DURHAM, N.C. – As the month of June comes to a close, Duke alumnae continue to make headlines across the WNBA’s midseason action. Each week, GoDuke.com will update how the Blue Devils are faring in the professional ranks --
The Los Angeles Sparks (Alana Beard, Chelsea Gray) continued its high level of play this past week, winning two out of three to remain atop the WNBA standings. With an 11-3 record, the Sparks are followed by the fourth place Washington Mystics (Monique Currie, Krystal Thomas) at 9-5. Entering Thursday at 9-6, the Connecticut Sun (Jasmine Thomas, Lexie Brown) occupy fifth place. With identical 7-7 records, the Dallas Wings (Karima Christmas-Kelly) and Atlanta Dream (Elizabeth Williams) reside in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Gray Sets Career Mark
Chelsea Gray is coming off one of her best weeks of the season so far, highlighted by a career-high 11 assists on June 24 against the Liberty. In the win, she also recorded seven points, three rebounds, and one steal. On June 26, Gray followed up the big game with 23 points in another victory, this time versus the Wings. She chipped in two steals in the effort as well.
Another milestone for @cgray209!🏀💪 Last night Chelsea had a career high 11 assists in the victory over the Liberty. Let’s congratulate her & get her to the All-Star Game!🙌 #WNBAVOTE @LA_Sparks #GoSparks #All4LA pic.twitter.com/jB0Fmo5Gh2— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) June 25, 2018
Currie Thriving in New Role
Since being shifted out of the starting line-up earlier in the season, Monique Currie has taken off as a bench player for the Mystics. In a full team victory against the Sky on June 22, Currie scored 11 points, shooting four-of-five from the floor. With 10 different players scoring for the Mystics, Currie was the third leading scorer for the winning side. When the Mystics topped the Suns on June 26, Currie contributed another six points, two rebounds, and two steals.
Beard Doing Her Part
Although she may not be posting eye-popping stats similar to some of her peers, Alana Beard has been a huge part of the first place Sparks’ success this season. In June 24’s win over the Liberty, Beard tallied seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. In the Sparks’ win over the Wings two days later, she scored six points to go along with five rebounds, two assists, and four steals. In total, Beard ended the week with eight steals to her credit.
Thomas Providing Consistent Results
Over the Sun’s last four games, Jasmine Thomas has managed to score double-digits on three occasions. On June 22 against the Dream, she delivered a 13-point game that included two rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Thomas had it going once again in a June 26 tilt against the Mystics, posting another 13-point game with four rebounds and three assists. Rounding out the week, she added 10 points, four rebounds, six assists, and one steal in a June 27 win over the Fever.
🔥 J 🔥 A 🔥 S 🔥 pic.twitter.com/b5qPSOJQyC— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) June 26, 2018
Williams Keeps Dream Alive
The Dream only had two games this past week, but Elizabeth Williams played a major role in both of them. In a win over the Sun on June 22, Williams was a beast on the boards and finished with 10 rebounds. She also had three points, three assists, two steals, and three blocks. Williams stayed hot on June 27 versus the Sky, finishing with 13 points, six rebounds, and two blocks.
NBA Awards Red Carpet
The NBA Awards Show took place this past week, honoring some of the league’s most notable performances throughout the 2017-18 season. Chelsea Gray made an appearance on the red carpet prior to its start.
Vote for Former Blue Devils!
Voting for the 2018 All-Star Game in Minneapolis is now live. With many Duke alumnae worthy of a spot on the team, follow the links below to show support.
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!
Fresh off an exciting 75-70 win over the Sun the night before, Elizabeth Williams celebrated her 25th birthday on June 23.
Happy Birthday E! 🎉🎈🎁 pic.twitter.com/8ri21M1JPi— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) June 23, 2018
Blue Devils Among League Leaders
After having a huge week in which she stole the rock eight times, Alana Beard has jumped all the way to a tie for second in the league in steals (1.6). Chelsea Gray remains in the top-10 in assists, as her average of 5.9 is good for fourth in the WNBA. Not far behind, Jasmine Thomas ranks sixth in assists with 4.7. Elizabeth Williams has been a defensive force all season long, as her 1.7 blocks rank fourth in the league.
Eight Blue Devils Open on WNBA Rosters
This season, a total of eight Duke alumnae made final roster cuts across five different WNBA teams: Alana Beard (L.A. Sparks), Lexie Brown (Connecticut Sun), Karima Christmas-Kelly (Dallas Wings), Monique Currie (Washington Mystics), Chelsea Gray (L.A. Sparks), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun), Krystal Thomas (Washington Mystics), and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
Duke Sports Second-Most Players in WNBA
With final rosters being trimmed down on May 17, Duke opened the season with eight alumnae playing for WNBA teams. This is the second-most of any school in the NCAA, trailing only UConn, who has 17. The teams of former Duke players are 9-4 through week one.
Games to Watch
The Sparks (Beard, Gray) are set to appear on national television twice this upcoming week. Their game against the Storm on June 28 will air on ESPN 2, as will their July 5 battle with the Lynx. In the middle of that span, the Sparks will play host to the Sun (J. Thomas, Brown) in the only contest in the near future featuring Duke alumnae on both sides. On July 5, the Mystics (Currie, K. Thomas) will host the Liberty in a match-up viewable on ESPN 3.
Thursday, June 28 – New York at Washington at 7pm
Thursday, June 28 – Los Angeles at Seattle at 9:30pm (ESPN 2)
Friday, June 29 – Atlanta at Minnesota at 8pm
Friday, June 29 – Los Angeles at Las Vegas at 10:30pm
Saturday, June 30 – Phoenix at Washington at 7:30pm
Sunday, July 1 – Minnesota at Dallas at 4pm
Sunday, July 1 – Las Vegas at Los Angeles at 5pm
Sunday, July 1 – Atlanta at Indiana at 5pm
Sunday, July 1 – Connecticut at Seattle at 7pm
Tuesday, July 3 – Chicago at Dallas at 8pm
Tuesday, July 3 – Connecticut at Los Angeles at 10:30pm
Thursday, July 5 – New York at Washington at 7pm (ESPN 3)
Thursday, July 5 – Indiana at Dallas at 8pm (ESPN 3)
Thursday, July 5 – Los Angeles at Minnesota at 8pm (ESPN 2)
Thursday, July 5 – Connecticut at Phoenix at 10pm