Here’s what happened in the world of women’s basketball this past week:
Brittney Griner expected to be found guilty and used as a pawn, then effort to bring her home to intensify
As you can see from the T.J. Quinn tweet below, Brittney Griner is expected to be used as a pawn and her trial, which began Friday, is how Russia will prepare for that.
Also important to note: what happens in court doesn’t matter. It’s theater. All part of Russia’s efforts to gain leverage in a deal that sends her home. She’ll be found guilty and sentenced and the real work will continue outside the courtroom. https://t.co/o4Xu7qOenN— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) June 30, 2022
According to Russian media reports, Day 1 in Brittney Griner's trial was exactly what experts said could happen: recitation of charges against her as she sat in "the cage," no plea from Griner, no western media, court adjourned until Thursday. This should be a long, slow process. https://t.co/4PoN8Fotl6— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) July 1, 2022
Also, on Monday, Griner’s detention was extended six months. She has already been detained for 135 days.
Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg’s WNBA stars find new overseas homes
A major shift in the int'l women's basketball landscape— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) July 1, 2022
Breanna Stewart, Emma Meesseman and Jonquel Jones (all former UMMC Ekat teammates) have signed with Turkish teams for the upcoming season. Another Ekat alum, Courtney Vandersloot, is headed to Hungary https://t.co/U5ngLWpxLh
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Griner’s detention are likely behind this news.
WNBA, WNBPA respond to Dobbs decision
Here is the WNBA and NBA’s statement on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court case decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade by saying that the United States constitution does not grant the right to abortion:
The NBA and WNBA believe that women should be able to make their own decisions concerning their health and future, and we believe that freedom should be protected. We will continue to advocate for gender and health equity, including ensuring our employees have access to reproductive health care, regardless of their location.
This statement was released on June 24.
Here is the WNBPA’s statement:
This decision shows a branch of government that is so out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity. We must recognize that when we cast a ballot it is to elect officials and to connect the dots to policies and legislation that align with our values.
As guest writer for USA TODAY, Layshia Clarendon warns against Republicans eliminating rights
Layshia Clarendon, a prominent figure in the women’s basketball world who played nine years in the WNBA, made a strong statement in a USA TODAY opinion piece, saying that “Republicans are coming for all (transgender) rights. ... Republican attacks won’t stop with the transgender community. Eventually, they will come for all of rights.”
Clarendon goes on to mention that, “Republicans have said the desire to overturn Loving v. Virginia, granting interracial couples the right to marry, Roe v. Wade, which made abortion a right and was overturned on June 24, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed gay marriage.”
Sue Bird becomes winningest regular-season WNBA player
Sue Bird reached a WNBA-record 324 regular-season wins when the Seattle Storm defeated the Las Vegas Aces 88-78 on Wednesday.
Candace Parker now the all-time leader in WNBA triple-doubles
On June 23, the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Candace Parker had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in her first game back in Los Angeles since leaving the Los Angeles Sparks for the Chicago Sky. It was the third triple-double of Parker’s career, giving her more than anyone in the history of the WNBA.
USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024
USC won the second and third NCAAW Tournament championships in 1983 and 1984. It hasn’t been to the tourney since 2014. Trojan alumni include Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson and Cheryl Miller.
UCLA has never won it all, but has enjoyed more recent success with four Sweet Sixteens in a row from 2016 to 2019, including a trip to the 2018 Elite Eight. Bruin alumni include current WNBA players Jordin Canada, Monique Billings and Michaela Onyenwere, the last of whom was the 2021 Rookie of the Year.
Sparks the fastest WNBA or NBA team to 500 wins
With their 97-89 win over the Dallas Wings Friday night,
The @LASparks secured their 500th win in 837 regular season games, becoming the fastest @WNBA or @NBA franchise to reach 500 wins.— LA Sparks PR (@LASparksPR) July 2, 2022
Per @EliasSports, the fewest games needed to reach 500 franchise wins in the NBA is 866, by Milwaukee, who got their 500th win on Jan. 12, 1979.
Moriah Jefferson notches first triple-double in Minnesota Lynx history
When she helped lead a 92-64 victory over the Dallas Wings on Tuesday,
Jefferson finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Vanessa Nygaard apologizes after Skylar Diggins-Smith clown emoji draws attention to All-Star Game statement
After the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Indiana Fever on Wednesday, Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard addressed the fact that Mercury legend Diana Taurasi did not make the All-Star Game, saying, “There will be a game in Chicago, but it will not be an All-Star Game because Diana Taurasi’s not playing.”
Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who is Phoenix’s lone representative in the All-Star Game, then retweeted a clip of Nygaard’s statement accompanied by a clown emoji on Thursday.
On Friday, Nygaard acknowledged that her “comments became and issue” and said:
“Didn’t mean to take away from Sky or any of the other All-Stars.— Eliav Gabay (@eliavgabay) July 1, 2022
Our team is super excited for Sky.
I apologize if my comments took away from that…if it was the other way around, I would stick up for Sky as well.
We’ve addressed it as a team & we’re moving forward.”
Nygaard’s full apology can be found in this video:
Tina Charles now fourth in WNBA scoring history
Pat Summitt inducted into Olympic/Paralympic Hall of Fame
On June 24, the eight-time NCAA national champion became the first female coach to achieve this honor.
20-year assistant of Pat Summitt, Mickie DeMoss, retires from women’s basketball
DeMoss’ 45 years in women’s basketball wrapped up as the chief of staff at Georgia Tech. She announced her retirement on Friday.
Aliyah Boston claims Honda Cup
The award honors the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and was awarded Monday night.
Becky Hammon, James Wade the WNBA All-Star Game coaches
Hammon will coach Team Wilson and Wade will coach Team Stewart.
Dearica Hamby signs extension with Aces
According to a source, Dearica Hamby’s contract extension with the Aces is for 2-years at $169K each year. It appears she took less to stay with the team.— Khristina Williams (@Khristina) June 29, 2022
"I've been in Vegas since the San Antonio franchise, so its important for me to continue what we started. Sometimes you have to remove your ego & do what makes ya happy, I'm excited about that."— Hunter Hames (@hunter9h) June 30, 2022
Dearica Hamby told @Winsidr @balanced_sports about her recent contract extension.
Candace Parker, Diamond DeShields among WBB ESPY nominees; per Storm, Seattle a finalist for Sports Humanitarian Team of the Tear
.@ESPN has unveiled the nominees for the 2022 @ESPYS on July 20 in Los Angeles.— Mitchell Hansen (@M_Hansen13) June 28, 2022
Fan voting for the categories included in the annual event, which will begin at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, is open now through July 17.
Here are some of the #WNBA highlights on the list of nominees: pic.twitter.com/I3ZgZbTRFG
McCray-Penson is a three-time WNBA All-Star, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a two-time SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee, a national champion as an assistant coach at South Carolina and the former head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.