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Dearica Hamby puts trust in investigation after traumatic Aces trade

Dearica Hamby has said the Aces “discriminated against” her after she was traded to the Sparks in January. (David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby is processing a lot of emotions: excitement, anger, sadness, fear.

Excitement for her future with the Los Angeles Sparks, anger at the way she was treated by her former team, sadness at having to leave the city and teammates she loves, and fear for the health of her unborn son.

On Wednesday, the 29-year-old spoke to the media for the first time since she was traded and shared her grievances with the Aces in a statement on her Instagram account.

In the post, Hamby claimed she was “lied to, bullied, manipulated and discriminated against” by the Aces organization, and that they were trading her because of her pregnancy.

Hamby was dealt to L.A. on Jan. 21 along with a 2024 first-round pick in exchange for “exclusive negotiating rights” to Amanda Zahui B. and a 2024 second-round pick. The WNBA Players Association announced that it would investigate Hamby’s claims in accordance with the league’s 2020 collective bargaining agreement as well as federal and state laws.

“I’m excited now,” Hamby said of playing in L.A. “Initially there was a lot of sadness, and I was very transparent about the way I was feeling when I spoke to KB (Karen Bryant) and Curt (Miller). It was a little bit up and down, a little triggering at times, but moving forward on the basketball side of things with the Sparks and I’m looking forward to it.”

Hamby didn’t seem to have much ownership over the situation — she said the Sparks were the only team she talked to when the Aces expressed their desire to trade her — but she says she felt instantly supported by the Sparks organization.

“They just kind of wrapped their arms around me,” she said. “During that moment, I was very emotional. I was crying on the phone and I think KB was about to cry on the phone, but I kind of fell in love with that.”

As Hamby comes to terms with leaving Las Vegas, the franchise that drafted her in 2015 when it was still the San Antonio Stars, her main concern is her health. The soon-to-be mother of two says her blood pressure was “through the roof” a few weeks ago.

“I’m dealing with the waves of emotions,” she said. “But I’m trying to remind myself to not be too stressed out. Just trying to remain calm for him (her son), and just make sure he gets here. Then I will deal with the aftermath.”

Hamby announced she was pregnant with a son she plans to name Legend during the Aces championship parade in September. She also has a daughter, 5-year-old Amaya, who was heavily featured in Aces promotional material during her time with the organization.

During the press conference on Wednesday, Hamby addressed her status as a well-known mother in the league and how that influenced her decision to make a public statement about the way the Aces treated her during the trade.

“My relationship with my daughter has been broadcasted, it has been shown to the public,” she said. “So if that can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. I am confident that the people, the person that said these things, did these things will be held accountable.”

Hamby went on to say that she will let the WNBAPA investigation happen before she decides whether to take any legal action of her own.

The two-time Sixth Player of the Year said leaving the Aces is “a hurtful situation,” but that she’s thankful for the fans who have supported her and hopes they will continue to support her former teammates. Two-time WNBA champion Candace Parker cited her own family in her decision to sign with the Aces in free agency this week.

“I know that they are feeling the pain just as much as I am,” she said of Las Vegas fans. “But don’t take it out on the girls. It’s not Candace’s fault, it’s not A’ja or Chelsea’s fault, so continue to support them.

“I’m going to miss them. I know that when I come back to play in Vegas, I will probably cry. It will be a very pivotal moment in my life, but I’m looking forward to meeting the new fans in L.A.”

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

Clark, Martin Square Off in First Pro WNBA Matchup

Kate Martin #20 of the Las Vegas Aces and Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever look on during the game
Things looked a little different Saturday night as the former Iowa teammates went head-to-head in Las Vegas. (Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images)

Former Iowa teammates Caitlin Clark and Kate Martin shared the court once again on Saturday, this time as professionals.

It was Martin’s Aces that got the 99-80 win over Clark’s Fever in Las Vegas. The pair's former coaches Lisa Bluder, Jan Jensen, Jenni Fitzgerald, and Raina Harmon were all in attendance to watch their Hawkeyes — Clark, Martin, and former national player of the year Megan Gustafson — take the court.

"It’s super special. It’s cool for our program, cool for Lisa, for Coach Jan, for all of them," Clark said in a pregame press conference. "They’ve known me since I’ve been 13 years old and now I’m 22 getting to live out my dream and they’ve been a huge part of that and helping me get here and helping Megan and Kate to get here too. It’s a great moment for them and I’m sure they’re not complaining about a trip to Vegas."

As for her college teammate, Clark had nothing but good things to say ahead of the showdown. 

