The road to Tokyo continues with exhibition matches for Team USA
The worst part of an Olympic season is finally upon us: the nearly two week period with no meaningful basketball games. That being said, there is never a shortage of news across the world of women’s basketball.
We have a fantastic second half of the WNBA season on the horizon in which every team still has a shot at the playoffs, even the Indiana Fever on the heels of a three game winning streak. With international and injured players retuning after the break, the 4-8 spots will be highly contested down the stretch.
All-Star Night Highlights
Three-point contest down to the wire
As Candace Parker expertly analyzed on the sideline, the three-point contest is now synonymous with “the Allie Quigley invitational”. Quigley, with the support of possibly every fan in the building behind her, outlasted a respectable opponent in Jonquel Jones en route to her third contest victory.
Quigley drew a chorus of boos when she mentioned it may be the last time we see her in the three-point competition, and if it is, she went out in style, scoring 28 points in both rounds.
Video Game History
Parker also had a big day, albeit not on the court. Candace became the first WNBA player to be featured on the cover of an NBA 2K video game. It is a monumental accomplishment for not only Parker, but all of women’s basketball in what will be the third year that WNBA players and teams are usable in the game.
This year’s edition will also feature WNBA legends, players who have retired but will still be usable in some fashion, with more details to be announced on the gameplay in the near future.
Team USA vs Team WNBA
From the get go there were two very different atmospheres on the respective benches. Team USA was strictly business, showing up to do their job as the superior team, whereas Team WNBA was having an absolute blast. Between sideline hugs, dancing, and live tweeting, the WNBA All-Stars embraced the novelty of a meaningless game in a perfect, fun-loving way.
That mindset translated to the court as well, where the star of the night was Arike Ogunbowale. The third year Dallas Wings star ran circles around Team USA and shot 50% from beyond the arc, including this side-stepping dagger.
Ogunbowale finished with 26 points and MVP honors in her first All-Star appearance. Jonquel Jones finished with a double-double, and Courtney Williams added 18 points and a crucial late-game block off the bench.
College Hoops Stunner
After a quiet first half of the summer, college news is beginning to trickle in, and it is not good for the University of Florida. While there are no details around what has transpired, sources from The Next have been told that Head Coach Cam Newbauer will be leaving the university.
It is very strange news considering Newbauer just signed a contract extension in June after the best season of his Gators tenure in 2020-21.
This news goes presumably hand in hand with the announcement that Florida’s top scorer Lavender Briggs has entered the transfer portal. The All-SEC second team junior joins a massive list of transfers this season, and will be a huge pickup for any other program.