By Adrienne Goodson
Okay my good people, the playoffs are here and I am so ready. This year has been truly interesting for various reasons: the new nine year contract extension with ESPN, the new CBA negotiations underway, the cat scratching going on in the Eastern Conference to make the playoffs, and last but not least who will come out of the Western Conference this year? This year has been monumental for the WNBA so it will be hard to talk about it all.
The Western Conference is good to go. All four teams are accounted for in the playoffs. Phoenix is number one with San Antonio, Sacramento and Seattle following up. My prediction is Phoenix and San Antonio for the conference title. I have to stick with my team in San Antonio but Dianna Taurasi (19), Penny Taylor (17.8), and Cappy Poindexter (17.3) are the “Big Bang Trio”, and they scare me. Phoenix is hot on all levels and will be tough to beat. They score in bunches, like 100 and something real fast. The Taurasi against Bird match-up should be a crowd pleaser.
The East is totally different. Of course! you have Detroit out front, Indiana in second, Connecticut in third but after that it was a war between New York and Washington for that fourth seed. New York went to DC and stole a win on Thursday night (73-72) then went back to New York on Friday and put away Connecticut (74-66). Let me remind you that everyone counted the Liberty out of the playoffs especially after that seven game landslide in July, but these ladies have a lot of character. They never gave up and kept their eyes on the prize even when things looked like they would never turn around. Laurie Moore, has been consistent all season. Shameka Christon and Janell McCarville has stepped it up in the second half of play big time. New York already had the Shocks attention. The Shock would rather see Washington because the Liberty is the only team that seemed to have their number all season long. This will be a nail biter, and Detroit will have to play hard to get to the next round. I bet Katie Smith will show up to play as usual, alongside Plenette Pierson, Deanna Nolan, Swin Cash and Ivory Latta but no Cheryl Ford. She is out for the season with a knee injury.
I don’t know how I feel about the Indiana-Connecticut series without Catchings playing. That foot has sidelined her since the All-Star break. Margo Dydek is my girl from back in the west coast days so I gotta give her a shout out but aside from that we had a great dinner and laughs after their loss in Washington. When I asked her about her strong play down the stretch she responded by saying, “My back had limited me a lot this season but my rhythm is back on track and now I can play more. I’m just glad to play better as we approach the playoffs”. The Sun will have to rebound well against Tan White, Tammy-Sutton Brown, Tamika Whitmore and company. Basically, they must win that first game at home on Thursday.
As I watched all of the games on Sunday, I can honestly say Phoenix and New York are the most excitable teams in the playoffs. I say Phoenix because they go from one end of the court to the next in three seconds flat. Only a team that transitions well back to defense will beat this run-n-gun style that the Mercury are packin’. New York, on the other hand, is the most unselfish and hard working team in the league right now. They literally pick teams apart with the extra pass and although there is no go to player on the team, they put it together in bunches. The Liberty have arrived to battle for the crown and to be quite honest, the team who is the most determined usually win championships.
I tip my hat to the eight teams that have come this far. I tip my hat to them believing in something much bigger than themselves, for being committed to a game plan that they may not have understood, and for all of the sacrifices that go unknown but most of all, for carrying on a legacy of women in sports.
The fat lady is gearing up to sing a tune and her last stop was in Motown but this year I think she may have to put on some chaps and Go South. West that is…….