The WNBA Rewind: Week ending July 22

A recap of select WNBA games and league happenings for the week ending July 22, 2018.

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

Disclaimer: All statistics are taken from the WNBA site. Historical markers are in bold type. Opinions and rankings are solely those of this author. Don’t @ me.

If you didn’t watch any WNBA games this week, you really missed out. It was a LOT going on. Let’s discuss.

The Bounce

In case you missed it (and you may have, what with TV coverage and promotion of the WNBA being what they are -- looking at you, Lisa Borders and Adam Silver)  the 2018 WNBA All-Star teams were announced. The leading overall vote-getters were Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics) and thus were named team captains but since Moore didn’t want to do the captain duties and just wanted to play, Candace Parker was named the second team captain as the third top-vote getter. The All-Star votes were 40% fans, 20% current WNBA players, 20% current head coaches, and 20% sportswriters and broadcasters. The teams consisted of the top vote-getters, regardless of conference or player position.

(for a list of unsung heroes who didn’t make the All-Star team but deserved a shot, click here).

Dan Hughes, head coach of the Seattle Storm and Sandy Brondello, head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, will serve as the All-Star coaches. Both the Storm and the Mercury had the top two records in the league at the time the coaches were chosen on July 12.

Here are your teams:

Team Parker

Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)

Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)

Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks)

Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)

Allie Quigley (Chicago Sky)

Liz Cambage (Dallas Wings)

Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun)

Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)

Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings)

Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm)

Tina Charles (New York Liberty)

Team Delle Donne

Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics)

Kristi Toliver (Washington Mystics)

Kayla McBride (Las Vegas Aces)

A’Ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces)

Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)

Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)

Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)

DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix Mercury)

Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)

Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)

Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)

The 2018 WNBA All-Star Game will take place in Minneapolis, MN on Saturday, July 28 at 3:00 pm ET in the Target Center. It will be televised nationally on ABC.

Playoff Watch

Remember when I told you last week that, based on the level of talent in the league, that the playoff race will be very tight and the league rankings will literally change week to week? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. As of Sunday, July 22, the Seattle Storm retained the top spot but the Atlanta Dream (!) surged from #5 last week to #2 this week. The Phoenix Mercury, which was #2 last week, dropped to #4 this week (scroll down to the recaps to see why). The Connecticut Sun are holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot by their fingertips, as the Las Vegas Aces are only one loss behind them in the #9 spot.  

In Other News

  • What was going on with the referees this week? They were handing out technical fouls like candy on Halloween. Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams got tossed from the game TWICE this week due to techs; Sandy Brondello (head coach, Phoenix Mercury), Nicki Collen (head coach, Atlanta Dream), and Mike Thibault (head coach, Washington Mystics) also got technicals this week. Not wanting to be seen as stingy, the referees also T’d up assistant coaches on the Mercury and Lynx staff (seriously?). Dallas’ Liz Cambage, thanks to a couple of technical fouls this week (more below) is now one technical foul away from an automatic one-game suspension. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun), and Brittney Sykes (Atlanta Dream) were also recipients of technical fouls this week. All-Star break can’t come soon enough, because everyone needs to relax, relate, and release.
  • Tina Charles (New York Liberty) won the Mannie Jackson -- Basketball’s Human Spirit Award for her work with her charitable foundation, Hopey’s Heart. The goal of the Hopey’s Heart Foundation is to have Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs) installed in schools, communities, and recreational centers; as well as provide CPR training and health education.
  • Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings) won the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for her work with the Boys and Girls Clubs.
  • Jessica Breland (Atlanta Dream, Eastern Conference) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks, Western Conference) were named the WNBA Players of the Week on July 15, 2018, for games played July 9-14.
  • Tiffany Hayes’ (Atlanta Dream) half-court heave against the Connecticut Sun (see below) was the longest shot in WNBA regular-season history, at 46.7 feet.
  • The Indiana Fever won their third game of the season against the Los Angeles Sparks (!), who were without Nneka Ogwumike.

Lizstory

The still-struggling New York Liberty visited the Dallas Wings and it was a tech-o-palooza; there were five technical fouls called in the game. Dallas head coach Fred Williams was ejected late in the 3rd quarter. Dallas led for most of the game but allowed New York to come back from a 17-point deficit and take a 2-point lead at halftime.   The Liberty had a dominant 3rd quarter but the Wings regrouped and went back to the style of play that had gotten them this far. Liz Cambage redeemed herself from her behavior last week and not only double-doubled but made franchise and league history by scoring 53 points in a single game.

