Thursday, August 6, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
Still high on the Sky
The Girls of Summer (WNBA), are over halfway through their schedule and the past champion (Detroit Shock) is still languishing in next to last place in the Eastern Conference and playing less than .500 ball.
However, they did pick up a win on Friday against Minnesota Lynx of the Western Conference. The victory moved their season record to 6-9. The Lynx dropped to .500 at 10-10 but still held onto third place in the West. Bear in mind that the WNBA operates under a 34 regular game schedule. The Shock is six and a half games out of first place, meaning that there are only 19 games left in their window of opportunity.
Indubitably, the hot commodity this season is the Indiana Fever of the East. The Fever has the second best record of the league at 14-4. La Fever made the playoffs last season with a .500 record of 17-17, but was shut down 2-1 by Detroit in the conference semis. The predictions were not very high because the head coach, Lin Dunn, is in her second season and her record was less than stellar at 50-80. And, let’s face it; they just didn’t have that, well, “fever.” They didn’t jell as a complete unit. Remember, they had a solid performer in Tamika Catchings but she lost a lot of games last season to injury. And the Fever helped itself through the free agency list. By picking up Yolanda Griffin from Seattle and Tamecka Dixon from Houston, they found a unit that was destined to meld. It just might be a little premature to label them winners at this juncture, however, with 16 regular games left, they have to be dubbed “contender.”
The ruler of the West roost is the Phoenix Mercury. In first place with a mark of 15-6 and two and a half games in front of Seattle, one has to say the Mercury is in a good place on the old thermometer. Phoenix finished sixth last season with a 16-18 record. High on offense but low on defense could very well have hampered the Mercury last season. They had the top two scorers in the league in Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter. The former registered 24.10 per contest and the latter made a 21.20. Phoenix finished last in the league in defense against the shot. One has to remember that the Mercury were the defending champs from the 2007 season. So what happened? For one, their best defender and third leading scorer, Penny Taylor, skipped out to train with the Australian national team and take part in the Olympics. She has not returned; however, the Mercury seemed to have found another winning formula.
If you all can recollect (as my grandmother used to say), I stated in an earlier report that I was high on the Chicago Sky’s chances this year. That has not changed. They are at .500 and tied for third with the Atlanta Dream in the East. Their 10-10 record leaves them 14 games in which to make up the deficit. So the Sky has ample time to reach for the stars.
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