Dishin & Swishin 9/19/13 Podcast: Breaking down the WNBA Playoffs: Conference semifinals
Tonight the post-season begins! After working through an injury-plagued regular season, eight teams begin their quest for the WNBA championship with conference semifinal matchups.
On today’s podcast we have four of the most well-known purveyors of WNBA information helping to break down the series. Here is the lineup for today’s show, which is divided into two parts to make it easier to find the series you want to hear about.
Part 1: Doug Feinberg and Jayda Evans break down Chicago vs. Indiana and Minnesota vs. Seattle
Top-seeded Chicago not only earned their first playoff appearance in team history, but come in as the number one seed in the East. Their reward? The defending champion Indiana Fever, who most would say was the second best team in the conference by the end of the year.
Despite massive amounts of injuries, Lin Dunn’s Fever survived to advance to the playoffs, and actually own a 3-1 advantage in the regular season. Indiana’s physical play and aggressive defense led by Tamika Catchings helped win a championship last year without Katie Douglas, who has just returned from her injuries to give the Fever their most complete roster of the season.
Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne are both MVP candidates for the Sky, but can they handle the heat the postseason brings? The Sky in total have played in 52 playoff games, and 47 of those come from Swin Cash. This should be a great series.
Minnesota looked like they were on a mission all season; trying to regain the championship they lost to the Fever last season. Four All-stars (Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson) and two MVP candidates (Moore and Whalen) on a star-studded roster, the Lynx will be tough to knock off their number one seed pedestal.
For Seattle, this season showcased how good a coach and general manager Brian Agler is, and how team ball and selflessness can help a team make the playoffs. The added bonus in this series, which on paper seems to lean heavily toward the Lynx, is for at least two more games we all get to enjoy watching Tina Thompson play before she enters retirement.
Part 2: Mel Greenberg and Cindy Brunson break down Atlanta vs. Washington and Los Angeles vs. Phoenix
Who was the biggest addition to a team this year? Delle Donne? Brittney Griner in Phoenix? It might actually be head coach Mike Thibault in Washington. In one impressive season, he helped change the culture in Washington to a winning, confident organization. Players like Crystal Langhorne that were there already bought into his plans, and he added Ivory Latta and others that wanted to play for him. The Mystics are the number three seed, and will face perhaps the best scorer in the WNBA in Angel McCoughtry and the Atlanta Dream.
The Dream struggled through streaks of wins and losses all season, and come into the postseason on a four-game losing skid. However, we have seen the Dream turn it on during the postseason, and make runs to the Finals despite their regular season problems. Atlanta owns a 3-2 regular season edge, so this should be a close, three-game series.
Out west the Sparks have been inconsistent defensively, but Candace Parker and the star-studded lineup can beat anyone, as they proved in earning the number two seed. It is a series with intriguing matchups, ones that are not great for either team.
Phoenix will have to deal with Parker stepping outside, not Candice Dupree’s strong suit, the physicality of Nneka Ogwumike attacking Brittney Griner, and the backcourt quickness of the Sparks. Los Angeles has to figure out how to stop the size and strength of the Mercury backcourt: Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner combined to average just under 50 points per game between them in the first three meetings of the teams (Taurasi sat most of the final game). This could be the best series of the first round.
So there you have it for today’s podcast. It is the most wonderful time of the year, playoff basketball! Enjoy the podcast!