Riquna Williams (now with the Los Angeles Sparks) held the previous record with 51 points in 2013. Cambage also had 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, and five 3-pointers. The Wings won 104-87. Glory Johnson (13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals, one 3-pointer), Allisha Gray (13 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, two 3-pointers), and Kayla Thornton (10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) were in double digits for Dallas. Rookie Kia Nurse led the way for New York (25 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, four 3-pointers), followed by Tina Charles (19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal), Bria Hartley (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, two 3-pointers), and Shavonte Zellous (10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists).

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

Angel McCoughtry (24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) did not start when the Atlanta Dream visited the Connecticut Sun; Brittney Sykes (11 points, 4 rebounds, one 3-pointer) got her first start of the season instead. Atlanta started off slow and miscommunication led to painful turnovers for the Dream in the first half.  A technical foul was called on Atlanta head coach Nicki Collens. The Sun got into foul trouble during the 2nd quarter, as Jonquel Jones (19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, one 3-pointer) picked up her 3rd foul early in the 2nd quarter; Morgan Tuck picked up her 2nd foul in the mid-2nd quarter; and  Courtney Williams (8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal,) picked up her 3rd foul late in 2nd quarter. Connecticut was up 42-35 at halftime.  The Dream came out more aggressively in the 3rd quarter. Atlanta’s head coach Nicki Collen picked up a technical foul at 5:41 in the 3rd quarter, which began the Dream’s second-half foul troubles as Jessica Breland (7 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks) picked up her 3rd foul at 5:20. Renee Montgomery (6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals, one 3-pointer) also picked up her 3rd foul at 4:19 in the 3rd quarter. Still, Atlanta managed to tie the game at the 3:48 mark in the 3rd quarter. and Elizabeth Williams (5 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks) did it again at 3:10. The Sun had a narrow 60-58 lead heading into the 4th quarter. A technical foul was called on Sykes early in the 4th at the 8:30 mark. Crucial free throws by Atlanta’s Tiffany Hayes (18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, one 3-pointer) put the Dream up by 2 points with 40.6 seconds left in the game. Alyssa Thomas free throws tied the game at 83-83 behind Alyssa Thomas’ (12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) free throws.

Connecticut inbounded but Hayes stole the ball after Breland poked it away from Jasmine Thomas (11 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) and did a Hail Mary heave from half court. Hayes beat the final buzzer to win the game for Atlanta, 86-83. It was the longest made shot in WNBA regular-season history at 46.7 feet. Rachel Banham (15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists three 3-pointers) and Chiney Ogwumike (10 points, 7 rebounds) were also in double digits for Connecticut.

Still The One

The Indiana Fever again visited the Minnesota Lynx. Veteran Cappie Pondexter (10 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) got her second start, along with rookie Victoria Vivians (3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist one 3-pointer), Candice Dupree (20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal), Natalie Achonwa (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals), and Erica Wheeler (2 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal) starting for Indiana. Rookie  Kelsey Mitchell (6 points, 3 assists ) has come off the bench for the past two games. Rebekkah Brunson (5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) returned for Minnesota after sitting with a thigh injury. Indiana is the first team to have two rookies hit 40+ 3-pointers in a season after Vivians makes her third 3-pointer at the 5:30 mark in the 1st quarter. The Fever went on a 6-0 run to bring the score to within 3 points, 16-13. The Lynx were up 27-21 at the end of the 1st quarter. Sylvia Fowles (season-high 30 points, 16 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 blocks) became the fourth-leading WNBA all-time shot blocker with her 3rd quarter block at 5:28 in the 3rd quarter, for 558 career blocks. The Lynx won 89-65. Seimone Augustus (13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, three 3-pointers) and Maya Moore (10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) were also in double digits for Minnesota.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

