On the eve of the Storm and the Phoenix Mercury tipping off their playoff series, here’s what they’re saying.
The latest “Dishin’ it” with Sue Bird in the Seattle Times gets Bird’s take on the favorite going into the playoffs, naptime and more.
Q. What’s your biggest fear?
Bird: I’m not a real big fan of sharks. I don’t really go too deep. It’s one thing when you’re in a lake, swimming out is no problem. I love water skiing, even though I haven’t done that in like 10 years because we can’t — it’s in our contract. But when it comes to the ocean, I never liked to go out far where I couldn’t touch.
There’s something about sharks that freaks me out. I do NOT watch Shark Week.
Also in the Times, Percy Allen takes a look at Lauren Jackson’s health.
When asked if she has recovered from the hip surgery that stole most of her season, Lauren Jackson chuckled.
“Definitely I’m not 100 percent yet,” she said. “But I’m getting there. That’s the main thing.”
In his inimitable style, richyyy looks at the matchup between the Storm and the Mercury on WNBAlien.
While they ended up right next to each other in the standings, these teams are an exhibition in contrasts. The league’s slowest-paced team (and Seattle took it by a mile this year) faces its second-fastest (Atlanta once again finished just ahead of Phoenix in possessions per game). Seattle’s #1-ranked defense faces Phoenix’s #1 offense (it’s #9 offense vs. #10 defense at the other end, but that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive).
On ESPN.com, Michelle Smith has a video preview of the Storm and the Mercury.
SwishAppeal’s Nate Parham finishes up his look at WNBA awards by picking unconventional All-Defensive Teams that include two Storm players with two more as honorable mention.
Essence Carson vs. Tanisha Wright: Wright and Carson epitomize what makes defensive awards so difficult – both had huge defensive games for their teams on more than one occasion that can’t be ignored, but don’t necessarily have numbers to support the effort. So how then do we choose Wright over Carson? I edited this out of our initial discussion, I initially had Carson on my first team and then switched it 10 minutes late simply because if defense is an every play thing Wright playing more minutes matters. That’s not a strike against Carson, but has to be taken into consideration that Wright is usually assigned the top opposing perimeter player for a longer period of time.
The Associated Press writes about Ashley Robinson’s fine performance as a starter this season.
While some might have thought the Storm would falter during yet another injury-related absence for Jackson, Robinson helped them go 6-6 during those 12 games by averaging 5 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. That included her first career double-double — 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 78-69 loss at Chicago in her first start of those 12 games.
“I’m no Lauren, so I just do what I do,” Robinson said. “I’m tall and I’m athletic, so I rebound, run the floor, play good ‘D’ and try to finish my easy shots. It was simple, just go do my job.”
On the other side, Odeen Domingo writes about the importance of the Mercury using all its weapons in the Arizona Republic.
The Mercury seemed to have that in the first half of the season. They had seven games where three or more players scored at least 15 points each and were just a half-game out of first place in the West at the All-Star Break. But after the break, the Mercury had just four of those games.
“That’s what we’re hoping for more in the playoffs,” Mercury President and General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale said. “The shots are there. I think the offense is run very well. We still led the league in assists. The offense is doing what it’s supposed to do. They’re executing. Now they just have to finish. Players on this team have had open looks. We can score. These players are capable of doing it.”