WNBA Finals | All eyes on Game 5


WNBA President Lauren Richie
WNBA President Laurel Richie

Not since 2009 has the WNBA championship series gone the distance. But what a fitting conclusion for America’s longest running women’s pro league. “[It’s] a very long and definitely exciting series,” proclaimed President Laurel Richie.

“Home court advantage can be huge if you make it huge,” noted Maya Moore on hosting the odd-numbered final game. “We’re going to come in with energy, passion and protect what we’ve worked so hard in the regular season to get.”

“This is a tough place to play,” added Indiana’s Briann January on playing on the Lynx’s home court.

She and Moore are vying for Finals MVP honors. “It’s going to be tough and we know they aren’t going to give us any games. We are going to work for it.”

“Each one of the eight teams that competed in the postseason had a legitimate chance of being here competing in the finals,” noted Richie prior to Game 2 in Minneapolis as she spoke to reporters, including the MSR. “I’m sure you’d all agree that it’s been an exciting postseason filled with some really gritty, gutsy team performances and some really outstanding individual performances.

“Elena Delle Donne and Maya Moore each logged 40-point games,” continued Madame President. “Brittney Griner set a single postseason game record with 11 blocks early on. Courtney Vandersloot tied the postseason single game record with 14 assists. And Tayler Hill tied the league postseason record with four made threes in a single quarter.”

Now Richie and the rest of the WNBA faithful eagerly await Game 5 in Minneapolis, as Minnesota and Indiana square off in the final elimination game of this postseason.

“I think [both teams] are equally matched in their will to win, and they have the track records to prove it,” said Richie. “The breadth of talent that they’re bringing forward I believe is the envy of every general manager and president within the league.”

Predictions aside, here’s a longtime WNBA beat writer’s pre-Game 5 quick analysis for each team, if they are to be the last team standing with the trophy Wednesday evening:

Host Minnesota:

  • Must attack the basket more with the dribble, put pressure on the lousy officials to make calls.
  • Need monster games from Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson, both of whom have had a subpar series thus far.
  • A repeat duel havoc-like performance of Game 2 from reserve guards Anna Cruz and Renee Montgomery, along with timely tough plays from Devereaux Peters is needed as well.
  • Lights out defense.

Visiting Indiana:

  • Keep the home crowd from being a sixth man by getting out of the box early, and force the Lynx to expend more energy in catching up.
  • Spread the offense, and hitting threes.
  • A confident shooting game from Marissa Coleman.
  • Stay out of foul trouble.

“Reaching the WNBA Finals is a huge, huge accomplishment,” said Richie, “and I think that’s never been truer than it is this season.”

The MSR will provide Game 5 post-game comments, notes and analysis on our web site.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.