Doris Burke Opening Statement
I'm as excited as I've ever been for WNBA Playoffs. I've been around for all of the post seasons and I don't know that I can remember a year when you couldn't look at a series and say, "You know, this team has no shot." I think this is going to be fun and I think the rule changes have really had an impact. Clearly, from a sill level, we were prepared for a 24 second clock and four quarters, and the players have really responded. The scoring has been great, I think it's enhanced the product, so I'm really, really excited to get underway.

Linda Cohn Opening Statement
Obviously this is my first year doing the WNBA ... doing play-by-play for the WNBA ... obviously my first post season for the WNBA, and what I've seen [is] how deep each team is and how it is wide open. And if you look at any sport how important it is heading into a post season, what makes it more exciting is that the unpredictable can happen and I think that's in the WNBA's favor. I also think that considering the adjustment team's had to make during the regular season with the compressed schedule and some teams hit by the injury bug more than others, it'll be interesting to see how these teams can bounce back from that and these players can do that when it matters most, when everything is on the line. But one thing that I would notice as a newcomer, as a rookie to the league, was that winning a championship was the most important thing to these players. From the rookies to the veterans like Lisa Leslie -- just listening to her, you'd never know she's won twice before -- that's what makes it all the more exciting.

Q: Will teams have a tendency to make it a half-court game?
Burke: I think championships inevitably -- I don't care what level of basketball you're talking about, whether it's the NBA, WNBA or men's and women's college basketball championship basketball -- clearly it's a lot easier to slow the pace then it is to generate fast pace. So yes, I do believe, like the NBA and collegiate championships, you will see things slowed down, it will be more physical in all likelihood, cutters will be bumped, people will check out a little bit harder, there will definitely be more contact I think. I don't there's any question; typically they're [Playoff games] decided in the half court. I remember listening to Jeff Van Gundy on the Playoffs on TNT and the first hard foul occurred and he said, "Welcome to the Playoffs." It was kind of a telling moment. I would anticipate the same in this post season, yes.

Q: Talk about the Sparks road to the finals.
Burke: I have been -- from the very earliest part of the season -- just so impressed with that team. I know there were some questions raised when that trade was made (Teasley for Johnson). I honestly believe it was good for both teams and both franchises. Nikki Teasley to me had not been the same player since Michael Cooper departed Los Angeles, and for her to have a chance to go home was ideal and I think was refreshing for her. That said, and Temeka Johnson, you've got a player who like Teasley is a pass-first mentality point guard and with all the wealth of ability that she's got around her, clearly you need that. So I think the Sparks have a great shot. I think they've proven that they're the best in the West to this point. You've got two of the best players in the history of the league. Holdsclaw and Leslie can dominate and either or can carry you through a situation where maybe the offense is struggling. I think if Mwadi Mabika averages 15 points a game in the Playoffs, the Sparks are going to be very tough to beat, I don't care who they're playing.

Q: How about the way the opponents line up for the Sparks?
Burke: When you look at Seattle, the first question that comes to mind is their health. Lauren Jackson has not had a ton of practice time because of the health of both shins and now the plantar fascitis clearly compromising her ability to play extended minutes and also to practice. She's been able to weather that storm and be effective, but when you factor in Betty Lennox and how healthy her knee is; Janell Burse and how healthy her shoulder is; the fact that Sue Bird's foot is not 100%. I think they are a team with a wealth of ability and clearly ... they have talent and they can play with anybody in the league when they are healthy. I just question their ability to win a series because I don't think they're healthy enough to be quite honest.

