The Summitt Slack Summit: Sorting out the first weekend in the WNBA

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Nia Coffey
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Nia Coffey /

Every Monday, The Summitt staff will take a few minutes to talk about the latest happenings from around the WNBA. Below, you’ll find the transcript of our discussion, which took place in our Slack room this morning.

Howard Megdal: Good morning, The Summitt staff is here to break down the epic first weekend in WNBA action. Let’s begin with everybody’s predicted leader in scoring for the entire league… Monique Currie.

I had the pleasure of watching her up close in both games this weekend, and what she managed to do with a compromised Stars roster, while playing point guard, well, it was remarkable. Efficient, especially Sunday (on the second half of a back-to-back!), stretching. It was a star turn from a player deserving of one.

Alley Steadham: Coach Vickie Johnson did say she was the Manu Ginobili of the Stars so…. maybe not that out of character!

Blake DuDonis: I don’t know about THAT type of praise, but regardless, she was impressive. Plus, easily won best trash talk of the week

Howard: Yes, true. That was a great Vickie quote yesterday. I mean, she’s not going to be asked to do that as soon as McPlumerson (trademark pending) return. But what fun to see her do it.

Mike Peden: I smell a breath mind endorsement 😉

breath mint*

Alley: And has the greatest resting angry face off all the league— Per Kelsey Plum anyways

Howard: Yes, managing to get into it with Boyd, can’t help but wonder how much that was Mo trying to keep her team in the game.

So I talked to both Kelsey and Moriah this weekend—what struck me in that locker room was the easy, instant camaraderie. I think that is often overrated, but vital for a young team to overachieve.

Really, we’re not going to know much about San Antonio until we see the trio in action, but the extent to which they stayed close on the road this weekend was an encouraging sign.

Alley: I agree. The Stars have no where to go but up- but that chemistry will be vital to any success we see..especially early

Mike: If nothing else, Currie offers San Antonio a degree of depth among the guards, and a veteran anchor who McPlumerson can call upon in a pinch

Blake: Absolutely. For them to have battled and been at least within striking distance against two of the better teams in the league without their big three, you have to give them some props

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 13: Nia Coffey
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 13: Nia Coffey /

Howard: Let’s talk about one of the two teams who defeated them. Ironically, while we’re heaping praise on the losing team Saturday in The Garden, the winning team’s coach called his team out.

So what do we make of what we saw from the Liberty Saturday? They didn’t dominate San Antonio on the boards, a key to their winning the past two seasons, and turnovers weren’t really solved, either. On the other hand, they defended very well, and showed they have no shortage of offensive options, even with Rebecca Allen out with a quad injury for now. Are we worried? One game, right?

Alley: Well, ball movement was very minimal- and that is way out of character for a Bill Laimbeer coached team. One game yes, but hoping to see a big change in their next game for sure.

Blake: For me, they are who I thought they were. They will get the rebounding figured out, and will finish in the top two in the East. I don’t have any real concerns other than if they are good enough to actually make a run.

Also, Tina Charles post moves are a beautiful thing to witness. My goodness.

Howard: They sure are. Tina looks ready to dominate again. I’m with you on this, Blake. But to Alley’s point: they really need Brittany Boyd to properly manage the game. I think Bria Hartley is best as a combo guard, and there’s no Tanisha Wright to use as a safety net.

As for the other team San Antonio played


Howard: My favorite part was talking to Ivory Latta postgame, she said she’d NEVER been that open before

In her life

And that’s the issue. People like Latta are going to get looks like this all season. Meesseman said the same thing.

Lindsay Gibbs: I don’t think any of the Mystics have been — that locker room was downright giddy after the game.

Alley: EDD is by far the most dynamic player in this league. She can play 1-5, and play them well. It is exciting to watch the chemistry build even from afar.

Mike: As long as they don’t overthink about being wide open, their offensive potential is downright scary

Howard: Yes Mike, exactly. Ivory said that was her biggest impediment.

Mike: Toliver could give them a couple of pointers about that with her Los Angeles experience

Lindsay: I was surprised how much everyone wanted to talk about defense after the game, too. While that seems to be their weakness, Tayler Hill couldn’t stop bragging about their defense. She said that was what she was most excited about from the game, the runs when they played stellar defense.

Mike: And let’s not forget that for a team with players that can get to the line (Tayler Hill, for example), Washington has the best free throw shooter in the game. That could be crucial in close games.

Howard: That’s a great sign, Lindsay. Mike Thibault told me he believes for all their offense, they need to be top half of the league defensively to contend for a championship.

Yes, so efficient. It’s part of how Elena Delle Donne scored 24 on 12 field goal attempts.

Lindsay: As Thibault said in press, it’s the core group from last year that is leading that defensive charge right now — TRP, Hill, Natasha Cloud, Meeseman, etc. It’s going to take a while for the new players to find that rhythm.

