Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Guru's WNBA Playoff Musings: Chicago Already Champs When It Comes to Redemption

( Guru's note: The page view crush throughout the night and into the morning indicates you seem to want some Guru commentary on Chicago's win. So here you go. )

By Mel Greenberg

With a record of 29-5, itself a regular season league mark of distinction, the Phoenix Mercury would be considered to be the favorite against the Chicago Sky, making their first trip to the WNBA finals in two straight tries after going 0-for-7 in playoff appearance attempts following their 2006 debut as an expansion team in the league.

But then a year ago, everyone thought Phoenix, having picked up Brittney Griner out of Baylor as the overall No. 1 pick, would own the league – a forecast that got into trouble opening day on May 27, 2013, at the USA Airways Center in the Arizona desert where one Elena Delle Donne, the overall No. 2 pick, had the sixth best rookie debut, scoring 26 points as Chicago hammered the Mercury 102-80 on the way to the regular season ttitle in the East.

The former Delaware all-American became an unanimous choice for rookie of the year while Griner struggled with injuries before making a sensational leap in year two.

Though the Sky at 15-19 become the first WNBA team to reach the finals with a sub .500 record, the dubious distinction needs to have an asterisk affixed because the final game of the regular season was a throw-away, and considering the numerous injuries, one could find one or two games that might have gone the other way.

No matter what happens over the next week, the Chicago story is written from the top of the organization through the roster as one of redemption.

Start with owner Michael Alter, who jumped into the WNBA pool for all the right reasons in 2006 and continued to hang tough in the pre-Delle Donne era in the wake of enormous financial setbacks.

“I hope it works out for Michael because it’s been murder,” said a former league operative several years ago speaking of the Sky's financial plight as the prospect of gaining a stud pick loomed on the horizon.

Several year after Sky coach Pokey Chatman’s controversial exit from then-Final Four bound LSU, she was hired by Alter and has emerged as one of the brights in the WNBA on the sidelines.

Just as Seimone Augustus had to wait all those years until Minnesota blossomed and won two titles, so too has Sylvia Fowles, another LSU product, got to the promised land in Chicago from her overall No. 2 pick out of LSU behind Tennessee’s Candace Parker, who was taken by the Los Angeles Sparks, in 2008.

Former Rutgers great Epiphanny Prince knows about handling adversity, playing on a Scarlet Knights team that took all that early season abuse in 2006-07 and then mounted the fabled March Madness run to the NCAA title game in Cleveland before losing to Tennessee.

Then there’s the hometown girl, Allie Quigley, who played her college ball at DePaul’s nationally-recognized program, who bounced around several teams before becoming recipient of this season’s sixth-player award and was the cure Wednesday night for all the ills the Sky has been dealt by the Fever, especially in Indiana in the series between the two Midwest franchises.

“Funny story,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said in a phone conversation Wednesday night after Chicago wrapped up the series.

“We’re having the first session of our camp one summer in July and Allie is with us because she’s not in the league at that time and had to take some of the campers to a Sky game, which we do.”

Then we go on break so I can go out and do recruiting. Now we have our second session, it’s time to go to another game and this time Allie is on the court in uniform playing with Seattle.

“She’s one of those stories you see in the NBA where a player is on a team, gets cut, on another team, gets cut, and then blossoms.”

Tamera Young, yet another Colonial Athletic Association product, came out of James Madison to develop into a ferocious defender whose game does all her talking for her.

Courtney Vandersloot came back from a knee injury suffered in mid-summer in New York that seemed at the time to be of the season ending variety.

Jessica Breland, the former North Carolina star, has battled breast cancer.

Then there’s the Delle Donne saga.

If she stays out of basketball, for good, which she thought was going to be the case in switching from Uconn to Delaware to play volleyball, then maybe former Notre Dame great Skylar Diggins is with Chicago as the overall No. 2 pick instead of with the Tulsa Shock as their No. 3 overall last year.

This is now another comeback from Lyme Disease, which cost her playing time her sophomore season but she beat it back for the moment to carry Delaware into the national limelight from 2011-2013.

Her 34 points in the third and deciding game in Atlanta in the conference semifinals is a signature moment as Chicago rallied to take its first playoff series and then rallied again in the conference finals, taking Game 2 in double overtime before winning Game 3 in Indiana to advance to the finals.

Just as was the case at Delaware, Delle Donne’s teammates learned to play with her and without her, to the point that while she missed most of the second half Wednesday due to back problems, the Sky willed their way to triumph.

Whatever lies ahead or doesn’t lie ahead in terms of a championship trophy, Chicago has already earned their hardware in the game of life.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 11.03
michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, louboutin shoes, chanel handbags, michael kors, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louboutin uk, michael kors outlet store, ray ban sunglasses, uggs on sale, christian louboutin, burberry outlet, cheap jordans, longchamp bags, louis vuitton outlet online, oakley sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, kate spade, ralph lauren polo, louis vuitton, louis vuitton handbags, tory burch outlet, ralph lauren outlet, replica watches, uggs on sale, nike outlet, kate spade outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet online, prada outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, uggs outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors handbags, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, coach outlet, prada handbags, burberry factory outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin

10:53 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

sac guess pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max uk, polo ralph lauren uk, ralph lauren pas cher, true religion jeans, nike roshe uk, longchamp pas cher, burberry pas cher, polo lacoste pas cher, abercrombie and fitch UK, mulberry uk, hermes pas cher, lululemon outlet, nike air max uk, michael kors, coach purses, michael kors outlet online, nike blazer pas cher, coach outlet, louboutin pas cher, jordan pas cher, lunette ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, hollister uk, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp uk, longchamp soldes, nike free pas cher, abercrombie, coach outlet store online, nike air force, lunette oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, nike trainers uk, nike air max, converse, true religion outlet, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, michael kors, new balance, nike roshe run pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, north face uk, vanessa bruno pas cher, nike air max pas cher, nike air huarache

11:00 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike roshe run, iphone 6 cases, nike air max, iphone 6 plus cases, jimmy choo outlet, hermes handbags, reebok outlet, soccer shoes, iphone 5s cases, soccer jerseys, iphone cases, insanity workout, babyliss pro, vans outlet, oakley, mcm handbags, instyler ionic styler, north face outlet, beats by dre, nfl jerseys, herve leger, vans scarpe, valentino shoes, lululemon outlet, s6 cases, mont blanc, iphone 6s cases, ghd hair, wedding dresses, iphone 6s plus cases, chi flat iron, ipad cases, salvatore ferragamo, asics running shoes, celine handbags, ray ban, hollister clothing, giuseppe zanotti, gucci, abercrombie and fitch, bottega veneta, timberland boots, polo ralph lauren, new balance shoes, nike air max, p90x workout, hollister, louboutin, north face outlet, mac cosmetics, softball bats, converse

12:37 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, doke & gabbana, barbour, canada goose jackets, pandora uk, moncler pas cher, coach outlet, sac louis vuitton, pandora charms, converse shoes outlet, moncler, canada goose pas cher, karen millen uk, bottes ugg pas cher, barbour jackets uk, juicy couture outlet, sac louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, michael kors outlet online, thomas sabo uk, moncler outlet, michael kors handbags, swarovski jewelry, supra shoes, canada goose, moncler, links of london uk, moncler jackets, swarovski uk, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora jewelry, ugg uk, juicy couture outlet, moncler, michael kors outlet, lancel, wedding dresses uk, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler uk, pandora jewelry, canada goose jackets, louis vuitton, louis vuitton uk, replica watches, toms shoes, canada goose uk, canada goose, marc jacobs
ninest123 11.03

12:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home