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🏅Next thing you know, I’m big in Japan

February 10, 2020
Next thing you know, I’m big in Japan

The GIST: Over the weekend, our US women’s national soccer team (USWNT) became the second women’s team to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and TBH, we can’t say we’re surprised.

Explain, please!: You got it. First, our USWNT clinched a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics by winning their semifinal match 4–0 over Mexico, in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament (reminder: the top two teams in the tournament qualify for Tokyo 2020).

  • That set the stage for the CONCACAF final yesterday, and we were treated to our favorite thing ever: a Canada-USA final. We haven’t lost to Canada since 2001 (!!!) and kept our streak going, beating Canada 3–0...because of course we did. And to put the cherry on top, our star striker, Christen Press, took home the Golden Ball for the best player in the tournament.

And what other team earned a ticket?: Our women’s basketball team. Team USA clinched their Tokyo 2020 Olympics spot by winning the 2018 FIBA Basketball World Cup. That said, they still played in Serbia in one of the four FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournaments this weekend.

  • Our women won all three games, but we were a little bit shaken that they had to come from behind to win 76–71 over a strong Nigerian team. Too close for comfort.

Let the games begin

February 06, 2020
Let the games begin

The GIST: We’re less than six months away from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. And you know what that means? It’s Olympic qualifier season, baby!

Sweet! Tell me more: Sure thing! Our women’s national soccer team is currently competing in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament and they absolutely dominated in the group stage, winning all three matches and outscoring their opponents 18–0. Having swept their group, they’ll now face Mexico in tomorrow night’s semifinal at 10 p.m. ET.

  • This is a must-win match because the winners of the semis book their trip to Tokyo. Not, not anxiety-inducing. 

You’re telling me. Do we have a good chance to win?: As reigning FIFA World Cup champions, our USWNT is, of course, expected to make it through. *knocks on wood furiously*  

  • In the other semifinal, Canada is taking on Costa Rica, so we might be getting an always-fun Canada-USA final. Can’t. Wait. 

Got it! Anyone else qualifying?: To no one’s surprise, our women’s national basketball team already secured a spot in Tokyo after taking gold in the 2018 Women’s Basketball World Cup. Queens. That said, they’ll still be playing in one of the four FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournaments taking place this weekend. The tournament consists of three games for each team and as a member of Group A, we’ll be taking on Nigeria, Mozambique and host country Serbia in Belgrade.  

Although nothing’s really on the line, we’re still bringing some serious star power: four-time Olympic gold-medalist Sue Bird is being joined by Breanna Stewart who is finally making her return to Team USA after missing a full year with a torn Achilles injury. Guess who’s back, back again. 

🏀Trading places

February 06, 2020
Trading places

The GIST: It’s trading season! And no, we’re not talking about trading stocks. The NBA trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. ET.

Remind me, what’s a trade deadline?: It’s the last time in a season that teams are able to trade players. That said, teams are still allowed to sign free agents.

And why does it exist?: To encourage competition and keep competitive balance among teams before playoffs start in April. By February teams kind of know which teams will likely be in the playoffs (like the Milwaukee Bucks), which teams are on the cusp (like the Memphis Grizzlies), and which teams won’t make it (like the Cleveland Cavaliers). So today, expect some trade activity as playoff-contending teams try to add some top talent for their playoff push.

Got it. Who’s been traded already?: After days of speculation, on Tuesday, the Houston Rockets pulled off a mega-deal involving four (!!!) different teams. Houston moved starter Clint Capela and Nene Hilario to the Atlanta Hawks and Gerald Green to the Denver Nuggets. In return, the Rockets received Robert Covington and Jordan Bell from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

  • The Nuggets also received three other players and the Wolves acquired four, bringing the number of total players traded to 12. Talk about dizzying.

Anyone else?: Former Golden State Warrior turned Memphis Grizzly Andre Iguodala (pronounced EE-GOO-DA-LA) is officially heading to Miami to play with the Heat, with Memphis getting Justise Winslow in exchange. Iguodala hadn’t played for the Grizz all season as he was holding out to be moved to another team.

  • Actually though. The 36-year-old veteran has been living in California (not close to Memphis) and was willing to miss the entire season if he wasn’t traded, which obviously rubbed his teammates (especially star rookie Ja Morant) the wrong way. Drama.

Wow. So what can we expect today?: A new-look NY Knicks squad. Sitting at 13th in the Eastern Conference, look for them to send a couple of players packing in return for some future prospects.

🏈Comeback Kings

February 03, 2020
Comeback Kings

The GIST: For the first time in 50 years, the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31–20 last night in Miami!

Quick, fill me in: It was a pretty close, nail-biting, back-and-forth game that came down to the wire. The San Francisco 49ers held a 10-point, 20–10 lead heading into the fourth quarter (thanks to star running back Raheem Mostert’s touchdown) and looked like they had the win within their grasp. But, as we know, no lead is ever safe.

  • After throwing his first two career postseason interceptions, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes bounced back and led his team to 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to get the win. In every postseason game this season, Kansas City came from behind to win, solidifying Patty as the ultimate comeback kid. There’s truly no give up in this guy.

So, was he the best player last night?: We think so. Mahomes’ heroics made him the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and the NFL MVP award (which he won last season). If that’s not a reason to go to Disney World, then we don’t know what is.

Wow! Anything else?: The real MVP should go to KC’s head coach Andy Reid, who ended the streak of most career wins without a Super Bowl title (at 221, wild) and finally got a well-deserved Gatorade bath after 21 years as an NFL head coach. Doesn’t get any better than that, baby!

🏆Best of the rest

February 03, 2020
Best of the rest

Australian Open: The Super Bowl wasn’t the only championship match played this weekend. The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the tennis season (the others being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open), officially came to a close with two monster matches. In the women’s final on Saturday, 21-year-old American Sofia Kenin beat Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza to win her first-ever Grand Slam title. And get this: it was also the first time Kenin had ever played in a Grand Slam final! From what we saw, it definitely won’t be her last.

  • In yesterday’s men’s final, living legend Novak Djokovic (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH) held off the young gun Dominic Thiem (pronounced TEAM) in a five-set nailbiter to win his record eighth Aussie Open title and 17th (!!!) career Grand Slam. With the come-from-behind win, Djokovic is now World No. 1 and the first man to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades. Cool, no?

Soccer: Team USA is lighting it up at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in Houston, TX. After starting the tournament with an easy win against Haiti, they put on a show on Friday, beating Panama 8–0 in the second of three group-stage matches. Six players made it to the scoresheet, including a hattrick from midfielder Lindsey Horan. Final group stage match is set for tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET.