Aces high and above rest of WNBA this year
Las Vegas maintained its domination over the league with an impressive performance in defeating the New York Liberty, 98-81.
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1. Aces high and above rest of WNBA this year
Las Vegas maintained its domination over the league with an impressive performance in defeating the New York Liberty, 98-81, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Steve Carp.
It was billed as the “Battle of the Super Teams,” the showdown from the off-season arms race for supremacy in the WNBA.
The New York Liberty brought in Brianna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot and Jonquel Jones to join Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney. The Las Vegas Aces, who were already loaded, brought seven-time all-star Candace Parker on board.
Fans had circled the date of June 29 the moment the league released its 2023 schedule back in late November. More than a quarter-way into the season, the date arrived Thursday and the anticipation was building, much the way the hype for a championship fight might.
It was close for a while. But a dominant third quarter sparked by an early 11-0 run settled things as the Aces kept Stewart in check and Parker decided to have her best game of the season with 15 points to help Las Vegas improve to 14-1 with a savage 98-81 beatdown that was worse than the final score indicated. Las Vegas shot 58 percent from the floor, had five players score in double figures, led by as many as 27 in the fourth quarter and made a very good Liberty team look very average.
2. Christen Press’ influence reaches beyond soccer
Angel City’s Christen Press is uplifting women's soccer in the business world as well, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Kamran Nia.
Growing up, Christen Press believed her value was attached to her play on the soccer field. And that put tremendous pressure on her. Standards for women’s soccer were far from where they are today, and there was no professional league. She did not know that value for a women's soccer player could involve their off-the-field success.
“Growing up, I felt this pressure to be successful,” said Press during a panel on Thursday. “I was raised in an environment where I believed that my worth was tied to the performance, and that was an incredibly difficult environment.”
However, as women’s soccer evolved, so did Press’ understanding of the game. Fast forward to 2015, Press was playing in the NWSL for the Chicago Red Stars and represented the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) on the biggest stage, the World Cup.
Then, Press and the United States won the 2015 World Cup, and the NWSL clubs chose to continue to their fourth year, the first time a women’s soccer league in the United States made it past the third year. The popularity surrounding the sport was rising, sparking a push for increased standards.
3. Ducks opt for bulk and upside on Day 2 of 2023 NHL Draft
The Anaheim Ducks targeted size and upside on Day 2 of the 2023 NHL Draft, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Derek Lee.
Day 2 of the draft certainly didn’t come with as much fanfare for the Ducks as Day 1 but they did enter the second day armed with eight picks and three in the second round alone, including consecutive picks at 59th and 60th overall.
With their first pick of the day at 33rd overall, they selected forward Nico Myatovic from the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL. Myatovic had 60 points in 68 games for the Thunderbirds this past season, a large step up from his 2021-22 season, in which he scored 28 points in 67 games. Not only did he improve his offensive game, but he also stepped up on the defensive end as well, becoming an integral cog in Seattle’s penalty kill.
4. Angels lose two straight to split White Sox series
The Angels drop two straight to the Chicago White Sox at home despite a stellar performance from Shohei Ohtani, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Joey Linn.
There is no way to be hyperbolic when discussing Shohei Ohtani's greatness, because what he is doing is simply beyond words. Hitting two homers and striking out 10 in the series opener, Ohtani carried the Angels to another victory while raising his league-leading OPS and home run total.
While the Angels as a team struggled in the final two games of this series, Ohtani left the yard again on Thursday afternoon, setting an Angels franchise record with his 14th homer run of the month. After the game, Trout said what Ohtani is doing is unlike anything he has ever seen before.
5. Why Lakers believe continuity, youth can fuel title run
The Lakers don’t appear inclined to chase a third star once free agency begins on Friday, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Mark Medina.
The Lakers have the same mission statement.
“We have one singular goal – that’s to add the 18th banner,” said Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, on Tuesday at the Lakers’ practice facility. “That’s our focus. At the end of the next couple of days, we’re going to do all that we can to maximize that opportunity.”
After advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in three years, the Lakers will likely fulfill that mission statement much differently for a franchise that always thrived on star power.
Unlike in past seasons, the Lakers don’t appear inclined to chase a third star once free agency begins on Friday (3 pm PT). Instead, the Lakers plan to build around LeBron James and Anthony Davis by retaining two restricted free agents (Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura) and staying flexible with several others (D’Angelo Russell, Lonnie Walker IV, Dennis Schroder, Troy Brown Jr.).
6. Dodgers offensive outburst leads to huge 14-3 victory
An offensive outburst by the newly named All-Stars translates to a comfortable victory in Denver, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Grant Mona.
Shortly before the game it was announced that Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and J.D. Martinez were all headed to the All-Star Game in Seattle as starters. Thursday night they proved why. Mookie Betts went 2-2 with three runs scored, Freddie Freeman went 2-3 with 3 RBIs, and J.D. Martinez went 4-6 with 4 RBIs. There’s a reason the offense has been keeping the Dodgers in games lately, and these three are deservingly going to represent the Dodgers in Seattle on July 11.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today.
6:30 p.m. – Diamondbacks at Angels – $14
9. On the Air presented by The D Las Vegas
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today.
2:10 p.m. – Padres at Reds – Bally Sports San Diego
5:00 p.m. – Sparks at Sky – Ion
5:00 p.m. – Dodgers at Royals – SportsNet LA
6:30 p.m. – Diamondbacks at Angels – Apple TV
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Brandon Deutsch and Armani Buckets to talk about Russell Westbook and where he will end up this summer. Does he stay in Los Angeles and return to a Clippers team that embraced him and or does he chase one last payday somewhere else?
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Bet in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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