The Minnesota Lynx have played consistent all season long and they really don’t have any weaknesses. They understand how to win on the road and have proven it as well.
The Storm biggest adjustment is learning how to play together sooner rather than later. The Storm are healthy but the chemistry isn’t there. I don’t see them gaining the cohesiveness that they need to win today.Sue Bird didn’t play like she was 100% Friday night and if she isn’t at full speed the Storm might be over.
The Fever did what you aren’t suppose to do and that’s lose that first game at home. Tamika Catchings is one of the greats in the WNBA but every year it seems something goes wrong. Unless she catches a break today I don’t see them making it a series.
Atlanta and Minnesota should advance to the next round but both games will be a battle.
You want see these two smiling tonight.
The Dream beat the Fever last season to advance to the Finals with Tamika Catchings going down with a foot injury. Many believe if Catchings had caught a break the Fever would have advanced.
The Atlanta Dream have advanced to the Finals the last two seasons and both times came up empty. There goal from the beginning of the season was to make it back for a third time and win. They say 3x’s is a charm, but with the firing of Marynell Meadors who put this Eastern Conference Championship team together and Angel McCoughtry being in and out of the line-up there may be some cause for concern.
This preview will be about the biggest star for each team. First Angel McCoughtry is unstoppable on offense. I love her quote “that you can play good defense on someone but you can never take away their aggressiveness.” Angel Wnba Scoring Champ is always aggressive and can get any shot she wants. She has her first Gold Medal but desperately want’s a WNBA title.
Standing in her way in the first round of the playoffs is Tamika Catchings. Tamika has no problem winning Defensive Player of the Year winning it again this year for the fifth time. Although she is happy that her defensive efforts are recognized she would much rather have a WNBA championship. She as well as Angel have felt the disappointing loss in the Finals. They both have been so close yet so far away.
Okay back to the first round I’m getting ahead of myself but this series is all about Catchings and McCoughtry. Will the DPY contain Angel and move on to the next round or will Angel not be denied. Home court advantage may be the added advantage for the Fever and they play well at home. I expect nothing more than an intense rivalry game and two stars fighting for more than a playoff win.
X Factor Atlanta Dream
Erica Desouza didn’t play very well in the Olympics and I haven’t seen her be as dominant as last season. She should take advantage of the inconsistent line-up for the center spot of the Fever. If she dominates the boards and scores on offense she could really help them get a win on the road.
X Factor Indiana Fever
Erlana Larkins played well in Turkey this past season and has continued to play huge in the paint for the Fever. Rebounding wise she is a force to be reckoned with but will have to find a way to give something more on offense in this series.
Shavonte Zellous has improved on hitting her outside shot and has learned when to shoot and when to drive. She is strong and athletic and can get to the paint and has to continue making smart decisions.
With that being said Tamika Defensive Player of the Year will lead her team to a win and defend home-court tonight.
The USA women breeze to another 30pt win against Czech Republic. The Czech Republic as well as Turkey gave USA a competitive run for the first two quarters but unfortunately for them, rather than the game being decided in the first 20 minutes, it takes another half to get the required 40 minutes of basketball. In my last blog I stated how D.O.M.I.N.A.N.T. the women are and in this blog I want to talk about how special they are.
If you follow USA women’s basketball you know that Tara VanDerveer led a Dream Team of her own for the women in the 1996 Olympics. She was able to get 12 of the most talented women to come together and play different colleges as well as around the world one year before the Olympic games. Coach Van Derveer and company set the standard for USA women’s basketball focusing on strength, condition, and 40 minutes of playing on both ends of the floor.
I recall playing against that Dream Team at NC State my sophomore season. I was amazed at how physically strong and talented these women were. I remember Katrina McClain just clobbering my shot and going after every rebound. I remember Teresa Edwards not letting our guards breathe with the ball and how she just made the game look so easy on defense and offense.
My team came out playing the game for fun and playing the game in awe of some of the greatest women ever to play the game. We talked about it after the game and for days afterward about how hard they played. We thought at half-time they would ease up and let us score a little, but they were serious and game ready for 40mins of basketball. They taught us that day that playing basketball was more than a game. Basketball wasn’t 5 mins but 40mins. They set the standard of where women’s basketball was going and how we should learn to play.
I say all of this to say that is why this USA women’s team is so special. They are showing us what the 1996 Gold Medal Women showed us back in Atlanta: Bronze and silver just aren’t good enough. We are suppose to dominate and we do that by playing the entire 40minutes.
In the last three minutes of the game against the Czech Republic USA women are up by 25. Coach Auriemma substituted Asjha Jones, Swin Cash, and Angel McCoughtry into the game and they came in and played like the game had just started. They played the game as if the USA women were losing by 25pts. They hustled, rebounded and went all out on every possesion until the final buzzer. I point out the players towards the end of the game because for most athletes it’s so hard to continue to dominate after you are up by 25points.
With that being said the starters and every player rotated into the game played every possession like it mattered. They are showing us game after game the standard that the 96 Women’s Dream Team showed us. This is more than a game as many players have been quoted as saying as well as tweeting. This isn’t just a game this is “Operation Gold.” For the 2012 team as well as that 96 team anything other than the Gold would be a failure.