The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, August 19, 2020

From the parking lot — Must-click women's basketball links — Jordin Canada interview

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From the parking lot

For Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, the ability of Crystal Dangerfield to take long threes wasn’t just an interesting note about her game. It was a prime selling point of it.

“That was one of the most valuable things about Crystal,” Reeve said of the rookie point guard she selected 16th overall in the 2020 draft, yet stands a good chance of winning the Rookie of the Year honors. “At her position, particular for her size, that she’s able to shoot the darn thing. And that makes her special.”

But it is more than just the three-pointer that separates Dangerfield’s game. She is seventeenth in three-point attempts so far this year, so absolutely among the league’s most prolific at the shot. But she is seventh in long threes — that is, attempts from 25-29 feet out.

“That’s a shocking number,” Dangerfield said when I revealed it to her. “I think that was one of the reasons I was brought to the team, but I obviously don’t want to live in that area. Those percentages definitely go up moving closer. But that is one of my strengths and that’s something I want to be able to do not just take the shots but make the shots.”

Her percentage doesn’t actually go down that much — 32.6 overall from three, 29.6 from 25-29 feet out — and it reflects a part of her game that dates back to UConn. Seeing her stretch the floor like that in college is part of why I projected her as a clear WNBA contributor.

It’s indisputably where the league is going, too. Already, 17 players have at least 20 attempts from 25-29 feet out, in half of what is a shortened season. For reference: in 2015, over a FULL season, a total of nine players attempted 20 or more shots from 25-29 feet out.

I have previously written about how the league ought to move the three-point line back once again, a move that will only improve offensive flow. It also reflects the ever-increased skills of this ridiculously talented league. Did you see in there that Breanna Stewart is shooting 48.3 percent from 25-29 feet out? 48.3 percent!

In the meantime, though, teams across the league are taking advantage of the longer threes to create hyper-spacing on the offensive end. The Lynx are actually posting a higher on/off net rating so far this year with Dangerfield than they are with Sylvia Fowles. Small sample size caveat and all that, this is especially important data for a point guard.

So if you find yourself enjoying the WNBA more this year, certainly it is due to the league being bigger, faster, stronger than ever. But don’t overlook the range of the league’s shooters, either.

They can shoot it from the parking lot. And they are.

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This Week in Women’s Basketball

Adia Barnes understands the Pac-12’s delaying decision.

Surprise: Marlene Stollings was like this before Texas Tech, according to some of her Minnesota players.

Candace Parker is always worth hearing.

Mechelle Voepel writes about the experiences of COVID-19 positive players.

Charlotte Carroll has expanded takeaways from UConn media day.

Erica L. Ayala takes a look at Keia Clarke’s vision for the Liberty.

At FiveThirtyEight, I looked at the biggest breakout stars of the #wubble.

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo spoke to Kara Lawson.

Brandon Sudge explores what college football’s delay means for women’s basketball.

Terrific Jacob Mox explainer of WNBA bonuses.

Anne Moody was a ballplayer before she was an activist, Bria Felicien explored.

Was eager to hear Brittany Brewer on Stollings, glad she spoke out.

Ari Chambers interviews the Tea With A and Phee duo!

Brice Paterik’s weekly Wings column focuses on Marina Mabrey.

Alexa Philippou runs down all 16 UConn player performances in the #wubble.

Chantel Jennings gives out her midseason awards.

She also asks the key question of every WNBA team for the second half.

New podcaster Breanna Stewart also plays basketball, I’ve heard.

Really good from Sue Favor on Ezi Magbegor.

Jeff Metcalfe checks in with the Mercury at the midpoint.

Michelle Smith breaks down the MVP field.

Erica L. Ayala writes about the absence of women’s signature shoes.

Christine M. Hopkins has your latest overseas signings, including Liz Cambage!

And Pepper Persley caught up with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

Tweet of the week

Five at The IX: Jordin Canada, Seattle Storm

I spoke to Jordin about a variety of subjects concerning the first-place Seattle Storm. Click on her photo to listen!

PALMETTO, FL- AUGUST 14: Jordin Canada #21 of the Seattle Storm handles the ball during the game against the Dallas Wings on August 14, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. (NBA Content Network)

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon  Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.