Here’s what happened in the world of women’s hoops this past week:
Riquna Williams arrested on alleged domestic battery charges
The Aces’ Riquna Williams is facing nine domestic battery charges — five felony and four misdemeanor charges — after her arrest by the Las Vegas Police on Tuesday. The alleged incident involved Williams and her spouse. A report from ESPN includes further details.
The list of charges against Riquna Williams made public by the Clark County Detention Center includes three felony counts of strangulation, one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, one felony count of coercion, and four misdemeanor counts of domestic battery #WNBA pic.twitter.com/cgdYRxEwEr— Hoopfeed.com (@hoopfeed) July 26, 2023
In 2019, when Williams, who then played for the Los Angeles Sparks, was arrested in Florida on charges of “burglary with assault or battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill,” I criticized the responses of the WNBA, WNBPA and Sparks, suggesting they were undermining the values they claimed to hold by failing to come down swiftly and stringently on Williams.
In a guest post for Swish Appeal, Amy Livingston, a labor educator, offered an alternative perspective, explaining the limitations the league, the union, and teams face in such circumstances. She urged fans to consider that harsh punishments for perpetrators often exacerbate unstable domestic situations, while also reminding readers of the tendency of the American legal system to criminalize Black LGBTQ+ individuals.
Candace Parker’s foot fracture headlines growing list of WNBA injuries
On Monday, the Las Vegas Aces announced that Candace Parker underwent surgery for a foot fracture. Parker, who last played July 7, had been suffering from the injury all season.
Parker’s fracture and indefinite absence adds to the list of injuries suffered and games missed tallied by Lucas Seehafer for The Next. According to Seehafer’s latest update, there have been 485 games missed due to 106 injuries across the WNBA this season. Injuries have had the most consequence for the Washington Mystics, with Seehafer determining that DC has lost 5.4 win shares due to the 52 total games that members of the team have missed.
Another season-ending injury strikes the UConn Huskies
Unfortunately, injuries already are impacting the upcoming college season. The UConn Huskies appear to remain infected by the injury bug that has afflicted them the past two seasons. Last weekend, redshirt freshman Jana El Alfy ruptured her Achilles tendon when playing for Egypt at the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup. She will miss the entire 2023-24 season.
At June media, Azzi Fudd literally bent down & knocked on wood while saying, "Hopefully everything goes well...and you get a full season of all of us playing together.”— Lila Bromberg (@lilabbromberg) July 25, 2023
A little over a month later, Jana El Alfy's injury marks cruel twist of fate for UConn:https://t.co/nYYgvjrZkG
Team USA wins U19 World Cup
Last Saturday, the United States captured gold at the aforementioned FIBA U19 World Cup in Madrid, Spain.
The final featured the host Spanish and the Americans, with the U.S. escaping with the 69-66 win due to a late bucket from Ohio State sophomore and team captain Cote McMahon followed by a steal and free throw from Hannah Hidalgo, who will be a freshman at Notre Dame. Hidalgo and Joyce Edwards, an undeclared class of 2024 recruit from South Carolina who lead the team in scoring, were named to the tournament’s All Star Five.
New deals for Kenny Brooks and Coach Yo
Brooks led the Hokies to the most successful season in program history, capturing a first ACC tournament title before advancing all the way to the Final Four. Previously under contract until the end of the 2025-26 season, the school inked Brooks to a three-year extension, keeping him in Blacksburg until March 2029. The now six-year deal will pay Brooks $6.4 million.
Down in Oxford, McPhee-McCuin, affectionately known as Coach Yo, has her Rebels on a steady upswing, on track to become one of the best programs in the SEC. And now she is a million-dollar woman, as her new contract, which goes through the 2026-27 season, will pay her an average of $1,087,500 per season. McPhee-McCuin has led the Rebels to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, with the team advancing to the Sweet Sixteen this past season.
Brittney Griner named June WNBA Cares Community Assist Award Winner
We shouldn’t have expected anything less from the great BG. We’re blessed to have her back representing the best of the W.
Griner’s harrowing experience did not dull her generous spirit; instead, she is using her platform to advocate for other Americans wrongfully detained overseas through the Bring Our Families Home organization. She also has continued to partner with Phoenix Rescue Mission to organize her annual shoe drive, which supports marginalized communities in the greater Phoenix area.
Congrats to @PhoenixMercury center Brittney Griner on being named the June WNBA Cares Community Assist Award Winner for her continued efforts in championing the safe return of wrongful detainees overseas & supporting marginalized communities in the Phoenix Area. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/j510uHYKkW— WNBA (@WNBA) July 27, 2023