A jacket-tossing temper tantrum by Cheryl Reeve helped boost WNBA ratings. Ok, that’s probably not the case, but it still makes for good drama and we’re happy to tell you WNBA TV ratings are up.
On Wednesday, Game Two of the WNBA Finals between the Indiana and Minnesota was the most viewed and highest rated WNBA Playoff game on ESPN since 1999.
Overall, the game generated 778,000 viewers a .6 household rating, according to Nielsen. Game 2 peaked with 1,011,000 viewers a .8 rating. Minneapolis delivered a 3.8 local rating and Indianapolis brought in a 2.4 rating.
And those figures don't include the thousands of additional eyeballs video clips of the game have garnered since the now-infamous jacket-throwing sidelines meltdown by Minnesota Coach Cheryl Reeve that repeatedly aired overnight on news and sports channels, on YouTube and was briefly trending on Twitter.
Reeve reportedly spent Thursday fielding emails and phone calls from everyone from her mother to former Pistons' "Bad Boy" (and fellow Detroit Shock assistant coach) Rick Mahorn. The majority of the contacts have been "supportive," said Reeve.
The fact that Mahorn reached out to Reeve is telling since he was part of the infamous 2008 brawl known as "Malice in the Palace II," that briefly captured the attention of the national media.
A "brawl," as some referred to it -- or a modest catfight in the eyes of others -- broke out on the court during a game between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Detroit Shock (which has since relocated to Tulsa). The fracas lasted only a matter of seconds but by the time the dust had settled, 10 players and a coach -- including among others, the instigator Plenette Pierson, rookie sensation Candace Parker, four-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, and Mahorn, an assistant to Detroit Shock head coach (and fellow "Bad Boy") Bill Laimbeer (incidentally, Reeve's coaching mentor), who knocked Leslie to the floor in what he claimed was an attempt to separate the combatants but which actually induced others to enter the fray in Leslie's defense.
Fisticuffs aside, the Reeve jacket-tossing incident is just part of the drama that makes this series between Minnesota and Indiana so compelling. The antics helped wake up the Lynx who outscored the shorthanded Fever 23-16 in the fourth quarter for the 83-71 win to even the series. The WNBA Finals continue with Game 3 Friday night at 8pm ET on ESPN2.
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- Lin Dunn leverages the matchups into Indiana win over Lynx in WNBA Finals opener
- Even Lynx fans find it hard to root against Indiana's Tamika Catchings
- The Lynx have to be favored to make it two WNBA titles in a row -- but Indiana has championship fever
- Olympics a big break for Erlana Larkins and the Fever
- January could be the difference in October
- Even President Obama calls her Mama Taj