FINALLY THE FINALS!
The Lynx arrived in the Finals in the fastest possible manner. Sweeping Seattle in the first round. Then they turned around and rolled over Taurasi and her Phoenix club in two. The Lynx reward for such dominating play is six days to practice and prepare for the most important games of the season. It is clear now to the country that the Lynx have been driven by their 2012 loss to Indiana and by the disrespect they received from prognostications in the preseason. The chip on their shoulder has given them the edge they needed to perfectly accompany their talented roster. They will rely on their stellar defense and their ability to share the ball and find the best shot. Now all we need is a packed house, some Lynx Unleashed playoff towels, and let the magic begin.
A LOOK BACK TO 2011:
Thought it would only be appropriate to look back to the 2011 Finals with Atlanta and remember what some of the story lines were. There was no doubt that the Dream came in as the underdog and it was a role they relished after starting their season 3-9. There was the question of rather or not Erika de Souza would play. She had left the Dream to compete with Team Brazil in an Olympic qualifying game. She was gone a total of 12 days. She arrived after traveling two days for Game 2. Angel McCoughtry was doing her best to carry her team on her back. She scored 38 points in Game Two, a WNBA Finals record. It simply wasn’t enough to contend with Seimone Augustus. Seimone, who as we all remember was the MVP of the Finals, was spectacular. Scoring 74 points in the three game sweep and being asked to use her defensive prowess in Game Three to slow McCoughtry. Ah, what a fun time. Now we must go back to the future.
What a career Angel McCoughtry has had! In five seasons in the league she has established herself as one of the best. The No. 1 draft pick in 2009 has lived up to her billing. She was the Rookie of the Year, and has consistently been a dangerous offensive threat and was the 2012 and 2013 WNBA scoring champion. Defensively, she is solid and has been recognized every season on the league’s All Defensive team. She has been to the WNBA finals twice before but has yet to be a WNBA Champion. In 2010, Seattle swept Atlanta in the finals and in 2011, well you know how that ended.
McCoughtry seems to have matured since the drama that surrounded the Dream when their head coach Marynell Meadors was fired. The truth is this: McCoughtry is a tremendous player but she needs her teammates to step up for the Dream to be successful. In the Indiana series we saw that if McCoughtry allows her teammates in by setting them up they can be victorious. Dream head coach Fred Williams applauded Angel for her willingness to play decoy in that series. If Angel wants her dream of winning a WNBA title to come true, she will need to be dominant herself and involve her teammates. In the August 20 game where the Lynx lost to Atlanta, the Dream had four players in double figures and shot 47 percent as a team. Assuming Erika de Souza is able to overcome her right ankle injury she will be instrumental in the post if given the ball. The reality is that McCoughtry may find herself in a terrible nightmare. When she wakes up she may find that she has been to three WNBA finals and has no ring on her finger.
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