Your Day in Women’s Basketball, August 3: Sabrina Ionescu to miss one month

Sabrina Ionescu to sit out from Liberty after suffering an ankle sprain

It’s always awfulwhen a promising rookie goes down with an injury. It’s even worse when it’s their third game, and when its this rookie.

On Friday, Sabrina Ionescu turned her ankle, and while many feared the worst, this one month-absence was probably one of the better possible outcomes. We wish her a speedy recovery and knowing Ionescu’s work ethic, who’s to say she doesn’t come back even quicker.

Without Ionescu, and despite the loss, the Liberty showed some promise over the weekend. The rookie group put up 64% of New York’s points just two nights after Ionescu put up 61% of it (by herself). That’s a big step if you ask me. Ionescu will have work to do once she gets back, but she’ll be under the microscope when the time comes.

The Liberty have a heavy national TV schedule, which is not a great look for the league unless you enjoy watching a young team get pummeled. Phoenix seems to enjoy that. Oh well.

If you had the Sun and Liberty as the only two teams to start 0-4, come and collect your prize!

Simply put, Curt Miller’s squad is a work-in-progress, taking a big step back this year without Jonquel Jones. The team isn’t a complete loss like the Liberty, though.

DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas have carried much of the Sun’s offense thus far, but they’ll need more production down the end of the rotation. This team is tired, and Curt Miller isn’t going to lessen his stars’ minutes any time soon. The Sun fell to the Lynx over the weekend for that very reason. Best of luck to the legs and lungs of everyone in that rotation.

Four 3-1 teams sit atop the league at the moment, the antithesis of the Sun and Liberty: the Chicago Sky, Washington Mystics, Minnesota Lynx, and Seattle Storm.

On Friday, the Washington Mystics proved they were LEGIT-legit when they defeated the championship-favorite Seattle Storm. Coach Thibault’s offensive firepower was too much for the Storm’s cold shooting to overcome, and the Mystics everybody-eats offense once again shone brightly.

But their undefeated record didn’t last much longer. In the weekend’s most exciting game, the Sky (who seem to make every single game exciting) defeated the Mystics thanks to a last-minute pair of buckets by Cheyenne Parker.

It didn’t look possible, but it turns out the Mystics are capable of losing! Alas! Just more fuel in the fire for Aerial Powers.

“I mean, we’ve heard Chicago celebrating and I think that’s kind of what we needed, kind of a slap in the face,” Powers said. “They should be celebrating beating us. We’re a really good team, and, like I said, we beat ourselves.”

The Mystics aren’t the only team looking to bounce back. The Los Angeles Sparks, who many picked to make the WNBA Finals, have dropped two close games thanks to poor first-half performances.

“We talked about it, but talking is one thing, we got to go out there and do it,” Candace Parker said. “Our second unit is coming in, the Chicago game, this game, the Connecticut game even, and doing a good job of bringing us back but then we exert all our effort getting back in the game and I don’t know if we have enough to get over the hump.”

And wow, does that bench unit shine. Just look at Seimone Augustus. No really, look at Seimone Augustus.

The Dallas Wings showed lots of growth over its past few games with wins over the Liberty and Indiana Fever. No one really expected the Wings to start with the same record as the Aces, Mercury, and Sparks, but again, this is the type of season we’re having.

The Wings rookies have particularly stood out, as Satou Sabally and Ty Harris are both toward the top of the Rookie of the Year rankings. The Wings may not officially be a contender, but they’ve become something much more important: a League Pass team.

Another surprise 2-2 team: the revamped Atlanta Dream. Despite having a completely overhauled roster, the Dream have found ways to win (sure the wins were over the Wings and Liberty, but a win is a win).

What do we know about this Atlanta squad? We know that 1. Betnijah Laney has arrived. 2. Chennedy Carter still has work to do after her phenomenal first game. 3. Courtney Williams and Glory Johnson need time to improve. Valuable time may not be a luxury they have this season, though.

In NCAA news, 2022 top-recruit Lauren Betts has cut her list of potential schools down to nine. The typical powerhouses (UConn, Stanford, Oregon) without any real surprise dark horses.

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