Alley: I honestly have no doubt Thibault can get them into a contender spot on defense. What is worrisome for me is loosing Meeseman for that period of time as she goes overseas. How deep is their bench?

Lindsay: It’s very deep, just not at center.

ST PAUL, MN – MAY 14: Jessica Breland
ST PAUL, MN – MAY 14: Jessica Breland /

Howard: Speaking of new players, Mike, you were on hand for Minnesota-Chicago Sunday night. What do we make of the ultra-big Chicago lineup in action?

Mike: They have a ton of potential when it comes to rebounds, and that’s without Alaina Coates. Imani Boyette and Jessica Breland spent the first half chasing rebounds, but Chicago had issues finishing put-backs or short-range looks

Howard: They did outrebound the Lynx, 44-39

Mike: Some of that may be opening day jitters; their rebounding edge shrunk a bit as the game went along, but their interior depth could wear down opponents during the season.

Howard: So the tradeoff, then: what was offensive flow like?

Mike: Amber Stocks isn’t shy about her bevy of bigs; she told me that in order for the Sky to contend, they need multiple options up front

Flow? What’s that? Seriously, their absence of Vandersloot was evident

Howard: And Faulkner

Mike: Several unforced turnovers. Errant passes, an eight-second violation, and a costly double-dribble on Breland late in the game.

Alley: It is a lot of pressure to but on Cappie- she can’t do it all

Mike: Hopefully Vandersloot and her high assist-to-turnover ratio can address that problem when she comes back from Turkey.

Alley: Put*

Howard: Yes, Vandersloot quite capable. But a tough job, seeing how all those pieces fit. And for all their size, Sylvia Fowles still dominated inside, it seems.

Mike: Breland told me post-game that they prefer Cappie to be out on the wing, but circumstances dictated otherwise on Sunday.

Howard: Right, precisely.

Mike: Fowles reminded us that leaving her one-on-one is a dangerous thing.

Howard: Seriously. Oh, let’s not miss Tamera Young here, before we get to final thoughts

Best-looking box score in the league as usual

14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block in just under 32 minutes

Mike: In the first half, Fowles penetrated at will. Things got tougher when Chicago doubled her up in the second half, but like the veteran she is, she finds a way to work through it.

Young had a quiet, but effective performance. It might have stood out more had Chicago not committed 24 turnovers.

Howard: True. Okay, we’re running out of time, and didn’t even get to Breanna Stewart’s epic block, WNBA on Twitter Or Kaela Davis’ big breakout debut. So final thoughts everybody?

Mike: Regarding Twitter, reactions I gathered were overwhelmingly positive. And word-of-mouth is a powerful thing.

Alley: Overall, very exciting start to the season, even with key players missing from quite a few teams. I look for McPlumberson to make the San Antonio team we saw this weekend look like a totally different team in the coming games.

Mike: The emoji logo was a nice touch as well

Blake: This Summitt staff had as many offensive rebounds yesterday as the Mercury. What’s that about?

Mike: Speaking of Dallas, 41-17 edge in rebounds? Griner with just two for Phoenix?

Howard: Seriously, Blake. 2 boards in 31 minutes from Brittney Griner will not get it done.

Mike: Phoenix won’t last long if Griner’s not getting after it on the boards.

Howard: Exactly. Even if Diana Taurasi shoots better, and I suspect she will on games that aren’t the day after her wedding.

Blake: Congrats to them on that though. Exciting news and happy for them

Howard: It is! I tweeted out this morning: 104.55 career win shares for them as a couple, best ever.

Beats previous record of 92.8, held by Tamika Catchings and her husband.

My final thought: Morgan Tuck and Jonquel Jones looked amazing. Tuck played nearly 38 minutes and her shot was flawless. She’s going to be a monster at the wing. And Jones grabbed 20 rebounds. She was best in the league in ORebounding percentage last year, and had seven of those Saturday night. The defensive rebounding could push her into the stratosphere as a player.

Mohegan is a fun destination, and not just for slots and Bobby’s Burger Palace.

UNCASVILLE, CT – AUGUST 26: Morgan Tuck /

Mike: My last thought, relating to the ATL/CON game: Atlanta could be more of a contender than expected without McCoughtry. I’m not sure how many share that opinion, but as clutch as Angel can be, she wants the ball…A LOT. The problem is, she’s prone to fits, as we saw last year at the ATL/MIN game. Finding a new source of offense won’t be easy with her on hiatus, but you have a solid floor leader in Clarendon, Damiris Dantas is back, and a burgeoning center in Elizabeth Williams. I can’t say it’s enough to make the playoffs, but they have some talent over there.

Howard: You and Rebecca Lobo are driving the bus on that one. Good company to keep, Mike.

Okay, thank you everybody! Good talk

Mike: Thanks! And I’ll be happy to take any of you to school 😉

Blake: Crash the boards, kids