This past Tuesday fans of basketball were able to enjoy to exhilarating games in the WNBA conference semifinals. Both games were extremely competitive with, and the teams involved brought a unique style to the game. In this article we will be recapping both of the games wile also going over predictions for the games tonight.
Believe in the Dream, Atlanta Ties Series with Washington 1-1
Atlanta was by far one of the Hottest teams entering the Playoff’s The Dream not only ended the Season on an eight game wining streak, but they did this without their star player Angel MCcoughtry. The main reasons two their success boils down to their team defense (2ndin the League) and to their phenomenal guards Alex Bentley, and Tiffany Hayes carrying the majority of the offensive load. On the other side we have the Washington Mystics who have relied on their Superstar Elena Della Donne to carry much of the load in this post season run. She not only leads her team in scoring but in the entire playoffs she is fourth in point per game with 26. The Mystics also rely on her to do much of the dirty work as she is grabbing 13 rebounds a game as well throughout these playoffs. And from opening tip-off one could clearly see each teams brand of basketball in this game. The Mystics were simply putting moving the ball through Della Donne. Whether it was finding her own shot or simply looking for her teammates for easy buckets. On the other side, the Dream were playing phenomenal defense against the former MVP and her teammates. Even when Delle Donne was heating up in the third scoring 11 points, the Dream continued o force Della Donne to make tough shots. Then at the very end of the contest Della Done got injured forcing the team to finish the game without their best player. Although Kristi Toliver played well down the stretch, the combination of Atlanta’s amazing defense and the stellar play of their guards Bentley and Hayes proved to make all the difference at the end of the game. For tonight, it is very unlikely that Delle Donne comeback and without their main contributor on both sides I do not see the Mystics beating the Dream for tonight’s matchup. Hopefully Della Donne can return, because the dream are just to talented defensively and offensively to lose to a starless mystics team.
Seattle endures 4th quarter Storm, OT win over Phoenix provides a 2-0 series lead
Despite having a 2-0 lead in the series it is clear in my eyes that this series is going to 5- games. It is again two contrasting styles of play between the two teams that makes the game that much more exciting. The way Seattle plays is very team focused, every offensive possession it seems like everyone is going to get a chances to make a play. This helps put less pressure on Sue Bird, and Breanna Stewart and forces the opposing defense to focus in on the entire team instead of two players. On the other side, the Phoenix team lives and dies on the play of their big three of Dianna Taurasi, Bittney Grinner, and DeWanna Bonner. For 3 quarters of the game all three players were having bellow average games, while the Storm’s offense was firing on all cylinders. Even Jordin Canada on Seattle’s bench was able to contribute significant minutes scoring 12 points on 5-5 shooting. This great team form of team basketball continued all the way until the fourth quarter with Seattle having a 19-point lead over the Mercury. In most situations, a 19 point deficit would be two much for team to overcome and many would just throw in the towel and conserve energy for the next game. Well the big question is then with a 19 point lead, how did the Mercury force OT. The First big reason was the late game heroics by both Taurasi and Griner. Taurasi just would not miss from anywhere during that late game rally, while grinner was making her presence known in the paint on both sides of the court. This along with the fact like many team centric offenses the storm just seemed stagnant throughout the fourth quarter. They not only were not getting good shots in, but they were simply not giving the ball for Stewart to make great plays. Whenever Stewart received the ball in the fourth it was never in the post, but instead outside the three-point line causing her to create some bad shots. Also important to note that Phoenix played phenomenal defense locking everyone else down, and grinner was extremely effective at clogging lanes to make sure that Their were no open layups. The phenomenal play of Phoenix along with the lackluster plays by Seattle all summed up with an inbounds play with 7.6 seconds remaining with Phoenix down 3. The ball was inbounded to Griner who provides a beautiful dish to Taurasi, who sinks in a heavily contested 3-point shot to force the game into overtime. Yet with all the momentum on their side, Grinner makes the big mistake of getting her 6 foul on an inconsequential play early in overtime. Without the anchor of their defense, Seattle started attacking the paint throughout overtime and was ultimately able to win this game. While a lot of credit has to be given to Seattle for staying tough and winning the game, all the praise to phoenix and their big three for fighting and forcing OT. And While I do not believe Phoenix will win this series I do have them winning tonight’s game as there is no way Taurasi is going to be swept in a semifinal matchup.