Week 3 in the WNBA with Arizona women’s basketball graduate Ari MacDonald and Sam Thomas

The WNBA The season is in full swing and Arizona’s graduate teams are polar opposites. Ari MacDonald And Atlanta Dream 4-2 after ending last season 8-24. while, Sam Thomas He is a member of a team that finished 19-13 and went to the WNBA Finals in 2021. Initially, Phoenix Mercury was 2-4 and had overall drama among its stars.

Ari MacDonald and the Atlanta Dream

The Dream played two matches in the third week of the event. Aari McDonald’s best showing was against Indiana Fever on May 17th. Dream destroyed Fever 101-79 and MacDonald had a huge impact.

The diminutive base led the team with six rebounds. This should come as no surprise to Arizona fans. MacDonald was the second-largest player in the Wildcats for the three years I played in Tucson.

After two double-digit games the previous week, MacDonald scored nine on a 4-of-9 shootout but only connected to one of her six 3-pointers in Tuesday’s game. Six rebounds and nine points were collected with four assists and a steal.

There are a lot of positives in McDonald’s second season, but she’s still getting used to the speed of the pro game after picking up irregular minutes during her rookie year. This can be seen in her control of the ball.

Still had problems with rotation. Against a fever, she matched her four passes with four gifts. All in all, it gave her one of the lowest plus-minus (+7) on the team at 28.5 minutes on the floor.

The second game wasn’t great for MacDonald or the dream. It wasn’t her worst period of the season, but she didn’t shine as much as on her last outing. The sophomore played just over 20 minutes and again had issues with contact from distance, missing all three shots she took against the Washington Mystics.

Last week’s 1v9 outsider performance wasn’t that great, but MacDonald still shot well from a 3-point distance into the youth season. It raised my 3-point field goal percentage to 36 percent early on. Last year, it launched 30.8 percent from overseas.

It also raised its attempts from abroad. MacDonald has a 1.5 out of 4.2 3PA this season. Last year I only got 3.5 and hit 1.1 of those.

The dream has two games in the fourth week. They will travel to play the Washington Mystics on Tuesday, May 24 for their second game in a row against Team DC.

One Arizona fan on their calendar will be Sun. , May 29. McDonald and the Dream will return to Atlanta to host Sam Thomas’ Phoenix Mercury.

Sam Thomas and Phoenix Mercury

Thomas joined a team that had just been in the WNBA Finals but was in for a change. Despite advancing to the cusp of a title, Phoenix fired Mercury Coach for a long time Sandy Brundillo and its staff (including the Arizona graduate Julie Hergrove) after last season. They brought in a coach in the first year Vanessa Nygaard Who was definitely an employee out of the box.

Nygaard has five years of experience as a college assistant and two years of experience as a WNBA assistant. Her only coaching experience was Winward School, a private high school in the Los Angeles area with 625 students studying in grades seven through twelve. She went straight from high school coaching to coaching a WNBA team with big personalities.

It was a very successful high school program, and Nygaard said it was the only place he wanted to give her the chance to run her own program. However, it was a huge leap from a small high school to one of the most successful WNBA franchises in the history of the league.

Perhaps the change helped Thomas secure her place on the list. Coach Nygaard and Arizona Adia Barnes They know each other since their high school playing days. Thomas made a good impression on Nygaard which eventually led to an extremely rare spot on the beginner’s list.

During her introductory press conference, Phoenix General Manager Jim Pitman stressed several times that he brought Nygaard in because he felt it would bring “accountability” to the organization. Why did he feel they needed it was open to question, but a radio station in the Phoenix area Arizona Sports reported 98.7 FM That star Mercury Diana Taurasi Lyngaard says she needs “help us tighten the screws”.

Nygaard has been tasked with incorporating off-season high-profile signatures such as Tina Charles With Mercury stars like Taurasi. They must also work to avoid arrest and detention Britney Greiner In Russia. Now that the season has begun, it appears Phoenix still has accountability and scrutiny loopholes.

On May 17, the star of Taurasi and his teammate Skylar Diggins Smith I got into a sharp disagreement of opinions on the sidelines. At that time, the team led the Las Vegas ace with six points. They went for a loss by 12.

Diggins-Smith has not played since. She has been out for the past two games due to what Mercury’s injury reports are calling a “non-COVID illness.” Nygaard simply said that the quarrel was a typical thing that sometimes happened between rival people.

On the field, Mercury went 0-3 last week. In addition to Tuesday night’s loss to the Aces, they lost to the Dallas Wings by 10 and closed the week with a 100-80 loss that gave Vegas a season streak between the two teams.

Thomas returns to her hometown of Las Vegas twice over the course of the week. It was the height of a tough week, but tough weeks are to be expected. It’s not like Thomas didn’t play for a college team that won just six games in her first season.

Thomas played about 90 seconds in each of the first week’s games. In the Saturday, May 21 game, she had less than six minutes of play and netted her first WNBA block.

Like her former Arizona teammate, Thomas learns what it means to be a professional. The challenges may be different than they are in college, but everything has its challenges.

For the team, the challenges are the games ahead. fourth week Includes two games on the way. On Wednesday, May 25, Mercury travels to Los Angeles to play Sparks. Then, on Sunday, May 29, it was the first big game for Arizona fans: Phoenix in Atlanta.