Trivia:Which of these teams is the only WNBA franchise with less than four WNBA championships?
*Answer at the bottom
WATER COOLER TALK
⛳ JR Smith, the former NBA sharpshooter, is going back to school to get his degree at NC A&T. He also petitioned the NCAA to sort out his athletic eligibility (he went straight from high school to the NBA). What sport is he trying to play? Golf.
🎓 Speaking of NIL, Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei became the first college player with a paid national TV ad. He’ll feature in a new Dr. Pepper Fansville commercial.
🏈 Baylor’s football program avoided sanctions relating to sexual assault issues under coach Art Briles from 2008-2015. Instead, Baylor received a 4-year probation and a slightly reduced number of recruiting visits. This quote sums up the case:
“Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of sexual and interpersonal violence on campus but argued those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA rules. Ultimately, and with tremendous reluctance, this panel agrees.”
Back At It
After a three-week Olympic break (which saw the US women's team take home gold), the 25th WNBA season resumes today. All 12 teams are still alive in the eight-team playoff race.
Who has impressed most this year? As wild as the playoff race will be, the margin of error might be tighter for the individual awards. These are the MVP favorites:
Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm: 20.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.8 apg
A’ja Wilson (reigning MVP), Las Vegas Aces: 19.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.1 apg
Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun: 21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.1 apg
Jonquel Jones is the MVP favorite at +200, which is crazy considering her FIBA European season cut into the start of the WNBA season.
Odd race for Rookie of the Year: Of the 82 rookies drafted, only one has played meaningful minutes (300+) this year.
Michaela Onyenwere, New York Liberty
With the WNBA refusing to letsecond-year phenom Sabrina Ionesco pull a Ben Simmons, expect Onyenwere to run away with this award.
Big picture: Unlike other leagues, the WNBA actually saw a viewership increase of 68% during its 2020 season compared to 2019. The league has continued that momentum into this year. Viewership is up 74% in 2021, averaging 357,000 viewers when on ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
(57-55) New York Mets8vs. (50-63) Washington Nationals 7
The Mets rallied from two three-run deficits to stay in the AL East pennant race.
Washington, who had a team-wide fire sale at the trade deadline, has dropped seven of its last eight.
In the next-point-wins rules of Summer League double overtime, Max Strus sunk a three just seconds after the tip-off to seal the win.
Quote: “It’s a movie about life, it’s about dreams coming true.”
- A-Rod on tonight’s Field of Dreams game.
Highlight:Ernie Johnson, the fantastic NBA commentator for Turner, gave an incredible speech to the Alabama football team. He covered everything from taking risks to being truly thankful, focusing on his adopted son Michael who has muscular dystrophy.