Think about all the damage that the Minnesota Lynx can do with their big names. It almost seems like overkill, then, that one of their most productive players in Sunday’s 82-67 WNBA semifinal series-clinching victory over Phoenix is someone they picked up in a trade in February without expecting she’d make this big an impact.
“Sometimes getting lucky is good,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We didn’t necessarily know what we were getting in Natasha Howard.”
And, to be honest, Phoenix has too much talent to be that bad. Wonder if Sandy’s on her way out. Sadly, Penny’s on her way out: Tears for Taylor as she hangs up her sneakers and Penny Taylor’s stellar career comes to an end
The Mercury had used Taylor’s impending retirement as a rallying cry during the postseason, fighting to allow their teammate to play another day. However, as a one-point halftime deficit ballooned in the third quarter of Game 3, it appeared Taylor was the only one on the court for the Mercury who recognized the urgency of the moment. Despite languishing through a poor shooting night herself, the 35-year-old played with the fire of someone who did not want to see her career end, diving on the floor for loose balls and swooping in (as much as the athletically limited Taylor could swoop) for rebound opportunities.
That type of effort was emblematic of the kind of gritty, mentally tough, and fundamentally sound player she had always been.
Give one to the rookie.
Chicago Sky rookie center Imani Boyette had her hands full Sunday afternoon at the Allstate Arena. At any given time, she was guarding, and being guarded by two of the best post players in the WNBA.
Former Naperville Central star Candace Parker, a center for the Los Angeles Sparks, is a two-time league most valuable player. Teammate Nneka Ogwumike, a power forward, is the current MVP.
Yet, Boyette, who is just getting her career started, played as if she was a savvy, decorated veteran in taking on the actual savvy, decorated veterans.
In a gutty, hard-fought game, it was Sloot’s OmigodnNO-Ohitwentin-YEAH moment that sealed the deal for Chicago. They get another shot at LA, but it still not clear if Delle Donne with join’em on the court.
A sure sign of the start of the Syracuse women’s basketball season used to be head coach Quentin Hillsman’s proclamation that the Orange was about to win every single game on its upcoming schedule.
To Hillsman, it was an appropriate expression of confidence in and expectations for his team. If he, and by extension his players, didn’t believe that, then what was the point of playing?
To everyone else on the outside looking in on a program that was improving but that was a long ways from UConn-type perfection, it was cause for a smile.
But it doesn’t seem so funny anymore.