Atlanta Dream, Minnesota Lynx Tip WNBA Finals
By: Adam Markowitz
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Neither the Minnesota Lynx nor the Atlanta Dream have ever won the WNBA Championship before. However, one will become the 15th champion in the history of this league next week when the two meet up for a best-of-five series in the 2011 WNBA Finals.
Atlanta learned a lot last season in the WNBA Finals, falling to the Seattle Shock in a 3-0 series sweep in its first appearance in the championship series. All three games were close, as they were all decided by three points or fewer, and the experience gained in that series could be enough to propel it past the Lynx this year.
The Dream ranked No. 2 in the league in scoring this year at 82.5 PPG, and that has held true in the playoffs as well. They are averaging 81.8 PPG in the postseason and have a 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS mark to show for their work.
Angel McCoughtry was tied for the WNBA lead in scoring this year with Diana Taurasi at 21.6 PPG, and she continues to lead Atlanta here in the playoffs as well. She has put up 18.4 PPG in what has amounted to be a truly well-rounded scoring effort for the Dream.
Iziane Castro Marques, Lindsey Harding, Erika de Souza, Sancho Lyttle and Armintie Price have had fantastic postseasons as well. They are all averaging at least 9.8 PPG, and have been solid contributors for this squad.
Things are going to change this week though, as de Souza is going to be back with the squad after leaving the team for Brazilian national squad duties during the back end of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Lynx have woken up and are starting to play like the team that dominated the WNBA this past year. They struggled mightily with the San Antonio Silver Stars in the first round of the playoffs, but a match with the Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Finals proved to be no issue.
The two-game sweep featured an aggregate 198-153 score in Minnesota's favor.
This is a team that is just stacked from top to bottom in its starting lineup. Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Taj McWilliams-Franklin are all WNBA stars, and it is no shock that these four are carrying the load again in the playoffs as well.
Augustus has been good for 20.4 PPG, while the three others mentioned are each putting up at least a dozen points per game.
Rebekkah Brunson is nearly averaging a double-double per night, accounting for 9.4 PPG and 12.2 RPG.
These two teams only played each other twice on the season, and they did so in back-to-back games in the middle of June. The Lynx won both efforts in convincing fashion, winning the first game 96-85 at home and the second 77-64 on the road.
Games 1 and 2 will be played at the Target Center. The first clash will be on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. (ET), while Game 2 is set for Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. (ET). Games 3 and 4 will be held at Phillips Arena on Friday and Sunday, and if there is a need for a Game 5, it will be back at the Target Center on Wednesday, October 12.
Game 1 can be seen nationally on ESPN, while the other four games are scheduled to be on ESPN2.