Dishin & Swishin: August 24, 2011 Podcast – Can the Seattle Storm & Atlanta Dream return to the finals
Today’s Special Guests are Jayda Evans (Seattle Times) discussing the Storm and LaChina Robinson (NBATV and WNBA television analyst) discussing the Dream.[display_podcast]
15-12 and 14-13.
Not exactly the records the Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream, respectively, expected at this point in the season. But who could have projected what the 2010 WNBA finalists would have to deal with thus far?
The Storm seemed like a strong candidate to repeat this year (in fact I picked them to in my pre-season predictions), with the core five all returning, plus the addition of veteran Katie Smith. Then the injuries started. Smith missed time in training camp with health issues, slowing her adjustment to the Storm mix. The bigger issue of course, came with Lauren Jackson’s hip injury and subsequent surgery. You cannot expect to lose an MVP player, and not have the team suffer.
Suffer the Storm did, but with the emergence of Ashley Robinson as a viable replacement center with size, the Storm found itself still in the battle for second place with Phoenix. Now, with Lauren Jackson back in the lineup, the Storm has a chance to make things really interesting. Minnesota has pulled away in the regular season, but what about the postseason, where they have less experience (or no experience in some cases) than the defending champs?
Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times covers the Storm, and we discussed the dynamics that make the Storm so dangerous.
Optimism was just as rampant in Atlanta this pre-season. The Dream had won the Eastern Conference, and despite being swept by Seattle, had kept every game close. If anything was exposed in the Seattle series, it was that the point guard position needed strengthening. The trade that added All-Star point guard Linday Harding to the Dream did not disturb their basic rotation, while adding what seemed to be missing.
Then the injuries came. Sound familiar? Angel McCoughtry, the Dream’s star forward, missed the first game of the season, and played three minutes in the second; the Dream lost both. Sancho Lyttle, who emerged as a dominant inside presence last season suffered from nagging injuries that severely hampered her game, then left to play for the Spanish national team for several more.
The first dozen games featured two road games at New York, games with playoff contenders San Antonio and Phoenix, and two games with Western conference dominating Minnesota. The Dream went 3-9 in those games, and looked to be a longshot to make the playoffs, never mind the finals. However, after a 22-point loss in New York, the Dream woke up. They reeled off five wins in a row, and since that July 13 loss to the Liberty, have gone 11-4 to put themselves in the thick of things.
McCoughtry has been playing unreal ball, Lyttle is getting stronger by the day, and Erika DeSousza has been playing exceptional post offense and defense. The Dream have overcome thus far the loss of point guard Shalee Lehning to injury since the end of July, and the inconsistency, and sometimes benching, of Iziane Castro Marques, who was crucial to the offense last season.
So, do they have what it takes to get back to the WNBA Finals? LaChina Robinson of NBATV and the Dream’s television broadcast team and I talked about the Dream, what makes this team a contender you can never overlook, and what they can still do.
So what do you think? Can the Storm and the Dream get past their rivals, or will we see new teams in the WNBA Finals again this year?[poll id=”3″]
Dishin & Swishin: The World of Womenâ€™s Hoops is an Internet Radio Show hosted by David Siegel, devoted to the many facets of womenâ€™s basketball.Â From players to coaches to administrators and journalists, David strives to bring you an entertaining listen that also leaves you with something you didnâ€™t know before. Enjoy!