When Alysha Clark signed a contract extension last month, Seattle Storm Head Coach Dan Hughes heralded the 5-foot-11 forward’s gritty “blue collar” style of defense. Make no mistake: Clark’s offensive game is on point, too; she scored 17 points for the Storm last night. But Seattle was able to snag the blowout part of the victory because of a battering from Clark that shut down the City of Angels.
Clark beat the Sparks using LA’s own defensive strategies against them. She out-tricked LA’s Tricky Trio — razing the court and extinguishing all Sparks and any signs of life.
To go with her 17 points, Clark stole the ball 5 times and managed to pick up only 1 personal foul. She also grabbed 3 rebounds and dished 3 assists, while three other Storm fronts scored in double figures.
Seattle did great things in LA last night, but it’s not the most important part of the story. Bigger than points, rebounds and assists was the team’s stalwart defensive stance that extinguished every flicker before it could become a flame — leaving the whole matchbook empty.
In addition to being team-high in scoring, Clark also grabbed five steals! And here’s what Seattle did, as a whole, to stop LA:
- Ogwumike was the game-high scorer, with 19 points, but the rest of the entire team was held to single-digit scoring by a Storm that hovered over Staples Center and wouldn’t move out. LA’s other starters scored: 2 points (Alana Beard), 6 points (Candace Parker), 8 points (Chelsea Gray) and 6 points (Odyssey Sims).
PAUSE and let this sink in: Parker has averaged 17 points and just shy of 9 rebounds per game over her career, but the Storm kept her to 6 points and 3 rebounds last night. Until yesterday, Gray was averaging just shy of 18 points and almost 4 rebounds per game for the season, but was held to 8 points and 2 rebounds last night.
- The Sparks were out-rebounded as a team 26-36 and out-assisted as a team 13-22.
- There were no lead changes and the game was never tied, primarily due to the Storm’s 15-point advantage after the first quarter.
The night’s other games
Lynx (88) vs. Mystics (80)
Only one team could get the win and break their losing streak, leaving the other to endure ever-worse butt-burn on the downward slide. But, after uncharacteristic — if not embarrassing — losses, the Minnesota Lynx finally figured it out, just as Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve said they would.
The Lynx got it done the old-fashioned way, by playing like the Lynx, with Sylvia Fowles putting up a double-double: 21 points and 12 rebounds. And her teammates helped her out: Maya Moore (19 points), Seimone Augustus (16 points) and Tanisha Wrights (13 points off the bench). Lindsay Whalen’s struggles continued (6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 turnovers), but the feline beasts showed they can get it done without her — which is good news in the short- and long-term.
The Lynx didn’t just stop a four-game losing streak, they made history, too. Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson passed Tamecka Dixon, Lisa Leslie and Mwadi Mbaka of the LA Sparks for most wins as a trio.
The Lynx have moved up to fourth in the standings at 3-5, while the Mystics remain at a respectable fifth place in the standings despite recent losses.
The dominant scorers for the Mystics were Natasha Cloud (17 points) and Kristi Toliver (15 points). In Elena Delle Donne’s return following injury, she scored 8 points, grabbed 2 rebounds, made 1 assist and stole the ball twice.
Suns (88) vs. Liberty (86)
Despite being handed their first loss of the season a few days ago in Upset City, the Sun bounced back to eke out a two-point victory against a Liberty team that is coming into its own.
With eight lead changes and the game tied once, this really could have been anyone’s game. But the Sun got it done behind Jasmine Thomas’ 19 points and 8 rebounds. To the double-figure scoring rescue were Chiney Ogwumike (16 points and 8 rebounds), Shekinna Stricklen (12 points) and Alyssa Thomas (11 points).
But the Liberty fought hard, with Tina Charles putting up 24 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, Marissa Coleman tallying 11 points and 7 rebounds, Shavonte Zellous with 11 points and 7 assists and Kia Nurse with 11 points.