The Atlanta Dream hosted the New York Liberty, which went pretty much as one would expect given Atlanta’s recent dominance and New York’s continued struggles. The Liberty started out hot but the Dream rallied to take the lead, 21-13, at the end of the 1st quarter. Foul trouble hurt New York as Tina Charles (11points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, one 3-pointer) picked up two quick fouls in the 1st quarter. The Liberty’s Shavonte Zellous (2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block)  injured her ankle in the middle of the 2nd quarter and did not return. New York shot only 36% in the 2nd quarter. New York’s Brittany Boyd (8 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, one 3-pointer) picked up her 3rd foul in the middle of the 3rd quarter. Alex Bentley (2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals) was very active for Atlanta’s defense, which was sorely needed. Charles picked up her 3rd foul at 4:04 in the 2nd. Atlanta went on a 13-2 run in the second half of 2nd quarter to go up 50-31 at halftime. The Dream made six 3-pointers in the first half; mostly by Renee Montgomery (24 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, team-record seven 3-pointers) who ended the game with 430 lifetime three-pointers made. New York’s Epiphanny Prince (4 points, 1 rebound, 3 steals) was injured 7:33 in the 3rd quarter and did not return. Atlanta won 82-68. Montgomery set a team record of seven 3-pointers in a game. Tiffany Hayes (20 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, one 3-pointer) was also in double digits for Atlanta.

Feels So High

Monique Currie (5 points, 3 rebounds,1 assist, one 3-pointer) started for Natasha Cloud (concussion) as the Washington Mystics visited the Dallas Wings. Dallas came out smoking and shot 63% in the 1st quarter; they were up 31-20 at the end of the 1st. The Mystics went on a run late in the 2nd quarter to cut the lead to 5 points. Skylar Diggins-Smith (4 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists) did not score for Dallas until 2:57 in the 2nd quarter, on a made free throw (1 point). Washington’s Kristi Toliver (9 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, one 3-pointer) didn't score her first basket until 2:00 in the 2nd quarter. Dallas was up 48-39 at halftime. Toliver began to heat up early in the 3rd quarter. The Mystics got into foul trouble when LaToya Sanders (career-high 25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks) got called for her 4th foul and Krystal Thomas (3 rebounds) got called for her 3rd within 15 seconds of each other. A technical foul was called on head coach Mike Thibault; the resulting free throw was missed by Diggins-Smith. Dallas had gone to the free throw line 20 times by the start of 4th quarter and was up 70-57. Elena Delle Donne (9 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks) was held scoreless for Washington in the 3rd quarter. Cambage set another league record for points in back-to-back games with 88 points combined; she had 29 points early in the 4th quarter, plus 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block. Cambage passed  Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, who held the previous record at 80 combined points in back-to-back games. Sanders fouled out with 1:32 left in the game. Dallas won 87-79. Kayla Thornton (15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, three 3-pointers), Glory Johnson (13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, two 3-pointers),  Azurá Stevens (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) and Allisha Gray (10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) were all in double digits for the Wings. Ariel Atkins (15 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists, three 3-pointers) was also in double digits for Washington.

The David and Goliath Show

The Las Vegas Aces visited the Phoenix Mercury and things escalated quickly. Veteran Carolyn Swords (4 points, 2 rebounds) started for the Aces. The Mercury were their usual aggressive selves and Las Vegas’ Tamera Young (10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist) picked up two quick fouls early in the 1st quarter. The Aces continued to play strong play and keep up with Phoenix in a back-and-forth game (11 lead changes and 6 ties) but a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Briann January (3 points, 2 rebounds) off an Aces turnover put the Mercury up by 1 point at the end of the 1st quarter. Phoenix’s Camille Little (4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) picked up her 3rdfoul 4:46 in 2nd. Brittney Griner (19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block) picked up her 3rd foul at 2:28 in the 2nd. Las Vegas led 46-37 at halftime. Rookie Ji-Su Park (2 rebounds) picked up her 3rd foul early in the 3rd. Phoenix got into foul trouble in the 3rd quarter as Little got her 4th foul at 7:59; Diana Taurasi (season-high 33 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, four 3-pointers) picked up her 3rd foul at 6:40; and Griner her 4th foul at  5:39. The Aces were up 64-59 heading into the 4th quarter. Griner passed Tammy Sutton-Brown for 5th all-time in blocks and became the Mercury’s all-time leader in double-doubles (her 34th, and 6th of season) at 8:16 in the 4th quarter. Las Vegas won (!) 85-82. Kayla McBride (27 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, one 3-pointer)  and A’Ja Wilson (18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) were also in double digits for Las Vegas. DeWanna Bonner (13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, one 3-pointer) chipped in for Phoenix.

