LATE GAME DRAMA: WNBA PLAYOFFS 2012
Oct 10 2012 11:56AM
Oct. 8: Sun at Fever, Zellous Hits Game-WinnerClinging to a two-point lead with under 20 seconds to play, the Indiana Fever needed a stop to tie their series with the top-seeded Sun and extend their season at least one more game. On a team loaded with All-Stars and this season's league MVP, it was third-year pro Allison Hightower that took the ball to the basket for the Sun, hitting a runner from the left wing and getting fouled in the process.
With 12.5 seconds left to play, the 91 percent free-throw shooter had a chance to put the Sun up by a point, but her shot went long. Tamika Catchings snared the high rebound, and despite having two timeouts, she turned and brought the ball up the court quickly. Before she reached halfcourt she saw a streaking Briann January ahead of the Sun defense and threw the ball ahead to her young teammate. January caught the ball in stride, but missed the open layup with seven seconds to play.
But January didn't give up on the play, getting back in bounds and poking the rebound away from Hightower and toward the sideline. She dove to save the ball from going out of bounds and got it to teammate Shavonte Zellous. Zellous gathered the ball outside the three-point line, took two dribbles to free herself from the Sun defenders coming her way, and pulled up for a free-throw line jumper that found the bottom of the net with 0.5 seconds to play. The shot sealed the 78-76 win for the Fever and set up the decisive Game 3 on Thursday night.
Oct. 7: Lynx Outlast Sparks in Frenzied FinishCandace Parker scored 33 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked four shots in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx on Oct. 7. So when L.A.'s perennial MVP candidate banked in an improbable three-pointer at the 1:31 mark to give the Sparks a 79-77 lead in Los Angeles, it appeared a Game 3 was in the cards. Lynx reserve Monica Wright had other ideas, however, calmly knocking down a trey to give Minnesota an 80-79 lead with 1:14 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the Sparks, Parker literally didn't get a shot to beat the Lynx at the end as Alana Beard missed a pair of jumpers with time expiring on the game and L.A.'s season.
Oct. 2: Storm Fall Short With Last Shot At LynxStaring at playoff elimination, the Seattle Storm turned to Sue Bird down the stretch against the Minnesota Lynx in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Oct 2, and the veteran point guard didn't disappoint, burying two clutch three-pointers, sandwiched around an assist to Katie Smith in the final three minutes of regulation to put the Storm within a point of knocking out the Lynx. Trailing 73-72, with just under 10 seconds remaining on the clock, Seattle opted for a timeout with 3.3 seconds remaining. The Storm did indeed get a good look as three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Lauren Jackson put up a make-able turnaround jumper that didn't fall, but one wonders what would have happened had Bird been given one last chance on the last possession.
Sept 30: Storm Huddle Up, Force OT, Top LynxThe Game 3 drama above was scintillating, but Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the underdog Storm and the defending champion Lynx was must-see TV. Check out the video below of the Seattle team huddle where Storm Head Coach Brian Agler draws up the play and previously struggling Lauren Jackson delivers the clutch three-pointer with 1.1 seconds on the clock to force over-time. The drama doesn't end there, as Tanisha Wright took a pass from Sue Bird and knocked another trey, to force yet another overtime in the epic showdown. Bird took charge in the second OT, hitting two long-range threes to ice the game for the Storm.