Q: With your ESPN/Sportscenter perspective, how can the WNBA gain more media attention?
Cohn:
I wish I was running the network, then we would instantly get that in there. But I think the WNBA is continuing to move in the right direction. I think even more so as I've seen it up close this year is that the fact that the talent coming out of college and going right into the WNBA is making an instant impact as we saw this year with the Simone Augustuses and the Cappie Pondexters who were dueling for much of the season for the scoring title until Diana Taurasi heated up and actually she's obviously leading that college charge from a few years ago. And I think what has to happen is -- as we've seen during the regular season -- the quality of play. And we saw that the WNBA by far should be involved more in Sportscenter highlights. Why it isn't, I don't know, but that's not up to me. But if it continues to show the quality of play that it continues to show on the basketball court as it also in the post season with the stepped up intensity and such, we will see highlights from that. I think the league is going in the right direction and promoting the talent and the personalities, but has helped it, especially up close and personal this year, is the fact the instant impact that college players make going right into the WNBA, and we've seen it. It's going to take time; it's not going to be instant. The NBA took time. The WNBA is only 10 years old and we've seen these incredible shots and certain things that capture the eyes and makes the top 10 plays on Sportscenter, especially in the last few years. So it's on the right track.

Q: Thoughts on Asjha Jones?
Burke:
The last two years, I have asked Mike Thibault consistently whether I was crazy or should Asjha Jones be a double digit scorer in this league. And he sort of concurred and as far back as when he first acquired her, he believed in her abilities offensively. There's not an offensive skill that she does not have in her repertoire. She can put the ball on the floor both left and right, she can score with her back to the basket or facing the basket, and I think with Mike he just clearly defined her role, made her comfortable with what she was expected to do. She had always been one of the best post defenders I had seen, both collegiately and at the point she entered the WNBA. She can guard pure post players -- those who want to play back to the basket -- or she can step out and guard an athletic three, which is the most dangerous position in the WNBA. So I just felt that it was a matter of Asjha having the light bulb go on and saying, "You know what, I am very good, and I can be a highly productive player in this league." Mike seems to be able to draw that out of each player. He seems to clearly define her role, put faith and a level of expectation on his players that makes them want to step up and reach and Asjha is one of those prime players that has done that for him.

Q: How important is she to how far the Sun can go?
Burke:
I think this is the most balanced, versatile, deep team in the league at this point. If they have a weakness, I don't know what it is, to perfectly frank with you. They had rebounding and turnover issues early. In the latter stages of the season they have clearly put those behind them -- I think in the last 10 games they've averaged 12 turnovers per and they're second in the league in rebounding to Detroit. But I think that Asjha is very important and here's why: there are certain matchups where Margo Dydek -- despite her 7-2, highly skilled frame can't be a factor. If they start going at breakneck pace, or if teams they face don't have a legitimate post presence, somebody that she matches up well on both sides of the ball, then Asia has to come in and sort of pick up the slack in that regard. She's huge for them.

Q: Who's the dark horse team?
Burke:
When I look at Detroit's roster, I like what I see. In Katie Smith you have a legitimate perimeter threat; Deanna Nolan hasn't been as proficient from three ... she's made enough. They've got two slashing-type players who can get to the rim either in transition or in the half-court set in Swin Cash and Deanna Nolan. They have the biggest, most physically intimidating front line in the league. The one thing I question about them ... I just have two questions about Detroit: Which teams shows up? For all of their ability, sometimes they seem to coast on their physical talent and that will no longer get it done in the WNBA. My other question about them is their consistent bench play; I don't think they've had it. Pearson has been consistent with energy, but in terms of productivity I think Braxton has been up and down. And the league has gotten too good at this point now that you need players off the bench who can be consistent and productive.

Cohn: I picked Detroit to go to the Finals and it's hard to even look at them as a dark horse with all that talent, but if you're going to look for a dark horse -- and it's strange to even say this because I don't think this even qualifies -- but when you see how LA dominated the West, I then have to look at Sacramento as my dark horse because everybody's forgetting about the defending champs. They seem to be forgotten. They seem to be creeping up there behind LA and just saving everything, saving their energy. John Whisenant, of course, the reigning coach of the year, molding and trying to figure out everything for this playoff run and just how they did last year and really came out of nowhere to stun Connecticut. I think you can classify Sacramento as that, because once again, people are looking at the LAs and the Connecticuts and forgetting about what is lurking. And I think if you look at the West, Houston -- age has caught up -- and the injuries for Seattle. I would have to say Sacramento.