Weekly sports report for women from May 22nd to 29th
In this October 17, 2021 file photo, Brittney Griner (42) of the Phoenix Mercury is defended by Azurá Stevens (30) of the Chicago Sky during the first half of game four of the WNBA Finals at Wintrust Arena on October 17, 2021 in Chicago , Illinois. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images/TNS)
By Caitlin Phelan
This week saw the start of the Women’s National Basketball Association regular season in the women’s sports world, which has seen numerous records broken by the likes of Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart. We also watched the NCAA Women’s Regional Softball Tournament, which saw many shocking upsets, as well as the promotion of No. 1 Oklahoma to the Super Regionals, which will be held this weekend. In golf, Wake Forest had a stunning victory over USC and won the college’s first-ever NCAA golf title.
The much-anticipated WNBA season got underway this week, and Brittney Griner made her long-awaited return, playing her first official WNBA game in 579 days on Friday, May 19, playing 25 minutes at the 94-71 Defeat of the Phoenix Mercury against the Los Angeles played sparks. Griner recorded 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
The eight-time WNBA All-Star also broke records last Friday when a staggering 683,000 people tuned in to the opening game between Mercury and Sparks, the most-watched WNBA regular-season game on cable in 24 years.
New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart, who joined from the Seattle Storm last season, set a New York Liberty goal record with 45 points on her home debut. The record performance also marked the first time a WNBA player scored 40 or more points in his home debut with a franchise. She also added 12 rebounds, the highest team effort, to earn the double-double in the 90-73 win over the Indiana Fever.
Last Tuesday, May 16, ESPN announced that a Serena Williams docuseries, titled “In the Arena: Serena Williams,” is coming to the network, chronicling her legendary career spanning more than two decades extends. The documentaries will talk about the tennis superstar’s legacy and journey and take an in-depth look at each of her 23 Grand Slam victories.
This week we saw the NCAA women’s regional softball tournament. Sixteen college softball teams remain after an exciting regional weekend, and just eight of those will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City next week.
Current favorite, No. 1 Oklahoma, dominated the Regionals and extended its winning streak to 46 games, down one short of Arizona’s (1996-97) Division I tally.
Wake Forest defeated the University of Southern California on May 24 to capture her first NCAA women’s golf title. Wake Forest’s Lauren Walsh ended her match against Brianna Navarrosa with a par conceded on the 16th hole, and Wake Forest won its first women’s golf championship by defeating USC 3-1 on Wednesday. Wake Forest lost to Duke in the 2019 National Finals and had a school-record five tournament wins that season with a veteran-led team.
This week, Stanford’s Rose Zhang became the first woman to win consecutive NCAA titles. Zhang has won just about everything there is to win in amateur golf. With a perfect performance at the NCAA Championships, the Stanford sophomore has now achieved what no one has done before: win back-to-back national titles. Zhang has also won the 2020 US Women’s Amateur, 2021 US Girls’ Junior and last month the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Maya Ana Callender made history with the NFL’s New England Patriots last week when she became the first woman in the Patriots’ 64-year franchise history to be hired as a full-time scout. She previously served as operations manager at Princeton. Callander is only the second woman to serve on the Patriots’ scouting department, joining longtime administrative director Nancy Meier, who has been with the team since 1975. She was also the first woman to win under Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Belichick.