If you are a WNBA team season ticket holder, you almost definitely will have a weekday matinee during the summer months. In Washington, these games are colloquially known as the "kiddie games" where summer camps full of young children get to enjoy a lunchtime basketball game. Today, the action starts with a matinee game in Atlanta against Indy starting at noon ET, 9 AM PT. If you aren't in Atlanta, you may watch this game on LiveAccess at your own risk if you're at work, and you don't want the IT department trying to figure out who is slowing down the internet because you don't want to get in trouble for it.
This evening, on ESPN2 and ESPN3, we head to DC to see the Mystics play the Storm on the second game of a home and home. One game WILL NOT be on LiveAccess live tonight, which will be the Sparks playing on the road against the Shock. I assume that it's because the league wants to maximize ratings for the Mystics-Storm game.
Game 1: Indiana Fever (7-4) at Atlanta Dream (5-7), 12 PM ET/9 AM PT
Today is the Dream's kids game day, and like many kids games, there could be a boost to home court advantage as the kids scream for the home team in large numbers.
On the hoops front, while it looks like this will be another game billed as the third matchup between Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas vs. Angel McCoughtry, I have been impressed with Dream forward Sancho Lyttle's play over the last several games, where she has scored in double figures in each of her last five, and has grabbed at least seven rebounds in all but two of her games in June.
For Indiana, Erin Phillips has certainly been a spark for the Fever, since she scored in double digits in each of her last three games. Brianna January also has been a consistent scorer too this season, scoring at least 10 points in all of her last five games and in fact she has scored at least 8 points or more every game this month.
One more important thing to note about Atlanta and its schedule, and with the kids in town, this is an even bigger reason why the Dream must win. This is the last game in Philips Arena for the Dream before the Olympic break. The next eight games for them are on the road, and this includes two games on the road after the post-Olympic break is over. The Dream may still be in playoff contention because of its record, but it needs to build a winning streak of some sort in order to solidify that position, and this game is a good time to do that.
If you are in Atlanta, turn on SPSO to watch this game. If you can watch this game (I can't), this will be the game of the day.
Game 2: Seattle Storm (5-7) at Washington Mystics (2-8), 7 PM ET/4 PM PT
Safe to say that when a team makes 56% of its shots, and the opposing team makes less than 35% of its shots, the score will be a blow out. It was, but it was only over the course of the game. As a Mystics fan there is the glass half full and glass half empty situation here.
The glass half full tells me that the score could have been much closer, because the Mystics grabbed 13 offensive boards vs. the Storm's 2 (all by Ann Wauters). However, the glass half empty says two things. The Mystics had more offensive rebounds (and 15 more shots than the Storm) yet failed to convert on the majority of them. Second, if the Mystics didn't have such a large offensive rebound advantage, the Storm would have blown out the Mystics by well over 30 points even if their overall FG% dropped a little bit because they would have had more shots. If Langhorne was kept from scoring many points on top of that, the Mystics would have been blown out in worse fashion than the Sparks game.
This WaPo article basically shows just how bad the Mystics have been from 2011 on. They have matched the record of the 1998 and 1999 Mystics teams' records over the course of 44 games. Those seasons just happen to be the first two seasons ever in Mystics history as an expansion team. Nothing to be proud of here if you're a Mystics fan.
For the Storm, it starts a four game road trip, with the first three games on the east coast, starting in Chinatown. After tonight, Seattle will play NY on Saturday, and then Connecticut the day after to kick off July games. On July 7, the Storm will play the Sparks. At least two of these first three games (DC and NY) are definitely winnable on paper and they will get the Storm back to .500. The only bad part is that the Storm hasn't been good on the road, well, at least not yet.
The game is on ESPN2 as I said before,
and both teams will don Title IX jerseys. You may think that today is the Mystics' promotional Title IX night but it isn't. That will be next Sunday, July 1 against the Mercury. So therefore, the Mystics will essentially have two Title IX game days.
Update at 11 PM: Teams wore normal jerseys, my error. In the beginning it was anticipated that both teams will wear the jerseys.
Update: Okay, this article came up last Saturday, so it's now old news, but it is still worth mentioning three days late, not to mention that the Mystics are playing the Storm again, and both teams flew back together on the same flight! Nate already showed a link that Mystics center Ashley Robinson gave a hello video to the Storm Crazies. Well, her happiness to be back in Emerald City for a few days was certainly not unnoticed by Mystics players in this artlcle from Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times. A-Rob also said "Work can suck sometimes" in regards to her lack of playing time, and maybe even the situation of her new team. I don't want to read too much into this, but it doesn't put the Mystics in a positive light either.
Will I go to this game? Yes, I will and I hope we can play competitively. However, this game won't be an exciting event, Lang double double or no Lang double double, Sue Bird or no Sue Bird, and John Wall cameo or no John Wall cameo. Unless you're a Storm Crazy based in Washington, DC and going to this game (and I don't blame you really, only if you're from Seattle), this game may very well feel like a funeral if the game is not competitive. Next exciting event in Verizon Center is this Thursday for the NBA Draft Party, where the Washington Wizards will select third (at least on Tuesday morning at 8:20 AM).
Game 3: LA Sparks (10-4) at Tulsa Shock (1-11), 8 PM ET/7 PM CT and Local Time/5 PM PT
The Sparks look to bounce back into the Win Column after losing Sunday to the Stars at home by 20 points. The Shock looks to get another win at home and play a more competitive game tonight than last Wednesday when these two teams last met.
For LA, they just need to forget about the SA loss and move on. They blew out DC last week and then get blown out themselves by the Stars on Sunday. It happens all the time in professional basketball. Any team can win any night because the talent disparity isn't that great. Either way, I am very impressed with Carol Ross' coaching all season long. Sure, she had a talented roster to begin with starting with Candace Parker and she got another top draft pick in Nneka Ogwumike, but she still has the Sparks playing at a high level in most of their games this season.
For Tulsa, Glory Johnson and Temeka Johnson will need to continue playing at a high level in order to keep the game close and perhaps steal one away from LA. In addition, Courtney Paris has already shown to be a low post presence that the Shock needs in her short time here. I hope that Coach Klop can find a better role for Kayla Pedersen however, one where she can actually stay in one role and excel at it, because she seems to be placed in a wide variety of roles on the court. I know we've had some comments in previous open threads about which role would be best for her in the long term, so I'm throwing that out there.
This game will not be on LiveAccess during the broadcast, but an archive of the game may be available on Wednesday. Unless we're at the BOK Center, we will just have to deal with the box scores.
So that is all friends.
Have better detailed analysis on the players of all the teams? Want to show your homerism? Do it on this thread, and enjoy the games, whether you're at work, at home, or in the arena.