Not Too Early and Not Too Late
The WNBA season isn’t even a week old, so it may be too early to be making predictions, but it’s definitely not too early to get excited about an upcoming game.
Thanks to Live Access (no longer free, but still a bargain at $4.99 for the season), the BCs have already gotten to see a couple of impressive teams and a quite a few very talented players. So we’re really looking forward to tomorrow’s (Thursday) match-up between the Minnesota Lynx and the visiting LA Sparks. This will be must-see (web) TV in our house . . . and not just because it’s the only WNBA game scheduled.
Two undefeated teams (both 2-0), plenty of high-profile players (including several of the BCs’ favorites) . . . and an early start time! That’s an added bonus: the game tips off at 8 PM EDT! The problem with so many of these Western Conference games is that, if you’re on the East coast, they just start too late! 10 PM tip-offs are OK on Friday and Saturday nights, but on weekdays, they’re tough. At least they are for us.
But tomorrow’s game is one we’d probably lose sleep for, even if it didn’t have an early start. On one end will be the team the BCs hope will win, LA. On the other -- the team the BCs think will win, Minnesota.
With Alana Beard and Marissa Coleman joining Kristi Toliver on the Sparks’ roster this season, it should be pretty obvious why the BCs are now paying more attention to LA. Plus, when you add Candace Parker, DeLisha Milton-Jones, and Nneka Ogwumike (among others) to the mix, this LA team has all the makings of being a fun team to watch.
Two games into the new WNBA season and the Sparks haven’t disappointed. They stunned host Seattle last Friday night by storming back from a 21-point second-half deficit to win, 72-66. LA’s comeback was sparked by (you guessed it) Kristi Toliver, who scored 10 of her game-high 25 points in the final quarter. Then last night, in their home opener, LA proved that the comeback win was no fluke. The Sparks beat the Storm again, 74-61, this time leading from the first quarter to the final buzzer.
Three Sparks led the way in that win: the amazing Candace Parker (21 points, 10 boards, and 6 blocks), the always exciting Kristi Toliver (18 points; 4 of 5 from beyond the arc) and . . . Alana Beard (13 points and 7 boards)! Alana’s back . . . certainly not all the way, not yet. But in two games, she’s already traveled a long way from Washington and a long way from her two seasons sitting injured on the Mystics’ bench. Double figures last night! 35 minutes of playing time! Isn’t that great!
While we may really like that LA roster, we can’t honestly pick the Sparks as the favorite in tomorrow’s contest. LA’s opponent, the Lynx, are the defending WNBA champions, and have raced out of the gate this season, already looking like a team that could, indeed, repeat (something that hasn’t happened in the league since 2002). Minnesota is simply loaded with talent -- Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Becky Brunson, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Candice Wiggins, Monica Wright (among others). Some line-up, huh? No wonder they started the season by dropping 105 points on Phoenix (sorry, Nakia) on their way to a 22-point win. And Minny followed up that performance by dominating the Liberty last night, 80-62, on the road at the Pru Center. The Lynx will be tough to beat, in every game, all season long.
Can the Sparks pull off the upset? Maybe. The only thing we know for sure is that tomorrow’s game will be won by a good team, with plenty of exciting players. We also know we’ll be watching. And though the BCs would like LA to win, we’re not invested in the outcome the way we used to be invested in the Mystics. Truthfully, it’s kind of liberating to have exited that emotional roller-coaster, and to just be able to enjoy good players, good teams, and good WNBA basketball again. And that’s what we hope to see tomorrow night.