timely 3-pointer by Seattle’s Alysha Clark (7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) and turnovers by Minnesota. Two key steals by the Storm’s Breanna Stewart (20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, three 3-pointers) halfway through the 3rd quarter brought Seattle to within 3 points of Minnesota. A steal by Seattle’s Jewell Loyd (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, one 3-pointer) cut the lead to 1 point. The Storm took a 1-point lead for the first time since the 1st quarter with Loyd free throws. Seattle went on a 27-2 run to take a 61-57 lead heading into the 4th quarter. The Lynx looked very tired in the 4th quarter. Seattle won 85-75 and clinched a playoff berth. Natasha Howard (15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 block, one 3-pointer) and Sue Bird (14 points, 2 rebounds, 11 assists, four 3-pointers) were also in double digits for Seattle. Sylvia Fowles (20 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block), Rebekkah Brunson (12 points, 5 assists, 1 block, one 3-pointer) and Lindsay Whalen (12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) were in double digits for Minnesota.

Solar Eclipse

The Las Vegas Aces visited the Connecticut Sun (and had no travel issues on this leg) on their Breast Awareness Day as they tried to crack the top eight rankings to make the playoffs. The Aces came out strong and scored the game’s first four points but Connecticutecticut came back to tie the game. The Sun was fueled by Jasmine Thomas (career-high 30 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, five 3-pointers) whose inspired play she credited to her mother, who is a breast cancer survivor. The Sun’s Alyssa Thomas (7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist) picked up her second foul less than four minutes into the game. A technical foul was called on Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer at 2:59 in the 1st quarter after protesting a call. Connecticut’s Morgan Tuck (10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, one 3-pointer( picked up two quick fouls in the last minute of the 1st quarter. The Sun was up 33-25 at the end of the 1st and led 64-49 at halftime; it was the most that the Sun has scored in a first half all season. Connecticut shot 79% from field-goal range and made 9 three-pointers in the 1st half. A. Thomas picked up her 3rd foul early in the 3rd quarter. Shekinna Stricklen (7 points, 1 steal) injured her finger in the first half and went out early in the 3rd quarter; she was deemed to be able to come off the bench if necessary. J.Thomas scored her career-high 30th point 3:42 in the 3rd quarter as Connecticut took an 88-69 lead into the 4th quarter. Las Vegas got blown out by the Sun, 109-88, for their second straight loss. Chiney Ogwumike chipped in 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals for the Sun. A’Ja Wilson (24 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal), Kelsey Plum (21 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, five 3-pointers) and Kayla McBride (17 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) were all in double digits for Las Vegas.

Shot To The Heart

The Dallas Wings hosted the Washington Mystics as the Wings struggled to stay afloat in the playoff race after four straight losses. Skylar Diggins-Smith did not play for the Dallas Wings due to the facial injury she incurred in the game against the Chicago Sky on July 31 (she is not in the league’s concussion protocol). This was Aerial Power’s first trip back to Dallas since she was traded for Tayler Hill to Washington before the All-Star break.  Mystics led 43-34 at halftime behind a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Kristi Toliver. Dallas came back with an 8-0 run behind key e-pointers by Kayla Thornton and defensive play by Kaela Davis took the lead with 35 seconds left in the 3rd quarter; an Azurá Stevens basket gave the Wings the 60-58 lead heading into the 4th quarter. The Wings shot 7/17 from 3-point at 6:55, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by Thornton and Hill, to cap an 8-2 run that gave Dallas a 70-63 lead. Washington clawed back and a 3-point dagger by Toliver tied the game 74-74 with 16 seconds left in the game. Toliver hit a bucket with 1.4 seconds in the game to give the Mystics a narrow win, 76-74. This was Dallas’ fifth straight loss.

Mercury Sinking

The Phoenix Mercury visited archrivals Los Angeles Sparks in attempt to right the ship and solidify their playoff aspirations. Despite the Mercury’s Brittney Griner’s usual defensive presence, the Sparks ended the 1st quarter with a 20-16 lead. Los Angeles came out hot in the second quarter and opened up a double-digit lead,   at halftime. The Mercury came out with more fire in the 3rd quarter and ended it by cutting the deficit to 6 points, with a 57-51 Los Angeles lead. The game got more intense in the 4th quarter and a costly foul by Odyssey Sims on Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner behind the 3-point line made it a 1-point game in favor of Los Angeles, 76-75, with 12 seconds left in the game. A missed 3-pointer by Bonner gave the Sparks the win, 78-75, for their second straight win.  

They Might Be Giants

The Atlanta Dream visited the Minnesota Lynx in what promised to be an entertaining game: the Dream was fresh off a win against the Chicago Sky and Minnesota had lost their previous two road games. The game was as physical as expected, with player/floor contact rather commonplace. Atlanta players seemed to hit the floor extremely hard; Brittney Sykes took a hard fall going for a rebound beneath the basket and Imani McGee-Stafford was knocked out of her shoe while blocking a shot 1:04 in 1st. The Dream was up 28-26 to end the 1st quarter despite Minnesota’s primary scoring options of Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus, with Danielle Robinson bringing a nice boost off the bench. An inadvertent elbow to the Lynx

S Rebekkah Brunson’s nose by Atlanta’s Tiffany Hayes ended with a defensive foul on Brunson and an technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct on Hayes. Hayes four 3-pointers in the first half. Atlanta went on 18-1 run to take a 49-34 lead at halftime. Brunson did not return to the bench at the beginning of the 3rd quarter and was doubtful to return for the rest of the game (this was later downgraded to Brunson being out for the rest of the game). Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery received a technical foul (defensive 3 seconds) in the first 30 seconds of the 3rd quarter. Back-to-back baskets by Minnesota’s Maya Moore on top of a made technical free throw closed Atlanta’s lead to ten points. The Lynx went on a 12-5 run halfway through the 3rd quarter to bring the deficit to nine points, 54-43. Atlanta led 63-52 heading into the 4th quarter and put on a decisive performance to win their second consecutive game 86-66. This was Minnesota’s third consecutive loss.

Rookie Watch

Rook of the Week

Monique Billings (ATL). I continue to be impressed by Billings; I was on the fence about her earlier in the season. She has been getting more minutes and her presence has made some key disruptions during Atlanta's recent eight-game winning streak and the start of their new streak. 

Rook of the Weak

None.

Rookie of the Year

A’Ja Wilson (LV)

Diamond DeShields (CHI)

Gabby Williams (CHI)

Victoria Vivians (IND)

Kelsey Mitchell (IND)

Defensive Player of the Year

Liz Cambage (DAL)

Natasha Howard (SEA)

Brittney Griner (PHX)

Sylvia Fowles (MIN)

Tina Charles (New York)

6th Woman of the Year

Brittney Sykes (ATL)

Courtney Paris (SEA)

Danielle Robinson (MIN)

Kaela Davis (DAL)

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