Sunny Skies

The Chicago Sky hosted a road-weary Dallas Wings team, as they were in the throes of a four-games-in-five-nights road swing. The Sky came out swinging and led for the entire game. Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot (13 points, 10, rebounds, 15 assists, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) scored the first triple-double in franchise history. She also had the most assists (15) in a game in Sky history and is tied with the Indiana Fever’s Cappie Pondexter (the record is held by Tichia Penichero with 16 assists). Dallas head coach Fred Williams was ejected from the game late in the 4th quarter; this was the (second time in 3 games). Allie Quigley (21 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists, four 3-pointers) fouled out for the Sky with 1:13 left in the game. Kahleah Copper scored a career-high 25 points for Chicago to go with her 2 rebounds, including a 3-pointer. The Sky won 114-99 to snap a 4-game losing streak; 114 points was the most points scored in a regular-season game in Sky history. Diamond DeShields (17 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 block, two 3-pointers) and Stefanie Dolson (14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, two 3-pointers) were also in double digits for Chicago. Liz Cambage 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks), Skylar Diggins-Smith (21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 block),  Azurá Stevens (14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block), Kayla Thornton (12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) and Kaela Davis (11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, three 3-pointers) led the way for Dallas.

I Get So Emotional

The Minnesota Lynx visited the Phoenix Mercury in another clash of the Titans.  The Lynx started off slow but cut a 12-6 lead by Phoenix to take a 20-15 lead. Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner (29 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, four 3-pointers) was called for a Flagrant 1 foul on Minnesota’s Maya Moore (38 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) late in the 1st quarter, then fouled Moore on a 3-point shot; Bonner had 3 fouls in the 1st quarter. The Lynx were up 24-17 at the end of the 1st. Moore had been to the free-throw line nine times in the 1st quarter: it was the most free throws made in a quarter. A technical foul was called on the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi (14 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, one3-pointer) 20 seconds into the 2nd quarter. The Mercury came back and cut a 10-point Minnesota lead to 4 points. Taurasi got a 2nd technical foul after an over-the-top roll on the floor. to protest a foul (somewhere, Brazilian soccer player Neymar shed a tear of pride) and was ejected at 5:54 in the 2nd quarter and took her sweet time leaving the court.

A technical foul was also called on Phoenix head coach Sandy Brondello. A late run from the Mercury late in the 2nd quarter cut an 11-point deficit to 4 points behind the aggressive play of Bonner, who scored 10 straight points.  Her 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in the 2nd cut the deficit to 2 points. Moore had 24 points in the 1st half; Minnesota led 40-38 at halftime. Sylvia Fowles (4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) picked up her 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter. Phoenix’s Yvonne Turner (3 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block) cut Minnesota's lead to 1 point at 7:48 with a 3-pointer, which Seimone Augustus (15 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks) answered with her own 3-pointer to put the Lynx’s lead up to 4 points. Brittney Griner (10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block) picked up her 4th foul at 6:28 in the 3rd quarter. The Lynx were up 69-54 to start the 4th. Technical fouls were called on both Phoenix and Minnesota assistant coaches within 1 minute of each other halfway through the 4th. Fowles fouled out at 5:15 and Griner picked up her 5th foul. Griner cut the lead to 4 points with 3:52 left in the game. A Bonner 3-pointer cut the lead to 3 points with  3:08 left. Stephanie Talbot’s (15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) free throws put the Mercury at a 3-point deficit with 1:20 left in the game. A Talbot steal made it a 1-point game at 1:10. Crucial defense by the Lynx’s Erlana Larkins (8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) helped set Minnesota up for a buzzer-beater by Moore with 4 seconds left to give the Lynx an 80-75 win. Danielle Robinson had a season-high 16 points to go with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals for the Lynx.

Keep On Movin’

The Seattle Storm visited the Atlanta Dream in what was the 500th career game played for Seattle’s Sue Bird (12 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists); she passed Delisha Milton-Jones. Atlanta’s Damiris Dantas was out with an ankle injury. The Dream’s Renee Montgomery (4 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists) recorded her 1,000th career assist (24th player in league history). Seattle went on a 6-0 run to start the game but the Dream rebounded and dominated until the final buzzer. The Storm’s Natasha Howard (4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks) picked up 2 fouls halfway through the 1st quarter. The Dream was up 28-22 at the end of the 1st quarter and shot 71%. Atlanta took a 47-34 lead at halftime, shooting 56%. Atlanta continued to dominate as they went into the 4th quarter with a 70-58 lead en route to an 87-74 Dream win and a franchise-high seven straight wins to rise to #2 in this week’s league rankings behind Seattle. While it’s normally against my religion to root for anyone who attended Duke University (I’m a die-hard UNC Tarheels fan), I had to give it up for Atlanta’s Elizabeth Williams; her defense kept her team ahead; she led the way with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. Angel McCoughtry (16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Tiffany Hayes (16 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, one 3-pointer) were also in double digits. Jessica Breland chipped in 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Breanna Stewart (31 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, two 3-pointers) and Jewell Loyd (11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, one 3-pointer) were also in double digits for Seattle.

