All Scores

Darian Jenkins on Protests, Progress, and Upcoming NWSL Tournament

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Melbourne Victory forward Darian Jenkins attacking during the round 1 W-League soccer match between Sydney FC Women and Melbourne Victory Women on November 17, 2019 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Darian Jenkins is a forward for OL Reign of the NWSL. Below, she spoke with Just Women’s Sports about the ongoing protests against systemic racism, what allies can do to catalyze change, and her thoughts on the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup. 

What are your reactions to all the events taking place in the last week?

This has been a really long time coming. Obviously, what’s happened to black people in this country has been terrible, and people are finally beginning to protest with us, and to see how wrong all of this is. And it’s not just the murders. People are starting to really reflect and realize that small and big injustices are committed against black Ameircans every day. They’re starting to understand the history of black people in this country. I think it’s great it’s happening, and I’m really proud that I can be part of it.

What should individuals do who want to make more of a difference? 

Every movement needs to have voices behind it, but really the biggest thing is people actually taking action. I know blackout Tuesday had 25 million black squares that were posted, but that’s the lowest, bare minimum of effort you could put into wanting change. Take whatever money you can and donate it to all of these great causes you can find on social media. That’s important. And vote, for your mayors and all the representatives and our president, most importantly.

What would be your message to white allies in America specifically? 

The biggest thing is that non people of color need to take time to educate themselves and those around them. A lot of people of color are very much over trying to explain things and feeling like they’re required to always share their story. There’s plenty of resources for people to go find out how they can help. There’s documentaries to watch and books to read, from Toni Morrison to James Baldwin. Interviews with a lot of people who can very eloquently spell it out and give you a good perspective. Ultimately, I just think everybody needs to really take initiative and put everything that they’re re-tweeting and posting into action.

How does the country move forward and what needs to change?

Well definitely police reform. I feel like that’s the biggest thing. Derek Chauvin had 17 misconduct complaints against him. It’s pretty sad that people are able to go on with their jobs after that. And there needs to be better education on when to use force. When is it ever necessary to knee on somebody’s neck while they’re handcuffed on the ground? Right now, a lot of conversations are opening up. And we need to be able to talk about these difficult things. I know it’s uncomfortable. Believe me, for the people that are the ones getting murdered, it’s extremely uncomfortable. But I think it’s important to ask yourself the tough questions and really reflect.

Shifting topics, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Challenge Cup?

We’re all excited. It’s been a long time coming and we’re happy to be able to get full games under our belt. Everybody’s really looking forward to it and there’s good energy. Everyone’s excited to be back in a team environment, even just to have somebody to pass the ball with. I know I can’t seem to find a cement wall where I won’t get yelled at.

There’s obviously been a lot of change. We’re all just focusing on the day by day and getting prepared, as it’s going to be a pretty heavy schedule once we all report to Utah. Games every three days, less than that for some teams even. The energy is good and everyone’s really looking forward to the tournament, but for now our focus is on the day by day and really just being as well prepared as we can.

Has your team moved into the next phase of group training at this point?

Yes, we have been playing 11 v 11. We are actually in Montana right now. We’re hosting pre-season here actually, because we were originally planning to go to Utah but they ended up changing it, just because we weren’t sure if housing was going to work out. We decided to go where it would be a little more calm and quiet and we could very much have our own space and time to go where we weren’t as restricted to go on the field.

How do you feel about playing without fans?

It’s a bummer, because it creates such a good atmosphere, but safety is first, and we want to protect not only ourselves and our staff, but everybody else that supports us. We’re really happy that CBS is streaming our games this year. It’s important to have a really good platform where games are easy to watch. I think streaming is huge for women’s sports in general. We never really get the media attention or any of that. So for us to be the first sport back when I know the world is hungry for sports and entertainment, I think it’s really going to be great for women’s sports. We’re all pretty happy about that.

What do you expect from players and from yourself too, after such a long layoff?

I think we’re all just really excited. Like I said before, I think all of the teams have really good energy and you can see that everybody’s really looking forward to getting back into team training. When we’re able to play in games, we know it’s going to move really quickly and have such a quick turnaround. I think everyone’s just stoked and preparing as well as they can. Because it’s such a short, condensed time, people are really going to bring their A game from the start. It’s going to be really good competition.

USWNT to face Costa Rica in final Olympic send-off

uswnt sophia smith and tierna davidson celebrate at shebeilves cup 2024
The USWNT will play their final pre-Olympic friendly against Costa Rica on July 16th. (Photo by Greg Bartram/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA start to serve as 2024 Olympic tryout

Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with Lin Dunn and Christie Sides during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024
The talented Fever rookie is still in the running for a ticket to this summer's Paris Olympics. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

WNBA teams make history with 2024 season ticket sell-outs

Arike Ogunbowale on the wnba court for the dallas wings
The Dallas Wings are now the third team to sell out their entire season ticket allotment in WNBA history. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

Nelly Korda ties LPGA record with fifth-straight tournament win

Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship
Nelly Korda poses with her trophy after acing her fifth-straight tour title at The Chevron Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.