At the college level, the path to success is very clear: Recruit, recruit, recruit and then recruit some more. Given the number of teams, there’s almost always a talent disparity in every game, and so coaching and injuries tend to be less of a factor in success during a season.
At the WNBA level, though, with just 12 teams, all with pretty good players, coaching and injuries are much more important – and that’s just what we’re seeing in the first weeks of the season.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Indiana Fever visited the White House Friday where President Barak Obama officially congratulated them on their 2012 WNBA championship. It was not, however, the first trip to the White House for Fever coach Lin Dunn, who had last been there as a Girl Scout when she was in fifth grade.
“I won’t say which administration that was,” the president teased, for which Dunn thanked him.
The Indiana Fever's championship run last season was a textbook example that basketball is a mental game.
With second-leading scorer Katie Douglas and Jeannette Pohlen injured in the playoffs, there was no way the Fever should have won the title. But other players stepped up, and the entire team refused to settle for anything less than the trophy -- a first for the franchise.
It would be easy to carry that blazing momentum into 2013, but coach Lin Dunn isn't having any of it.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It's been a long time coming, this shiny silver trophy. They've gathered in the lobby of Bankers Life Fieldhouse to celebrate as rain has driven the festivities indoors, cancelling the planned parade. But the weather has done nothing to dampen the spirits of the fans who have taken time out in the middle of their workday or of the team whose ultimate success, so long in arriving, they have assembled here to salute.
The Indiana Fever are closer than they have ever been to winning a WNBA championship. After coming out of Game Two Wednesday looking totally exhausted and overpowered by the physicality of the Lynx, they took the floor before their home crowd Friday looking like a team on another level as they put the highest scoring team in the league in a defensive stranglehold, beating the Minnesota Lynx by 17 points.
During the WNBA Finals, Full Court Publisher Lee Michaelson will be courtside covering each and every game.... In addition she will have this running tally of interesting news, sightings and observations on various gameday happenings.
Pro coaches go on and on about matchups, and how they become even more important in the postseason when teams can really drill down and prepare for each other. The Fever didn't actually have all that much time to prepare between winning the Eastern Conference championship on Thursday and the opening tip of the 2012 WNBA Finals Sunday; indeed, thanks to time lost to travel, but Sunday night's 76-70 Indiana road win over the reigning WNBA champs -- the Minnesota Lynx -- would serve as a perfect example.
As most have predicted since before the season even began, the Minnesota Lynx are back in the WNBA Finals, bringing with them the best record in the league and poised to defend their 2011 title. If they succeed, they will be the first team to accomplish that feat since the Los Angeles Sparks took home back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.
With Katie Douglas at the hospital, with Erin Phillips in foul trouble, with Briann January turning the ball over every other time she touched it, and just a four-point lead on Connecticut’s home court, it was time for Indiana to just pack it in.
The Fever had every reason to believe their quest for their trip to the WNBA Finals had come to a noble end, especially with Douglas, who had scored 51 points in the first two games of the series, out of action.