It’s Getting Hot In Here

The Connecticut Sun visited the tired Dallas Wings, who had just returned home from a grueling 4-game road trip. Skylar Diggins-Smith (8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists) was quiet for Dallas due to illness. Connecticut went on a 5-0 run to open the 1st quarter before Dallas regrouped and went on a 7-0 run of their own to take the lead. The Sun was up 29-20 at the end of the 1st quarter behind a 10-3 run. Dallas went on a 5-0 run to cut a double-digit deficit, but the Sun was up 44-28 at halftime. Shekinna Stricklen (24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, eight 3-pointers) made the most 3-pointers for a Dallas opponent this season and tied a WNBA record (with the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and Los Angels Sparks’ Riquna Williams) of eight 3-points in a game. Chiney Ogwumike (10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) got called for a technical foul halfway through the 3rd quarter. Connecticut took a 69-57 lead to start the 4th quarter. Ogwumike was ejected after a 2nd technical foul with 5:53 left in the game. Connecticut cruised to a 92-75 win. Courtney Williams (15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Jonquel Jones (15 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, one 3-pointer), and Jasmine Thomas (11 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, one 3-pointer) were in double digits for Connecticut. Liz Cambage (25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists), Kayla Thornton (11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, one 3-pointer), and Glory Johnson (11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, one 3-pointer) were in double digits for the Wings.

Playing With House Money

The Indiana Fever visited the Las Vegas Aces. The two youngest teams in the league were both coming off quality wins against the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury, respectively. It was a slow start by Aces but they quickly caught up and took the lead into the 2nd quarter, 23-18.  The Fever’s Tiffany Mitchell (4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) picked up 2 fouls in the 1st quarter. The Aces were up by 9 points but Indiana went on a 10-2 run to give the Fever a 1-point lead with 1:11 left in the 2nd quarter. Kelsey Bone (2 points, 1 rebound) picked up her 3rd foul. Las Vegas took a slim lead, 38-37 at halftime. A Flagrant Foul was called on the Aces’ Tamera Young (5 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal) early in the 3rd quarter for an inadvertent face hit on Indiana’s Natalie Achonwa (21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block). A 4th foul was called on the Fever’s Candice Dupree (13 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) at 3:18 in the 3rd quarter. The Aces were up 67-56 to start the 4th quarter. Las Vegas’ Carolyn Swords (12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks) earned her second career double-double. Las Vegas won 88-74 and have won 6 of their last 7 games. A’Ja Wilson (24 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists), Kayla  McBride (16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, two 3-pointers) scored her 2,000th career point. Kelsey Plum (12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, two 3-pointers) also had double digits for Las Vegas.

Rookie Watch

Rook of the Week

It’s a toss-up between Monique Billings (ATL) and Diamond DeShields (CHI). While DeShields has been more consistent over the season and has really been balling out lately, Billings gets a nod due to the amount of progress she’s made (plus the fact that Atlanta has a better record than Chicago -- a record in which Billings has had a recent hand).

Rook of the Weak

Gabby Williams (CHI). I love me some Gabby Williams, but she has been very quiet  (for her) as of late. A recent entry in her ESPNW rookie diary gives some insight. Get some rest over the All-Star break and come back soon Gabby. RIP Mocha Trappuchino.

Rookie of the Year

A’Ja Wilson (LV)

Diamond DeShields (CHI)

Gabby Williams (CHI)

Kelsey Mitchell (IND)

Victoria Vivians (IND)

Defensive Player of the Year

Brittney Griner (PHX)

Sylvia Fowles (MIN)

Natasha Howard (SEA)

Liz Cambage (DAL)

Kayla Thornton (DAL)

6th Woman of the Year

Brittney Sykes (ATL)

Danielle Robinson (MIN)

Courtney Paris (SEA)

Rachel Banham (CON)

**Kayla Thornton (DAL) was removed from 6WOY ranking because she has moved into the starting lineup for the past few games.

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