"I’m just really happy for her and everything Coach [Becky] Hammon says about her is so true," she said. "Every person that played at Iowa and was around her knows that to be true. She’s the ultimate teammate, ultimate person, ultimate leader."

In the end, Martin stole the show with 12 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes, while Clark amassed eight points, seven assists, and five rebounds over 29 minutes of playing time. 

"It was weird," Martin admitted after the game. "I'm not going to lie — just looking out on the court and seeing her in a different jersey than me, it was obviously different. But it's really fun. We're both living out our dreams right now."

The Aces next meet the fever on July 2nd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Barcelona Beat Lyon to Win Back-to-Back Champions League Titles

Barcelona's Aitana Bonmatí and Alexia Putellas celebrating after beating Lyon at the 2024 Champions League final
Ballon d'Or winners Aitana Bonmatí and Alexia Putellas helped Barcelona to a second-straight UWCL title on Saturday. (Ramsey Cardy - Sportsfile/UEFA via Getty Images)

Barcelona was crowned champion of the Champions League on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Lyon in Bilbao.

Alexia "La Reina" Putellas, who recently re-signed with Barcelona, came off the bench to score the team's second goal. Fellow Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmatí provided the team’s first. After the game, defender Lucy Bronze said Putellas was nicknamed "the queen" for a reason.

"Alexia is the captain of the team and she's the queen of Barcelona for a reason,"  defender Lucy Bronze told DAZN. "She's got the quality to do that in the last minute of the Champions League final when we were up against it at the end and it just sealed the win for us. It was amazing."

The victory marked Barcelona's first win over Lyon in a UWCL final, having previously gone up against the French side at both the 2019 and 2022 Champions League finals. It's also Barcelona's second Champions League title in a row.

"It's hard to win it once, but to do it back-to-back, Lyon showed how difficult it is and this team has finally done that," Bronze said. "I think we go down in history as one of the best teams in Europe."

This season, the team also secured a quadruple for the first time in club history, having already won Liga F, the Copa de la Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. The win ensures that coach Jonatan Giráldez — who has officially departed the team to join the NWSL's Washington Spirit — leaves Europe a champion.

"It was an incredible game. I am really happy, it's one of the best days of my life for sure," Giráldez told broadcaster DAZN after the game. "We did an amazing job. I am very proud of all of them."

Following the win, Putellas said her team "can't ask for anything else."

"Our objective was to win four out of four," the Spain international told reporters. "We have achieved everything we wanted. Every minute of sacrifice has been worth the effort — and I'd say that not after the game, but before, just entering in the stadium, with all the support we had here, it was worth it."

2024 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Aitana Bonmatí said that the crowd support made it "feel like Camp Nou."

"I am on cloud nine right now," she said. "It is an historic day which we will remember forever."

Sun’s Alyssa Thomas Ejected After Flagrant 2 on Sky Rookie Angel Reese

Angel Reese said there were "no hard feelings" stemming from Alyssa Thomas's flagrant foul. (Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Angel Reese might have gotten knocked down on Saturday, but she got right back up again. 

Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas was ejected from the Sun’s 86-82 win over Chicago following a flagrant foul 2 on Reese — the first of her career. While the two were battling for a rebound, Reese took a clothesline hold around the neck courtesy of Thomas before hitting the ground.

After the game, Reese told reporters that there were "no hard feelings" and she appreciated Thomas for playing her hard beneath the basket.

"I know she purposely probably didn’t do it towards me," Reese said. "But just being able to come out there and just be strong and stand on two feet, it was going to be a tough game and that’s what I’m built for. And my teammates had my back throughout the whole game. So I was prepared for it."

She also didn’t buy into the idea that it was a "Welcome to the WNBA" moment, but thanked Thomas "sending a message" because it helped her get back up and "keep pushing."

"It’s not just because I’m a rookie. I’m a player. I’m a basketball player. They don’t give a damn if I’m a rookie. I mean, I want them to come at me every day. I want them to come at everybody," she added. "I mean, they’re not supposed to be nice to me. I hope y’all know that. They’re not supposed to be nice to me or lay down because I’m Angel Reese or because I’m a rookie."

Reese finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists over 33 minutes.

Barcelona to Face Lyon in Champions League Rematch This Weekend

UEFA Women's Champions League Final"Barcelona FC - Olympique Lyonnais"
Saturday's game will be the third UWCL final meeting for Barcelona and Lyon, having previously gone up against each other in 2019 and 2022. (ANP via Getty Images)

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

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