So did the Indiana Fever beat the Phoenix Mercury 93-84 in Game 2 because they played better defense or because the Mercury simply had an off shooting night?
Well, I suppose it depends on who you ask.
If you’re pulling for the Mercury, you could dismiss the Fever’s defense by saying the Mercury just had an off night.
Phoenix Mercury Fall to the Indiana Fever in Disappointing Game 2 of the WNBA Finals - Phoenix News - Valley Fever
Tonight, neither team was particularly stellar on defense, but the Fever made more shots. The Mercury couldn't win the game shooting less than 40% from the field. They certainly won't win the championship that way. Thank god this was only the second game in a five-game series.
Conversely, if you’re pulling for the Fever, you might have noticed differences in the Fever’s defensive approach.
Catchings, Fever Slow Down Mercury To Even Series - Sports News Story - WRTV Indianapolis
Game 1 featured the highest scoring matchup in league history, but Catchings -- the WNBA's Defensive Player of the Year -- helped Indiana hold Phoenix to 39.7 percent shooting and 13 points fewer than its playoff scoring average.
Either way, the theme that seemed to come up among players on both teams was energy, whether it be bringing the energy...
Tamika Catchings, team effort carry Indiana Fever past Phoenix Mercury - ESPN
As good as Catchings was, though, it was as important that the Fever as a team gave such a complete effort. "Everybody came in with an enormous amount of energy," Douglas said. "And anytime that you can have so many people make solid contributions, good things happen.
...or lacking energy.
Fever Withstand Heat, Top Mercury in Game 2 -- NBA FanHouse
"Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't and that's the way it goes sometimes," Taurasi said. "There is no panic. There is no second guessing of any sorts." The Mercury can afford to come across as unfazed by a costly loss. Phoenix has lost two in a row only once this season. "We didn't play with that sense of urgency," Taurasi said. "And now we have to get that back. We have two days to prepare. The home court is on their side now. They get to go home with two to close it out. Series can swing either way really quick."
But of course the big story is that in stealing a game on the road, the Fever have now stolen home court advantage from the Mercury.
Fever tie series; Catchings barely misses triple-double | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star
"To be able to steal a game on the road in the WNBA Finals is just huge," Douglas said. "It shows the character of this team, the leadership, the composure." It showed what the players call Fever defense. The Mercury shot an uncharacteristic 39.7 percent. During the regular season, Phoenix was 2-10 when scoring under 90 points. All-WNBA stars Diana Taurasi (7-of-22) and Cappie Pondexter (5-of-16) never got in rhythm. The outcome contrasted to the league-record 120 points by the Mercury in Game 1.
And once again, it was the supporting cast that played a major role for the Fever.
Bench players make the difference | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star
January scored 16 points and Davenport 10 in the Fever’s 93-84 victory over the Phoenix Mercury. They were key figures in a third-quarter surge in which the Fever enlarged their lead to 17 points. "We continue to talk about our bench, and somebody steps up every night," Tamika Catchings said. " ‘Dav’ came out tonight, she hit some key shots. They couldn’t stop her.
Unfortunately, Mercury forward Penny Taylor was forced to leave the game after taking an elbow from January on a fast break.
Taylor hurt as Fever soar to WNBA win
But Taylor took an elbow to the face with 3:33 left in the third quarter that left her with a cut lip and she played little part the rest of the way as the Fever claimed the victory. After the game, Phoenix coach Corey Gaines wasn't sure of Taylor's status. "I haven't talked to the doctors so I don't know exactly what's wrong, so I don't want to say something I don't know for sure," he said. "I know for sure she'll play next game. "I know Penny Taylor, she'll play the next game, for sure, 100 per cent."
After what was reported as profuse bleeding, Taylor is expected to be back for Game 3 in Indianapolis.
Phoenix's Taylor expects to play in Game 3 - ESPN
Taylor left the game and did not return. Two team physicians and the team dentist attended to her, according to Mercury spokesman Eric Barkyoumb. He said Taylor's inner mouth was cut and one of her two front teeth was displaced. Taylor's tooth was pulled back into place, and a bonding agent was put on it. A temporary retainer was put in, too, to keep the tooth in place. Her laceration also was stitched up. On Friday, a special mouthpiece will be made for Taylor to wear on court.
Again, if you like basketball, this series is worth watching. It's just a matter of appreciating it on its own terms.
11 Points - A Blog of Lists by Sam Greenspan. Funny lists, movie lists, sports lists, top lists. So, basically, lists.
What the WNBA has: Hard-working players who make the same salaries as most of the fans... players who actually have mid-range game... plenty of close games with clutch endings... $20 tickets for good seats... and even some budding superstars. If you're going to watch it, watch it for that... don't sit and wait for an NBA game to break out, because it's not going to.
But when it comes down to it, it's just good basketball.
Thank you, Corey Gaines - Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
"There's no difference between coaching men and women. We're coaching basketball players. When a woman's a doctor, you treat her as a doctor. When a woman's a lawyer, you treat her as a lawyer. When a woman's a basketball player, you treat her as a basketball player.
This just in: Phoenix Stan will be traveling to Indiana for Game 3! Who says nobody cares about the WNBA?
In other semi-related news:
Remember that non-answer WNBA president Donna Orender gave about considering the LPGA? Well the LPGA has an exciting story of its own going on, with 14-year-old Alexis Thompson a shot back of the lead in the Navistar LPGA Classic...and two strokes ahead of Michelle Wie.
Thompson, a ninth-grader from Coral Springs, Fla., won the 2008 U.S. Girls' Junior and tied for 34th in July in the U.S. Women's Open.
Thompson made a late decision to travel to Alabama to attempt to qualify. Event officials canceled a Tuesday qualifier when enough spots opened up to add all qualifier participants. "My dad was like, 'You want to go and try to qualify for this event?' " Thompson said. "I was like, 'Yeah, sure, why not?' "