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Topic: Angel McCoughtry

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October 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Minnesota is poised to sweep Atlanta for a WNBA championship…again

UPDATE: Atlanta showed more fight in Game 3. But the Dream also made some curious decisions late in the fourth quarter, costing them a chance to avoid elimination in the WNBA Finals. Instead it was posts Janel McCarville (10 points and three assists) and Rebekkah Brunson (15 points and 12 rebounds) making repeated highlight plays to assure Minnesota its second championship in three years with an 86-77 road win on Thursday. Lynx F Maya Moore was named Finals MVP, “We were just too much for them,” she said. The victory parade is Monday. Washington connections in rookie PG Lindsey Moore, a former Kentwood HS star, and Lynx assistant coach Shelley Patterson, a standout PG at Washington State, were key pieces to the title run. Congrats at all…

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I’m really disappointed in this WNBA Finals matchup between Minnesota and Atlanta. Not because I bought into any false hype. The pieces are there for Atlanta to avoid a sweep but it’s so disappointing to watch All-Star Angel McCoughtry attempt to do everything herself and the Dream as a whole ditch what got it to the WNBA Finals anyway.

The Storm’s one-bucket loss to the Lynx in Game 2 of the opening-round series has me convinced the only way to defeat Minnesota is to never think about scoring. Seriously. The objective should completely be on stopping the Lynx defensively. Not that it’ll be easy, but Seattle kept All-Star Seimone Augustus to 2-for-10 shooting through three quarters before she hit a killer jumper to regain the lead en route to Minnesota’s win. In fact, it was F Rebekkah Brunson who had to win Game 2 late for the Lynx. Seattle’s entire game plan was defense-first and it almost worked, holding Minnesota to 58 points. The 58-55 win remains the only competitive game Minnesota has played this postseason.

McCoughtry and crew have that capability, already forcing 20 turnovers in Game 2 on Tuesday. Instead, the lack of focus on defense is naturally allowing the Lynx to put on a show offensively — and what a jaw-dropping show they’ve displayed. The shoot-first mentality the Dream appear to have is McCoughtry going solo early in the shot clock that just creates a turnover or missed opportunity. I give you Air Maya (Moore) as an example.

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Comments | More in Northwest Ballers, Video | Topics: Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore

October 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM

WNBA Finals set: Maya Moore vs. Angel McCoughtry in best-of-five series on ESPN networks

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Minnesota F Maya Moore shoots a jumper PHOTO: Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times

Now that the kids have been dismissed, the WNBA’s proven stars can prepare for an intriguing WNBA Finals matchup. Two of the league’s top-5 scorers in Maya Moore (Minnesota) and Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta) will lead their teams in a best-of-five Finals that tips Sunday at 5:30 pm (PT) on ESPN.

If I had trusted my gut, the Western side would have been my preseason pick to make it this far. Instead, I was one of many sucked into the WNBA’s “Three to See” hype in draft picks Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, and Skylar Diggins. While Delle Donne did lead Chicago to the regular-season Eastern Conference title (my prediction), Diggins’ Tulsa didn’t even advance to the postseason and Griner’s Phoenix was swept by Minnesota.

The Lynx (4-0) were ticked at the early predictions, using its own “Three to See” campaign for Moore, G Seimone Augustus and PG Lindsay Whalen. Win the 2013 title and the trio can dust off that dynasty talk it tried to self-proclaim in 2011 when the Lynx won its first championship.

The definition of a dynasty in sports is to win multiple, successive championships and the Lynx fell 3-1 to Indiana for the 2012 WNBA title. But Minnesota has won three consecutive conference championships to join luminaries Detroit (2006-08), Los Angeles (2001-03) and Houston (1997-2000).

A possible “dynasty” just in time for legend Tina Thompson’s exit, the last member of the WNBA’s original dynasty. Her Comets won the league’s inaugural four championships — a feat untouched. Competition has improved so much, modern teams can’t even manage back-to-back titles. The Sparks were the last to do so in 2001-02. McCoughtry’s Dream (4-1) swept the defending champion Fever to advance to the Finals.

Successive trips to the Finals isn’t bad for a Minnesota team once just a trivia answer to what team was Seattle playing when PG Sue Bird broke her nose (bonus points if you can name the player). Whalen had experience, losing to the 2004 Storm team for the WNBA championship and making five trips to the Finals overall in her 10-year career. The difference-maker for the Lynx is Moore.

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Comments | More in TV Alert | Topics: Angel McCoughtry, Cheryl Reeve, Maya Moore