Game 11: Sky-Aces is the WNBA's best active rivalry, Arike Ogunbowale keeps putting the ball in the hoop, Curt Miller rode a bike mid-game, and everything else you need to know.

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Hi, it’s me, Matt.

We’re officially at the halfway point of the WNBA regular season, which is nuts considering we’re not even a month in,,, but welcome to the wubble.

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Here’s Basketball.


Sky-Aces is the best active WNBA rivalry

The last three games played between these teams have been nothing short of ridiculous and amazing. For those who missed it last year, Dearica Hamby hit a wild — and unnecessary given how much time was on the clock. — game-winning three before the buzzer to beat the Sky in a win-or-go-home playoff game. Then, to open up this season, Allie Quigley sunk a game-winning three.

That brings us to Tuesday night, with 16.6 seconds left. The Sky led the Aces by two points and had the ball. Somehow, AGAIN, the Sky fumbled the ball with the win seemingly theirs. Kahleah Copper threw an inbounds pass through Courtney Vandersloots legs, and Kayla McBride scooped it up. She took the ball the other way and was fouled on a layup. She sunk them both. Tie game.

For the Sky’s final possession, head coach James Wade brought out some wizardry. Vandersloot ran off an Azura Stevens screen, then a Stefanie Dolson screen, and hit Stevens on the roll. Easy bucket. She was completely wide open, and the Sky won, 84-82.

Then, Chicago released this incredible Bill Laimbeer haircut meme that I was somehow featured in lmao:

These teams against each other forever, please.

Arike Ogunbowale played her best game of the season

Ogunbowale had a shaky start to the 2020 season. She was scoring at a super high clip, but her efficiency numbers were dipping to what they were before her second-half-of-the-season breakout rookie year. That’s starting to change.

In a 95-89 win over the Mercury, Ogunbowale scored 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting. She was everywhere, draining 6-of-7 threes, and grabbing five boards, three assists and two steals.

Watch out, league.

(Shouts to Marina Mabrey, too, who started for Dallas and scored 17 points.)

Diana Taurasi came back, and looked mobile

Taurasi only missed three games after a lower back/oblique injury that thankfully looked a lot worse than it was. Her team lost to Arike’s on Sunday, but she played 27 minutes and scored 14 points with nine rebounds and five assists. This wasn’t even close to a great game for her. She only made 3-of-10 shots. But she moved well, and didn’t seem to be too bothered by the injury from last week. That’s huge.

The Seattle Storm need a challenge, please

The Storm umm kicked ass on Tuesday, beating the Liberty, 105-64. Breanna Stewart only played 21 minutes and scored 14 points. That’s all the team needed from the likely MVP. And that isn’t uncommon this year.

According to Across the Timeline, the Storm tied the record for total win margin over a two-game stretch, winning by 64 points, and set records for three-, four-, five- and six-game stretches. They’ve won by double digits in their last five straight.

Curt Miller really got on a bike mid-game

Ok so I’ve seen players do this, but not coaches. Curt Miller LMFAO, thank you for always doing the most.

curt miller was really so stressed about missed layups that he got on the bike 💀
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#wnba #connecticut #sun #basketball #hoops #sports #sport
August 19, 2020

According to Alexa Philippou of the Hartford Courant, Miller said after the game, "It definitely helped. I needed to take my mind off some of the missed layups & get back level to knowing that we were playing a heck of a defensive half & that we were going to be ok if we could get those shots through the game."

Angel McCoughtry wore red lipstick to honor Tina Thompson

Amazing.

Diamond DeShields had JOKES

DIAMOND.

Now for the bad.

Victoria Vivians left the bubble to get her knee checked out

After missing the entire 2019 season to a torn ACL, Vivians hasn’t been able to stay healthy in the bubble. She’s played in just six games so far, re-injuring her knee twice. According to Mechelle Voepel of ESPN, Vivians left the bubble to get her knee evaluated by experts and is out indefinitely.

