An eventful Thursday in the college and professional landscape
Mark Davis has purchased the Las Vegas Aces from MGM Resorts. The Aces are already one of the most marketable teams in the WNBA due to their young superstars like MVP A’ja Wilson and budding sports location of Las Vegas.
Davis is the owner of the city’s NFL franchise, the Raiders, and his family will look to bring their long history of success to the Aces. Many WNBA teams have partnerships and similar ownership with NBA squads, but this is the first football/women’s basketball crossover.
The Chicago Sky have extended head coach and general manager James Wade with a four year deal. Wade has made an immediate impact in the windy city, bringing the Sky to the playoffs in his first two seasons after the team struggled following the departure of Elena Delle Donne.
The only knock on the young coaches résumé is postseason success, as Chicago suffered a heartbreaking loss in 2019 and were upset by Connecticut last season.
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In his front office role, Wade’s main priority this offseason will be bringing back center Cheyenne Parker, whereas next year will be the tricky scenario of how to handle the three-headed all-star combo of Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot and Diamond DeShields in free agency.
Virginia has decided to cancel the remainder of its college basketball season after six consecutive postponements due to Covid-19. Led by Tina Thompson, the Cavaliers have struggled to stay healthy and even had to cancel a game since they did not meet the player minimum.
The 2020-21 Virginia team did not manage to win a game before the cancellation, going 0-5 and becoming the second ACC school after Duke to end their campaign early.
Many top 25 teams were in action Thursday night, highlighted by #10 Oregon taking on #11 Arizona in Pac-12 action. The Wildcats defense came to play, forcing 23 turnovers out of the Ducks en route to a 16 point win. Future Pac-12 player of the year Aari McDonald led Arizona with 16 points and 4 steals.
Undefeated Texas A&M went down 17 points early against LSU but fought all the way back to force overtime. The Aggies proceeded to go cold in the extra period and dropped their first contest of the year to the Tigers. LSU has not lost a game at home against A&M since 2014.
Two more ranked squads got upset, with Georgia beating #23 Tennessee 67-66 despite missing two free throws and committing two turnovers in the last 13 seconds. #14 Mississippi State blew an 11-point half time lead to Alabama and ended up losing by eight against their SEC foe.