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This Week in Women’s Basketball: 2022 WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces visit the White House

A White House visit for Vegas, a Mystics memorial in DC, fan ugliness in Minnesota and a coaching search in Chicago highlight this week’s events and developments in women’s basketball.

Vice President Harris Hosts WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces At The White House
A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray present Vice President Kamala Harris with a jersey during their White House visit.
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Catch up on the latest happenings in women’s basketball:

Aces visit VP Harris at the White House

The 2022 WNBA champion Aces visited the White House on Friday afternoon, with Vice President Kamala Harris welcoming the Las Vegas delegation.

For all the reasons to be cynical about the state of our nation, it is encouraging to see a group of strong, smart women of different colors and identities taking up space and giving spirit in the nation’s highest home.

Mystics honor the late Nikki McCray-Penson

Taken too soon following struggles with pneumonia and cancer, Nikki McCray-Penson was inducted posthumously into the Washington Mystics Hall of Fame last Sunday. A two-time SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee and two-time gold medalist with Team USA, McCray, the 1997 ABL MVP, joined the Mystics in 1998 and played four seasons in Washington, earning three All-Star honors.

Dawn Staley, McCray’s teammate on the 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams, narrated the touching tribute.

Fan ugliness mars Minnesota win over Dallas

After the Dallas Wings came up short against the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday evening, Satou Sabally revealed that she was subjected to verbal abuse during the game, writing on social media, “Disgusting fan base in Minny. The Schadenfreude to see someone get hurt can’t be a WNBA culture. Terrible words from the sidelines all game long.”

With approximately 25 seconds remaining in the game, Sabally came down on the foot of the Lynx’s Bridget Carleton, falling to the court with an injured ankle. Carleton would be assessed a second flagrant foul on the play, resulting in her ejection. As the referees reviewed the play, three fans were ejected for their actions toward Sabally.

Both Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and star Napheesa Collier condemned the poor fan behavior, with Reeve saying after the game, “There’s no place for that. I was disappointed. I apologized. Our fans are passionate, [but] you just can’t cross the line of celebrating someone’s injury. We wouldn’t want that. We apologize that that happened to Satou.”

Sky begin search for new head coach and general manager

Although Emre Vatansaver ably has assumed the head coach and general manager roles for the Chicago Sky, replacing James Wade, who departed suddenly during the season to join the coaching staff of the Toronto Raptors, it appears the organization will move in a different direction, as they have begun to consider outside candidates. According to Annie Constabile of the Chicago Sun-Times, Teresa Weatherspoon is a candidate for the anticipated head coach opening.

In June, the New Orleans Pelicans announced that Weatherspoon would no longer be part of the coaching staff, which she first joined in 2019. Previously, Weatherspoon served as an assistant coach for the New York Liberty, where she played seven of eight WNBA seasons, and as head coach for Louisiana Tech, her alma mater.

A coaching change for Fenerbahçe

On the overseas front, EuroLeague champion Fenerbahçe has moved on from head coach Marina Maljkovic. Malijkovic took over Fenerbahçe in 2022.

Fenerbahçe’s 2023 EuroLeague-winning roster included WNBA stars Breanna Stewart, Satou Sabally, Courtney Vandersloot, Kayla McBride and Kiah Stokes, as well as former WNBA standout Emma Meeseman.

A stacked six-team field for the Jimmy V Women’s Classic

For the first time, the Jimmy V Women’s Classic will be a triple-header. On Sunday, December 3, the action will begin with Duke hosting South Carolina at 1 p.m. ET on ABC. At 3 p.m. ET on ABC, UConn and Texas will meet in Austin. The day concludes on Rocky Top with Tennessee and Ohio State at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.