The WNBA Finals tip off on Sunday, October 4th in Minnesota. The Finals are a best of five series. The next two sections will break down the Minnesota Lynx and the Indiana Fever.
Minnesota Lynx - Western Conference Champions
How the Lynx got there: The Lynx defeated the Phoenix Mercury two games to none. The second game had a controversial foul call in the last 1.3 seconds, which the league admitted it was an erroneous call a few days later.
Starting Roles: The Lynx have as strong of a starting five as anyone. Maya Moore is the leader, carrying this team on her back all season long. She saved the best for last with a 40-point performance in Game 2 of the Conference Finals. Seimone Augustus plays the sidekick role extremely well. She is explosive on both ends of the court and hits timely buckets. Lindsay Whalen is a coach on the floor, an extension of the staff and an excellent leader. Sylvia Fowles is the big this team lacked. Fowles is persistent on the boards, a force defensively and has enough offense to be considered a threat. Rebekkah Brunson is the unsung starter, a glue player who makes excellent decisions. Brunson, meanwhile, is an active rebounder who can score and play defense.
Off the Bench: Minnesota has some real weapons on its bench. Devereaux Peters, a third year player, has been at her most productive in the playoffs. Peters can play inside and gives Fowles and Brunson adequate rest without a major drop off. Rookie Anna Cruz has been excellent spelling the guards. Cruz can handle, dish and hit from outside. Not as deep as Indiana, the only other player who gets any minutes is guard Renee Montgomery.
Head Coach: Cheryl Reeve is a veteran coach who has been here before and won. Reeve does an outstanding job keeping an All-Star lineup happy and consistently gets the most out of her team on the defensive end.
Indiana Fever - Eastern Conference Champions
How the Fever got there: Indiana defeated the New York Liberty two games to one. The Fever lost the first game and won the last two, with the deciding game on the road. Indiana has won three road games in the playoffs this year.
Starting Roles: Veteran superstar Tamika Catchings is the best player and inspirational leader of this team. Catchings put the Fever on her back throughout the playoffs. Marissa Coleman has been clutch in the postseason, scoring and rebounding as well as being active on the defensive end. Coleman crushed the Liberty comeback attempt in Game 3 with some timely long-range bombs. Erlana Larkins has been outstanding inside and on the boards, and has excellent hands on the defensive end. Briann January and Shenise Johnson might be the best defensive backcourt in the league. They both get to a lot of loose balls and can pass as well as shoot. They don't turn the ball over much but usually get the better of the guards they play against.
Off the Bench: The Fever use their bench a bit more than the Lynx, but have tightened their rotation in the playoffs. Lynetta Kizer came back from an injury to be a key performer in the Conference Finals. Shavonte Zellous was a key backcourt performer, bringing the same defensive intensity and ball movement the starters did. Young forward Natasha Howard played well when other bigs were in foul trouble. Maggie Lucas and Natalie Achowna were key reserves during the regular season but have had limited roles in the playoffs.
Head Coach: In her first year in the head seat, Stephanie White has been outstanding. Her use of double pick and rolls befuddled the Liberty defense, and she had an answer for everything. White defeated two great coaches in the playoffs, including the WNBA Coach of the Year Bill Laimbeer. White is anything but a rookie coach.
Interesting Fact: This is the first WNBA Finals in the 19-year history of the league that features head coaches who were formerly WNBA players.