Final scores

Wings 95, Mercury 89

Storm 95, Sun 72

Sky 92, Dream 67

Sun 84, Fever 62

Sky 84, Aces 82

Storm 105, Liberty 64

Additional notes:

  • Chennedy Carter, Sabrina Ionescu, Moriah Jefferson, Stephanie Muvunga, Satou Sabally, Morgan Tuck and Victoria Vivians were all out because of their previous injuries

  • Cheyenne Parker missed Game 11 because of an ankle injury

  • Epiphany Prince returned after leaving the bubble due to personal reasons, and Diana Taurasi returned from a lower back/oblique injury

  • The Mystics waived Shey Peddy and Essence Carson, but plan to re-sign Peddy, per Lindsay Gibbs of Power Plays. The team also signed Stella Johnson to a rest-of-the-season contract.

  • The Sun signed Essence Carson and waived Jackie Gemelos

  • The Las Vegas Aces waived Megan Huff

WNBA standings through 10-to-12 games (it’ll even out eventually)

  1. Storm, 11-1

  2. Aces, 8-3

  3. Sparks, 7-3

  4. Lynx, 7-3

  5. Sky, 8-4

  6. Mercury, 6-5

  7. Sun, 5-7

  8. Wings, 4-7

  9. Fever, 4-7

  10. Mystics, 3-7

  11. Dream, 2-9

  12. Liberty, 1-10

Matt’s MVP rankings:

  1. Breanna Stewart

  2. A’ja Wilson

  3. Candace Parker

  4. Angel McCoughtry

  5. Brittney Griner

Matt’s Rookie of the Year rankings:

  1. Chennedy Carter

  2. Crystal Dangerfield

  3. Satou Sabally

  4. Julie Allemand

  5. Ezi Magbegor

(Here comes the part that is usually only in the paid newsletter.)

Here’s today’s schedule:

Game 1: Atlanta Dream vs. Washington Mystics at 7:00 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
Game 2: Dallas Wings vs. Minnesota Lynx at 9:00 p.m. ET on League Pass
Game 3: Phoenix Mercury vs. Los Angeles Sparks at 10:00 p.m. ET on Twitter

Here’s my picks:

Game 1: The Mystics. Their losing streak is going to end at some point, right? The Dream are without Carter, who is their everything. As long as D.C. can withstand the punches Betnijah Laney and Courtney Williams throw, the Mystics should snap this impossibly long losing streak.
Game 2: The Lynx. Napheesa Collier has played like a top-5 player in her last two games without Sylvia Fowles. I don’t see that slowing down against a young Dallas team.
Game 3: The Sparks. Candace Parker and Riquna Williams are heating up, while Phoenix is coming off a loss to Dallas. Griner might be in for a big game, but the Sparks should be able to contain Syklar Diggins-Smith and Taurasi.

Let’s talk DraftKings:

Guards to pick

Allisha Gray, Dallas Wings ($8,500) - With Sabally and Jefferson out, Gray’s touches have gone up. She’s taken 15 and 14 shots in her last two games. She’s probably the highest-priced guard I’d take. (Ogunbowale is a fine, but risky pick considering her fantasy numbers have been all over the board this year.)

Riquna Williams, Los Angeles Sparks ($7,200) - Williams’ production relies on how well she shoots from range, but she’s been on fire as of late, and Phoenix’s backcourt defense stinks.

Katie Lou Samuelson, Dallas Wings ($6,200) - Another risky pick, but with Jefferson out, Lou is getting a lot more run. She put up a big night against Phoenix on Sunday, and could do the same against Minnesota.

Guards to avoid

Courtney Williams, Atlanta Dream ($9,500) - I don’t love having to trust a guard to pull down half a dozen or so rebounds to make playing her worth the price. Plus, D.C. knows how to handle Williams after seeing her in a five-game Finals last year.

Forwards to pick

Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx ($11,000) - Without Fowles, Collier has become the focus of Minnesota’s offense. Take her and don’t think twice.

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks ($10,400) - Parker should be well-rested after playing 24 or less minutes in the team’s last two double-digit wins. The Mercury don’t have a forward to match her defensively.

Forwards to avoid

Emma Meesseman, Washington Mystics ($10,000) - Meesseman is a great player who doesn’t put up superstar fantasy numbers. She’s way overpriced.

Myisha Hines-Allen, Washington Mystics ($9,100) - D.C.’s offense is too evenly split to trust Hines-Allen getting enough touches.

Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks ($8,600) - Ogwumike is a great real-life player who hasn’t been a great fantasy asset at all this year. The offense runs more through Parker than her, and she’s played reduced minutes since suffering a hamstring injury.

Ok, that’s it from me.

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