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🏀The GIST's Bits & Bites: USA

February 11, 2021
Source: NBAE via Getty Images
Source: NBAE via Getty Images

🏀WNBA: Here’s a live look at us trying to keep up with yesterday’s league-altering trades. We’ll start here: three-time WNBA champion Natasha Howard was traded from the Seattle Storm to the New York Liberty and will join forces with 2020 No. 1 draft pick Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced YO-NESS-COO), making the Liberty instant playoff contenders.

  • Meanwhile, former UConn stars Kia Nurse and Megan Walker were traded from the Liberty to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for draft picks. With UConn alumni Diana Taurasi returning for her 17th season, watch out.
  • And in non-trade news, two-time WNBA champion Renee Montgomery is retiring after 11 seasons. Montgomery opted out of the 2020 season to focus on social justice and will keep up the fight alongside her work in sports media. 

🎓🏀College basketball: Hoops fans, rejoice. There had been rumors of a bubble for the women’s March Madness tournament, and the NCAA made things official last Friday, announcing that the entire tournament will be held in San Antonio and the surrounding region. Swish.

  • And if the tournament is going to be anything like the No. 2 UConn Huskies’ overtime win over the No. 1 South Carolina, in front of a record-setting 461,000 viewers (a number that well exceeded the men’s hoops game that followed), then we’re in for a treat. 
🏈🏐

Philadelphia: No guts no glory

February 11, 2021
Source: PennStateVball / Twitter.com
Source: PennStateVball / Twitter.com

🏈Eagles: ICYMI, QB Carson Wentz wants out of Philly, and his most likely landing spots are the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts. Da 8-8 Bears struggled at QB last season, flip-flopping all year between ex-Eagle Nick Foles and Chicagoland frenemy Mitch Trubisky, and the Colts’ Philip Rivers retired after the season. 

  • The problem? Between the injuries, the interceptions, and the drama, Wentz is undervalued by prospective teams, and the Birds aren’t willing to budge on the price. Know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, Eags. 

🏐Lions: The Penn State volleyball team finally kicked off their season last weekend, taking down the University of Illinois Fighting Illini in two straight matches, 3–1 and 3–2. Freshman Annie Fitzpatrick wasted no time in her collegiate debut, notching 30 kills and 26 digs on the weekend. Get you a girl who can do both. 

  • Now, in a battle of the undefeated, the No. 8 Nittany Lions will duke it out with the No. 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday and Sunday. We are!
🏀🏈🏒

D.C.: To all the teams we’ve loved before

February 11, 2021
Source: Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports
Source: Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

🏈Washington Football Team (WFT): The WFT made a QB signing...it just wasn’t exactly the big splash we hoped for. Playoff legend Taylor Heinicke (pronounced HIGH-NUH-KEY) will stay in the District, signing a two-year deal yesterday. That said, we think he’ll still be a backup.

  • As for starters, with Alex Smith’s uncertain return, Kyle Allen not yet re-signed and injury concerns for both, WFT’s QB situation remains in flux. After losing out on the Matt Stafford sweepstakes last month, the team is still exploring their options.

🏀Wizards: The Wizards couldn’t defy gravity, falling to the Toronto Raptors 137–114 yesterday. Despite the loss, we’re choosing to find joy in the little things. 

  • Little things like, although he didn’t get to match up against his countryman, Rui Hachimura threw down a nice dunk. And rookie Deni Avdija impressed us with this sweet one-handed pass. The kids are alright.

🏒Capitals: If you were wondering when the Caps play next, well, they’re on a break. Three Caps’ games were postponed this week but they’re scheduled to return to the ice on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. On the bright side, no Caps appeared on the COVID-19 protocol list. Knock on wood.

🏀Chicago: Time to fly now

February 11, 2021
Source: Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern
Source: Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Women’s: The Northwestern Wildcats have won three straight games — including a decisive victory over the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes last week — heading into today’s matchup against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Wildcat Guards Veronica Burton and Lindsay Pulliam have led the team to their No. 21 ranking, and we expect another big win from them today. 

  • While Northwestern is the defending conference champion, the ’Cats will most likely be coming into the Big Ten tournament as the underdogs this season. Not to worry though, we’re sure Pulliam won’t let her career end without another ring. 

Men’s: Coming off of four straight wins, the U of I Illini jumped up to No. 6 in the national rankings. Guard and Chicago native Ayo Dosunmu (pronounced EYE-O DO-SOO-MOO) scored his first triple-double, leading the team with 21 points in last weekend’s 75–60 victory over the No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers. 

  • The Illini improve with each game, which is great timing ahead of a tough Big Ten tournament in a few weeks. Because their 2020 semifinal game was canceled due to the pandemic, it’s about time to earn that ’ship. 

🏀New York: Bring ’em out

February 11, 2021
Source: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Source: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Liberty: In a series of major moves, the Liberty added two WNBA Champions to the roster yesterday. Forward Natasha Howard and guard Sami Whitcomb are both joining the squad after a combined seven years with the Seattle Storm, and while the Liberty may have lost this year’s top draft pick in the trade, who says we need another No. 1?

  • As part of this deal, the Liberty traded Kia Nurse and Megan Walker to the Phoenix Mercury and Stephanie Talbot to the Storm. The Liberty is betting on experience rather than youth (well, except for Sabrina), and we can’t wait to see what the payout will be. 

Net: The Nets beat the Indiana Pacers 104–94 last night. Without Kevin Durant on the court (he’s expected to return tomorrow), fans were glad to see the Nets play to their full potential. So far, they are 4-8 against teams currently sub-.500 and 11-4 against teams over .500. Guess they like to keep it interesting? 

Knicks: The Knicks, on the other hand, are adjusting to their newest player, Derrick Rose, who was traded from the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. Rose will play his second game with the squad tomorrow when they take on the Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. ET.