The 2021 WNBA season started with a pair of buzzer-beaters on opening night and hasn’t slowed down much since. This summer has been really damn competitive with 12 games out of 51 total being decided by three points or less, including six buzzer-beaters not even a month into the season!
As Jasmine Brown said, this league is becoming the Women’s National Buzzer-beater Association!
So let’s rank and re-live all the most heart-breaking/spirit-lifting daggers of the early summer.
1. Kia Nurse’s euro-step, halfcourt winner
KIA NURSE WILD GAME-WINNER FROM THE LOGO 🚨
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 2, 2021
Yeah this is just straight up wild. Nurse really sprinted in the final few seconds after securing the rebound and casually hit Courtney Vandersloot with a move at the halfcourt spot that you’d usually see inside 10 feet from the rim.
Her shooting touch on this launch is impeccable, too. You’d expect that chuck to launch off the backboard at the speed she was running, but she was so smooth on the release that the rim treated it like a free-throw.
This is the kind of shot that, in real-time, wakes up neighbors of fans. Screaming from the couch is a must.
2. Jewell Loyd’s launch with .8 seconds left
JEWELL. LOYD. DID. THAT. #StormWins@jewellloyd x #TakeCover pic.twitter.com/66PyaeSjUe
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) June 5, 2021
This is Loyd’s season among a stacked lineup that includes the legendary Sue Bird and former MVP Breanna Stewart. Opponents better start treating her as a top scoring threat or they’ll continue to get burned.
Watch the attention Bird gets as she runs off a Loyd screen, dragging a second defender away from the elite 3-point shooter. That was a mistake that Satou Sabally didn’t have enough time to cover for as Loyd cut to the top of the arc and turned in one swift motion to hoist the game-winner.
I mean, damn, look how quickly she was able to plant her feet and square up. She had time to spare!
3. Arike Ogunbowale’s eight unanswered points including a step-back 3-pointer with .7 seconds left
R U KIDDING ME?!?@Arike_O | #TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/8zGQOdwTEB
— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) June 7, 2021
I could have just done a ranking of all of Ogunbowale’s game-winners at this point, but this one in particular was special because she claimed the entire final two minutes against maybe the best team in the league.
First she hit a pair of free throws, then a 26-footer, and then this 28-foot shot. Ogunbowale’s confidence is through the roof as it should be, and she may be the most clutch basketball player on the planet.
4. Sabrina Ionescu’s fadeaway 3-pointer in her first game back from a Grade 3 ankle sprain
SABRINA FOR THE WIN. ICE COLD ❄️ pic.twitter.com/XEHFXemqGv
— ESPN (@espn) May 15, 2021
Ionescu played all of three games in her rookie season due to the injury and she came back on opening night one season later and just… hit that? What a ridiculously fun way to start the year off and show the world that she’s back.
5. Diana Taurasi’s game clock malfunction 3-pointer
Diana Taurasi is the truth 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/acEqaLV80o
— Bri Lewerke (@brilewerke) May 15, 2021
Taurasi’s winner was inevitable the second she touched the ball down two points. Kayla McBride’s contest was spot-on but also pointless as the league’s most prolific-ever scorer called game.
Fans who watched this live may remember the drama that came after. The game clock never started after Taurasi caught the ball and referees armed with stopwatches gathered to determine how much time remained. The game was a mess, but the shot was perfect.
6. Courtney Williams’ swish in overtime to beat the Liberty
COURTNEY WILLIAMS. ❄@CourtMWilliams hits the game-winning 3 in OT for the @AtlantaDream ‼#CountIt pic.twitter.com/1X5hLr7P0f
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 29, 2021
The Liberty were one of the hottest teams in the league until Williams’ dagger kick-started their (still ongoing) three-game losing streak. Williams pulled up effortlessly on New York’s very questionable drop coverage.
If this half-court buzzer-beater before the end of third quarter is any proof, this may not be the last game-winner we see from Williams this year.
Courtney Williams: pic.twitter.com/zC3w5kwpKv
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) June 7, 2021