New York's Cappie Pondexter and Chicago's Epiphanny Prince will be the key players in the race for the last playoff spot in the East.
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NEWARK, N.J -- On the court, Chicagos Epiphanny Prince and New Yorks Cappie Pondexter both listed at 5-foot-9 look down at nobody.
But, with the Sky and Liberty battling it out for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, everyone will be looking up at them over the next two weeks to decide which team extends its season.
Prince took a big step in making sure its her team that does so on Friday night by scoring a game-high 30 points including several clutch buckets down the stretch to steal a 92-83 victory from Pondexters Liberty squad at Prudential Center to give the Sky a half-game edge in the standings.
But as weve seen too often this year with a flurry of upsets that doesnt necessarily mean the Liberty will waltz into postseason.
You still have to go win the games, Whisenant said, pointing out Tulsas recent upset of L.A. on Aug. 30 and Washingtons near upset of Connecticut on Sept. 4. Weve warned our players. We know Chicago has gotta play Minnesota and LA on the road, Seattle on the road and theyve got some tough games. But thats the way this league is, they may win the tough ones and you catch someone really playing real well so its tough.
However it shakes out, you can count on Pondexter and Prince being in the middle of it. These teams, after talking to them about the playoff race, have an enormous amount of respect for each other. But the two vertically challenged guards, both of which went to Rutgers and are now the focal parts of their teams, also have a substantial respect for each other.
Shes a real good player and she just always keeps you on your toes, Prince said of Pondexter. She can score in bunches and shes just always so aggressive.
Fittingly, one could describe Prince in the same exact manner, but Pondexter, quick to praise her opponent, had this to say about Prince.
I think shes a great basketball player that has the ability to a lot of things, Pondexter said. When you have a player who can break down a defense, it just gives an edge to your teammates and it makes everyone around her better.
Chatman called Pondexter the head of the snake for New York and the metaphor seems to ring true for both teams if youre also talking about Prince.
It will likely come down to the season's final days to see who can secure that fourth playoff spot in the East and it will take nothing short of a herculean effort from the equally undersized Prince and Pondexter if it's going to be their team.