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This Week in Women’s Basketball: The latest on Brittney Griner and more

Swish Appeal’s weekly news roundup.

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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, 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

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

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins are moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten. The move will happen 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,

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:

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

Candace Parker, Diamond DeShields among WBB ESPY nominees; per Storm, Seattle a finalist for Sports Humanitarian Team of the Tear

Nikki McCray-Penson to join Coquese Washington’s coaching staff at Rutgers

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.