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🏒NWHL Postseason Suspended

February 04, 2021
Source: Michelle Jay/NWHL
Source: Michelle Jay/NWHL

The GIST: Just a day before the NWHL postseason was set to begin (and just hours after we sent you a playoff preview!), the league suspended the remainder of the 2021 season. *cries a single tear*

The bad: The super-condensed two-week season was being played in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York. Needless to say, it was too-close quarters for players and staff who had no pre-season quarantine requirements.

  • Unfortunately, after the Metropolitan Riveters withdrew from competition due to multiple COVID-19 cases, the Connecticut Whale followed suit, and with a third team on the verge of withdrawing, the league decided to suspend play.

The good: Aside from some off-ice messes, the NWHL was on a path to success. They hit viewership highs on streaming platform Twitch and were set to become the first women’s pro hockey league to ever air on a national broadcast.

  • The league also successfully introduced a new team, the Toronto Six, and signed a sponsorship deal with Discover, their biggest contract yet.

The future: We’re not totally sure what the NWHL’s next steps are, but our hearts break for the players and staff who put so much of themselves into this season. And still, the state of women’s hockey remains splintered.

  • So in the meantime, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) continues to make big moves: their new partnership with the New York Rangers will bring the Dream Gap Tour to Madison Square Garden on February 28th. Mark your calendar. 
🏀🏈

Dallas: Let’s make a deal

February 04, 2021
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

🏈Cowboys: With two Super Bowl titles to his name, former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson knows a thing or two about winning, and he thinks the Cowboys need Dak Prescott to do it. Johnson was crystal clear about his take on the ongoing negotiations, saying “they need to get him signed.” You heard the man.

  • Will a Cowboys legend speaking out be enough to secure the deal? Or will we be forced to endure yet another dramatic offseason of negotiations? Sources say the Cowboys have yet to even engage in official talks with Dak...make yourself a charcuterie board and settle in.

🏀Mavericks: The Mavericks finally snapped their losing streak in a hard-fought 122–116 win over the Atlanta Hawks last night, with Luka Doncic posting his 11th double-double of the season. Just another day at the office.

Let’s see if the Mavs can string together two consecutive wins when they take on the Golden State Warriors tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT. We know we’ll be in for a show with Steph Curry and Luka facing off. 

🏒NWHL Postseason Suspended

February 04, 2021
Source: Michelle Jay/NWHL
Source: Michelle Jay/NWHL

The GIST: Just a day before the NWHL postseason was set to begin (and just hours after we sent you a playoff preview!), the league suspended the remainder of the 2021 season. *cries a single tear*

The bad: The super-condensed two-week season was being played in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York. Needless to say, it was too-close quarters for players and staff who had no pre-season quarantine requirements.

  • Unfortunately, after the Metropolitan Riveters withdrew from competition due to multiple COVID-19 cases, the Connecticut Whale followed suit, and with a third team on the verge of withdrawing, the league decided to suspend play.

The good: Aside from some off-ice messes, the NWHL was on a path to success. They hit viewership highs on streaming platform Twitch and were set to become the first women’s pro hockey league to ever air on a national broadcast.

  • The league also successfully introduced a new team, the Toronto Six, and signed a sponsorship deal with Discover, their biggest contract yet.

The future: We’re not totally sure what the NWHL’s next steps are, but our hearts break for the players and staff who put so much of themselves into this season. And still, the state of women’s hockey remains splintered.

  • So in the meantime, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) continues to make big moves: their new partnership with the New York Rangers will bring the Dream Gap Tour to Madison Square Garden on February 28th. Mark your calendar.

🏀WNBA Free Agency Starts Today

February 01, 2021
Source: Sports Illustrated
Source: Sports Illustrated

Staying put: The Seattle Storm just aren’t ready to let go of Sue Bird. Since drafting Bird first overall in 2002, the 11-time All-Star has been an integral part of all four of Seattle’s WNBA Championships, and based on what she did during last year’s run, we’re convinced the 40-year-old still has another title left in her. 

  • The LA Sparks will re-sign an All-Star today, too. Nneka Ogwumike (pronounced OH-GWOO-MIH-KAY), who was the league MVP in 2016, met with two other teams before deciding to stay in LA.
  • With stars Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray signing elsewhere, Ogumwike will likely step into the spotlight as the team’s de facto leader. 

Moving on: Joining Ogwumike in LA is the first-ever undrafted All-Star MVP, Erica Wheeler, who spent the last two seasons with the not-so-hot Indiana Fever. Alysha Clark is leaving Seattle in favor of the Washington Mystics, and Kayla McBride is heading to the Minnesota Lynx after seven years in Vegas (and the Aces are sad about it).

On the block: With these big names settled, the focus moves to megastars Natasha Howard of the Storm and the Aces’ Liz Cambage, both “cored” players whose teams have exclusive rights to negotiate a new contract...but the players could still reject the contract and join a new team.  Stay tuned to the W’s Twitter for all the free-agency fun. 

🏀Women's College Basketball: Upsets Mean Movement in the Top 25 Rankings

February 01, 2021
Source: Steve Woltmann/Hartford Courant
Source: Steve Woltmann/Hartford Courant

Undefeated no more: After narrowly avoiding an upset at the hands of unranked Virginia Tech last Sunday, No. 2 NC State saw their luck run out on Thursday, falling 83–71 to the still unranked Hokies in overtime. The win was Virginia Tech’s highest-ranked victory in program history. Yeah, we’d say that calls for celebration.

  • No. 2 NC State did play without their leading scorer, center Elissa Cunane, who’s been in COVID-19 protocol. The good news? Cunane will likely return in time for tonight’s marquee matchup with No. 1 Louisville, tipping off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.

UConn bounce back: In more upset news, No. 3 UConn took their first L of the season on Thursday, falling 90–87 to No. 19 Arkansas. But we’re sure No. 17 DePaul wasn’t too happy about the loss. The Huskies have not lost back-to-back contests since March 1993 (!!!), and they kept up the tradition on Sunday, routing DePaul 100–67.

  • Adding to the excitement, the matchup aired on Fox, marking the first time women’s college basketball has aired on the network. And there’s even more good news: two female analysts, Lisa Byington and Sarah Kustok, called the game. More of this, please.

What to watch: Before tuning in for tonight’s can’t-miss matchup between Louisville and NC State, watch for today’s rankings release to see if this will still be a showdown of the nation’s top two teams. Spoiler alert: we’re thinking Louisville does keep the top spot but NC State falls in the rankings, adding even more drama to this conference rivalry. Bring it on.