Every Monday, The Summitt staff takes 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: Welcome to The Summitt summit! Let’s start with the Lynx. What happened, @mpden? You were there.
Mike Peden: Well, the Sun scored more points than they did :stuck_out_tongue:
Howard: Good point
Mike: Actually, the Sun were more opportunistic off turnovers. Almost every facet of their game was clicking
Howard: Was interesting to me that Lynx didn’t play that poorly, especially offensively
Mike: It’s hard to beat an opponent that shoots 55 percent. Minnesota didn’t play that badly, but they won’t like being out-rebounded by 15
Howard: True. What I wondered: we’ve been talking about what a game-changer Rebekkah Brunson on the perimeter is. Will teams need to force her inside by rebounding like that? And can any team that doesn’t employ Jonquel Jones have a shot at doing so?
Sylvia Fowles is still awfully good at corralling boards herself, as is Maya Moore
But it might be the only path to beating the Lynx
Still, that’s one more path than we saw last week
Mike: Phoenix has Brittney Griner, and we still have a litmus test in Los Angeles that we haven’t seen yet
Howard: Very true. How much Griner has grown in what has been a landmark season will be measured by her matchup with Fowles, who typically outplays her head-to-head. Talked to Fowles about that last week, she said she’d noticed the difference in Griner’s game, too.
Mike: But even the Warriors dropped a few games; it seems a lot of things have to go right in order to score a win against the Lynx. The Sun earned it, no doubt, but the Lynx know what the end game is.
Howard: Speaking of the Mercury, @brendonk14 was there on Friday night to see Diana Taurasi inch closer to history she then made on Sunday. Brendon, you had a terrific Griner piece for us earlier this season. What has impressed you the most about her?
Lindsay Gibbs: yeah — scoring 98 points is a big ask. A lot has to go right. Not exactly a reliable formula.
Brendon Kleen: Griner’s decisiveness has stuck out more than anything. Whether she’s on the block or out at the elbow for a jumper, her trigger is immediate when she’s looking to score. She talked to me early in the season about secondary go-to moves, and she’s developed an up-and-under for exactly that reason.
Howard: Really interesting, Brendon. That Fowles-Griner matchup is coming to you 6/30, by the way.
Lindsay, let’s discuss what you saw on Sunday. The Wings looked to me like the Sun last year—young, lots of talent, a year away from putting it all together. But that win in DC is no joke. What are your thoughts on the Wings?
Lindsay: I was really impressed with them, even earlier in the game when it seemed like the Mystics would win by 10 points. They just go hard. Plaisance is an extremely physical rebounder, and in my opinion made the difference — she really rattled the Mystics inside, and could stretch the court as well. She hit some big shots late in the game to secure the win.
Mike: Would you say the Dallas victory helps them turn the proverbial corner?
Howard: I love Plaisance’s game. Can bang, can shoot threes with ease and elegance. Such a next-generation WNBA combo.
Lindsay: Glory Johnson’s ability to attack the basket is just awe-inspiring in person. So efficient. And then Diggins-Smith and Christmas Kelly both moved really well and kept up with the fast pace the Mystics like to use. I was just impressed all around.
Howard: So let me ask you this, Lindsay—akin to Mike’s question. Is Dallas a playoff team this year, you think?
Lindsay: Mike, I think the Wings are going to be a tough out for pretty much any team on any given note — they’re young so there will be some off nights, but if they play with that level of desperation and focus, they could really make some moves later this season. I’d say their 2-6 record in June is going to be the exception, not the rule
I can definitely see them sneaking into the playoffs.
Howard: I checked in, still no movement on Liz Cambage yet, who would be the perfect fit for them (imagine Plaisance as a stretch 4!)
I mean, at this point, Chicago and San Antonio are way back, but teams 5-10 all have either five or six wins, the Wings included
So they are right there, even with a really tough early season schedule, and doing it with five rookies on the roster
They make the playoffs, Fred Williams has to be in the conversation for coach of the year
On the Mystics, do you make much of their struggles, particularly shooting the three? This is a team we figured would crack 40 percent overall from deep. Are they not getting the shots we expected, or just not yet making them?
Lindsay: I think it’s a combination. They really are still trying to figure out how to utilize all their weapons. I think with Tianna and Krystal taking so many of Meesseman’s minutes, there has been more of a focus on getting to the basket, since that’s more their strength. EDD still seems caught between shooting and passing, often.
I just feel like they’re unsettled at the moment on both ends of the floor. I expect when Emma comes back they will finally get back to their identity — overall I still think they’ve gotten through this part of the schedule relatively unscathed.
Howard: Yes, agree Lindsay—Emma Meesseman is a top-ten player in this league. It’s not an easy thing to weather that.
Let’s kick off final thoughts with Andi Cwieka, who we are happy to add to our mix! Andi, welcome: what is the biggest takeaway you had from last week’s action, and/or are most looking forward to this week?
Andi Cwieka: thanks, howard! i think i’m most excited to see how the wings do as well
Lindsay: I’d like to add that even with the Wings playing so well, the Mystics also had plenty of chances to win that game. Kristi Toliver had a wide open three w/ 16 seconds left that she makes 9 times out of 10. And Ivory Latta was 1-for-6. EDD only had 14 points.
Andi: i was following the game against the mystics and i was really inspired by their performance/surprised at how the mystics did
I think that the wings have a lot of potential, like Lindsay was saying, since they have a lot of young talent but haven’t quite gelled yet
I’m glad you added that, Lindsay.
You should always add.
Yes, definitely Andi. Dallas very intriguing. For me, biggest thing this week is seeing Connecticut in person, which I get to do Friday night against the Liberty. Their last three games, they haven’t just won—they crushed Atlanta, crushed New York, and managed to beat the Lynx on the road. Is this the new true performance level? If so, they are not just playoff team, but title contenders!
Other final thoughts?
Mike: When does San Antonio get that first win?
Howard: Could be Wednesday, if Dallas, a young team, has a letdown
Lindsay: Mystics have 4 days off then go to Minnesota to try to get revenge from the embarrassment 10 days ago — going to be very interesting to see how they bounce back. This time they will have EDD, which is a big difference.
Howard: But their rotation is as much a mystery as ever
Lindsay: So I’m excited to see that.
Howard: Yes, same here!
Stars also host Chicago on June 30
That’s big chance
They play 6/25 AT Minnesota
Mike: And the Lynx will be looking to bounce back after a surprising loss (although you could argue ANY loss is surprising with that team)
Going to be quite a week as usual in the WNBA. Thanks for the talk, everybody!