Sylvia Fowles: Eager to learn, ready to impress
The youngest of five children, WNBA great Sylvia Fowles was pushed by her three brothers and sister to succeed on the basketball court. And, boy, has she ever — inking an impressive resume in her 10-year professional career, including:
- 2 WNBA Championships
- 2 WNBA Finals MVP awards
- 1 WNBA MVP award
- 3 Defensive Player of the Year honors
- 3 Olympic gold medals
- 4 All-Star selections
In the video, Fowles states that she’s definitely “here to work,” but from a perspective of working smarter due to age. The most intriguing statement she makes in the video, however, is that her goal is only to beat herself.
In short, Fowles is out to improve upon her performance in the 2017 season during which she won the championship with her Lynx team, was named league MVP and was crowned Finals MVP. What could this possibly mean for opponents? : emoji eyes :
Also, Big Syl has beautiful skin and cheekbones for days, and it’s great to see them up close and on display in this video. (Yes, this needs to be stated given the commitment by imbeciles to demean WNBA players by calling them ugly.)
Fowles’ ad will air during Game 4 of the NBA Finals — tonight, at 9 p.m. EST, on ABC.
ESPN2 ratings results
Though it may come as a shock to some, the sentiment of WNBA enthusiasts holds true: If they air it, people will watch. According to ESPN2 ratings from the early weeks of the 2018 WNBA season, this is exactly the case:
According to a press release from the NBA, “coverage of tomorrow night’s 2018 NBA Finals Game 4 will feature a WNBA-themed crew on the Full Court Press second-screen experience. WNBA legends Lisa Leslie and Rebecca Lobo will team with current WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike and ESPN NBA commentator Cassidy Hubbarth as the group watches Game 4 and offers commentary and analysis.”
First, this is bombdiggity. Second, you can watch Full Court Press on ESPN3 or stream it live on the ESPN app.
Here’s the remaining schedule for WNBA on ESPN2 this season:
Game of the night
To see an exciting, close game that was tied once, had eight lead changes and was decided in the literal last second of regulation, watch the Sun get by the Liberty.
To see what the Lynx look like when they play like the champions they are, watch their battle over the Mystics, which occurred a few hours before the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in the same arena.
Play of the night
Shekinna Stricklen’s just-in-the-nick-of-time shot is the kind of stuff that makes grown women cry themselves to sleep at night.
- Storm guard Jewell Loyd discusses Seattle’s hot start to the 2018 season. With so much great talent in the league, can Loyd or Breanna Stewart become standouts for awards?
- Despite recent losses, the Mystics have a rookie duo they may want to bank their future on.
- Michelle Smith has great stuff on the 2018 WNBA rookie class. Cases in point: A’ja WIlson, Kia Nurse, Diamond DeShields, Azura Stevens ... and on and on.
- WNBA greats Tina Thompson and Chamique Holdsclaw, and Liberty Head Coach Kate Smith, will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Scorching the status quo
Hate ain’t profitable. The CrossFit CEO, who refused to celebrate Pride Month in his gyms and called homosexuality a sin, has been fired. The employees had all quit on the spot after the CEO’s announcement, and the company then acted quickly to remove him.
Shouldn’t all people have access to fitness, especially if they’re willing to pay for it?
In other news ...
- Kevin Durant doesn’t get enough credit for his philanthropy. Read all about it.
- In a bombshell disclosure, exiled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his lawyers aim to have Donald Trump and Mike Pence served with subpoenas in his case against the NFL for blacklisting him from the league through collusion.
- “I think it should be awarded to a country which abides by federal law, who is transparent,” said Hope Solo, on why she feels the US should not be awarded the FIFA World Cup.
- Disinvitation Nation: Enough said.
- Judge who gave Brock Turner a slap on the wrist of a sentence for raping an unconscious woman at Stanford was recalled on Tuesday by California voters.
- WR Julian Edelman is a cheater and, therefore, a true Patriot.
How to #WatchThemWork all season
Shine brighter. C’mon! You can do it. * flicker flicker *