Members of the WNBA Top 20@20 — the league’s list of the 20 greatest and most influential players in its history — have gathered in Minneapolis for the WNBA Finals, set to be honored during a halftime ceremony during Game 1.
WNBA.com took a five-question survey to the legends to hear their thoughts on this year’s Finals, the WNBA’s 20th anniversary and the future of the league.
What Is Your 2016 WNBA Finals Prediction?
Five-game series (8 votes), Lynx (5 votes), Sparks (2 votes)
Sue Bird: Five games. That’s my prediction.
Tamika Catchings: I’m staying away from predictions. But it’s going the distance — five games.
Katie Smith: I think Minny’s winning and I’ll say 3-2. I think it’s going to go five. I just think they are evenly matched.
Lisa Leslie: Well, I’m always going to go with L.A., ride or die, in as many games at it takes. It doesn’t matter how many games as long as it’s L.A. in the end.
Sheryl Swoopes: I’m gonna go with Minnesota in five. I think Minnesota has the better team from top to bottom. If you just go with the starters, I think it’s about even. But I think Minnesota, they probably have at least three or four players that come off the bench that could start on any other team in the league. I think one of the X-factors in this series is gonna be Natasha Howard. I love her game a lot. She’s played very well for them all season, but especially in the playoffs. I don’t know who L.A. can bring off the bench to match what she brings for the Lynx. Although [Jantel] Lavender from L.A., I like her too. But Natasha Howard right now is just playing out of her mind.
Cynthia Cooper: I’m going with the Sparks in five. I just think it’s their time. Minnesota is so talented. When you look at four Olympians, three of their players on the Top 20 list, you know the Minnesota Lynx, they have the veteran leadership. But I really think that Los Angeles, they’ve gotten their hunger back for a championship.
Tina Thompson: I don’t know. I really wish I had a team I thought was gonna win it. But for the first time, I’m pretty unsure. Usually I’m like, “Minnesota.” Right away. They’ve been head and shoulders above everyone. But L.A.’s playing so great. Nneka and Candace have been playing amazing.
Teresa Weatherspoon: They’re both playing incredible basketball at a crucial moment. If both teams are on their game, it will go to five. If it gets back here, Minnesota wins.
Ticha Penicheiro: I’ll say Minnesota in five.
Becky Hammon: I’m going with the Lynx… in four games.
Swin Cash: I’m not really predicting, I just want to see a great matchup. I’m happy to see that both these teams were elite teams and they got an opportunity to rest and get those byes so they’re both here in the Finals. It should be a great Finals.
Cappie Pondexter: It’s going to be a great series. It’s interesting because both teams have won on the road — nobody’s won on their home court. Throughout this whole playoff format it’s been important to establish the home court and I think every team has for the most part, so it will be interesting to see. I think the matchups are great — you’ve got Candace and Maya, you’ve got Sylvia and Nneka. I think the wild card will definitely be Seimone because she’s a tough matchup, but L.A. has two great defenders in Essence Carson and Alana Beard. Then you’ve got Toliver and Whalen. So I think it’s going to be a great, great series. I’m not saying (a prediction). I’m not saying; it’s too tough to say. I just hope that it goes to Game 5, for sure. I think everyone deserves to see a Game 5.