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Archive for September, 2011
Richard’s (cue the reverb) WNBA Finals Mega-Preview Part 1: The Floor Generals – Whalen vs. Harding
This year’s WNBA Finals feature two of the best – but two rather different – starting point guards. Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen had the superior regular season. Unusually for a point, she’s strong and physical rather than small and quick. She uses her body and her strength to hold players off when she penetrates, and to finish plays at the basket even through contact.
As with all the best point guards, she’s also a game manager, finding the right player at the right time in half court sets. Typically for Minnesota that means feeding Augustus or Moore on the wing for shots in rhythm, but she also knows when her team needs to be focussing on forcing the ball inside or when they need her to create something herself. Along with Augustus and Moore she’s also been part of an exciting three-pronged fastbreak attack this season, all three capable of leading or finishing the break. She led the league in assists this year, but also put up far and away the best shooting numbers of her career (over 50% from the floor, and over 40% from three-point range, the first time she’s managed either of those feats). She’s Cheryl Reeve’s brain on the floor and she’s had an exceptional season.
Mega-Preview (Cue more reverb) Part 2: The Scorers – Augustus vs. McCoughtry
As with the point guards, the leading scorers for this year’s WNBA Finalists are both very effective, but in very different ways. After all her injury troubles, Seimone Augustus has been back to something very close to her best this season for Minnesota. She may not be quite as quick as she once was, but her game was never based around being the fastest player on the floor. It’s all about that pretty jump shot, and her ability to rise up and hit it at a moment’s notice from anywhere on the floor. For someone who takes the vast majority of her shots from mid-range or deeper, shooting over 50% from the floor this season is a remarkable achievement. She was also over 40% from three-point range, a number that McCoughtry probably doesn’t even reach in her dreams. Much of Minnesota’s offense revolves around running Augustus off baseline cuts and multiple screens to create shooting opportunities for her, and with accuracy like that you can see why. She’s simply one of the greatest shooters the women’s game has ever seen.
This has been one of the best WNBA seasons ever when it comes to the product on the floor every night, and there’s no reason to expect the Finals to be any different. I don’t expect Minnesota to try to outslug the Dream as Connecticut and Indiana tried to do (and pretty much had to do).
Hopefully, both teams will focus on running and shooting, and we’ll get a high-scoring, highly entertainingconclusion to an outstanding WNBA summer. Set your DVRs now…
Big Syl is pondering how the WNBA award is a family honor
The AP’s Paul Newberry is suggesting that while Atlanta mopes, they should look to the Dream to provide ray of hope
The Braves blew it. The Falcons are struggling. The Thrashers are gone. The Hawks? Who knows when they’ll play another game.
Well, cheer up Atlanta.
There’s still the Dream.
Brittney Griner (Baylor University) led all scorers with 15 points; Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) and Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun) added 12 points apiece; Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty) scored 11; while Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars) chipped in eight and seven points, respectively.
This is going to be a competitive series with the players going at each other at the highest level.
But the point is these WNBA Finals are everything the NBA is not.
We see incredibly balanced scoring and deft passing and fewer one-on-one isolations that many criticize the NBA for. These are not players playing for greed or just showing up for a paycheck. Many of them play year-round in Europe during the WNBA’s offseason and many get paid more for those efforts than they do in the WNBA. Playing in the WNBA is purely for the competition of playing in the best overall league in the world.
What everyone complains about players in the NBA, these players seem to defy.
Michelle and Mechelle lay out The best of the WNBA’s best
As the WNBA celebrates its 15th anniversary and closes in on crowning its 15th champion, we debate how the 14 former champions stack up. And of course, SportsNation wants you to rank the teams, too.
Pat Borzi writes: Jessica Adair, Candice Wiggins bring punch
One dances after Minnesota Lynx home victories, the other walks to the locker room. One is a former Wade Trophy winner and first-round pick, the other a third-rounder from a small school in Washington, D.C., who was cut at her first two WNBA training camps.
Guard Candice Wiggins brings flash and a Stanford pedigree to the Minnesota Lynx, while center/forward Jessica Adair showed up at training camp as an unknown just hoping to earn a uniform. Both have turned into productive bench players for the Lynx and are possible X factors in the WNBA Finals (versus the Atlanta Dream) that begin Sunday at the Target Center.