October 12, 2004

Meanwhile, a champion was crowned tonight...: Congratulations to the 2004 WNBA champions, who won in convincing fashion in the deciding game of the series (spoiler inside).

posted by hincandenza to basketball at 10:47 PM - 13 comments

That champion being the Seattle Storm, who when they won this year it seemed to be in convincing fashion. Tonight was no different, as they rebounded from a 68-64 Game 1 loss by ekeing out a last second 67-65 Game 2 victory, before thoroughly thrashing the Connecticut Sun 74-60 in the deciding Game 3. Betty Lennox, who bounced around the league after being the 2000 Rookie of the Year, performed heroically in all 3 games, averaging 22 points in being named the MVP of the series. For those who doubt that the WNBA can ever make a go of it: it's worth noting that Seattle fans packed Key Arena to full capacity with 17,0720 fans for the final two games.

posted by hincandenza at 10:56 PM on October 12, 2004

Cool stuff... Women's sports and, in particular, basketball, has come a long ways. I don't see it on Yahoo!, yet, though it's bound to get more press tomorrow...I hope! - slackerman

posted by slackerman at 11:31 PM on October 12, 2004

Way to go Homegirls! The local media definitely jumped on the story recently. Maybe we'll even have a parade... 17,0720 fans We know what you mean, Hal :)

posted by vito90 at 02:35 AM on October 13, 2004

The Sun's chance was in game 2, where Mike Thibault, who wasn't born last night, managed his team's schedule and travel in such a way as to give them a little extra rest. The Sun won game 1 by being able to play with an intensity that the Storm couldn't match, and they nearly did it again in game 2. Splendid series with two teams who'd never been there before, and I'm especially proud with the way the Sun really came together in the latter part of the season. Those girls are fierce, and is there a better player anywhere than Nykesha Sales when things get tough? The Sun barely finished first in the East this year; next year, I predict, they will be much more dominant. And Seattle, bless them, has decisively burst the LA Sparks bubble. I love it -- the Sparks weren't even good enough to play the Storm this go-around! Siddown, Lisa Leslie, Betty Lennox and Cool Kesh are in the house!!!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:38 AM on October 13, 2004

I must say, that was some of the finest basketball I've seen. The passing, the selflessness, the pace, all fantastic. Consider me a new WNBA fan. Congrats!

posted by adampsyche at 07:35 AM on October 13, 2004

For those who doubt that the WNBA can ever make a go of it: it's worth noting that Seattle fans packed Key Arena to full capacity with 17,0720 fans for the final two games. Our Washington Mystics don't always play up to expectations, but they do sell lots of tickets, and my wife and I try to go to a couple of games a year. In fact, I would say we see more WNBA games a year than we do any other sport. Mostly because the tickets are affordable, the venue (MCI Center) is easy to get to, and, honestly, the players give their all. Which is more than I can say about some sports. Congrats to the Storm. Next year, Alana Beard will take the Mystics to the top! ;)

posted by scully at 07:46 AM on October 13, 2004

Our Washington Mystics don't always play up to expectations, but they do sell lots of tickets The Sun pack 'em in too, and they've only been there for two seasons -- it was a good choice of locations, in a venue with a lot of women's hoops fans. As for affordability, the WNBA really is one of the best bargains in sports for seeing top-level players for a really low price. When I checked seats online for game 1 of the Storm and Sun, and found that I could get a midcourt seat just a few rows in for $50. For the league final. And ordinary games and less-choice seats are much, much cheaper. Next summer, when the WNBA All-Star Game comes to Mohegan Sun, I'm going to drag a bunch of local kids to the game -- I'm hoping we can get some access to the players, too, which is something we could never hope for in an NBA game.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:06 AM on October 13, 2004

terrapin: don't they take away your diploma for cheering for a Dukie? :)

posted by tieguy at 09:37 AM on October 13, 2004

17,0720 fans We know what you mean, Hal :) No, seriously, it was packed- they say a almost a 1/3 of the entire Seattle population showed up! People were sitting on each other's laps, 8, 9 people to a seat! I would think that violated fire codes or something. Traffic was a real nightmare leaving the stadium...

posted by hincandenza at 01:18 PM on October 13, 2004

terrapin: don't they take away your diploma for cheering for a Dukie? :) I almost added that tieguy :)

posted by scully at 01:11 PM on October 14, 2004

When I was in New York last month, I saw the crowd leaving a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden. It was really nice to see so many little girls excited about the sport! Like a lot of guys, I've been mildly annoyed by all the ads pimping the league... but seeing girls so excited that they're literally jumping up and down instantly changed my mind. I'm glad they have role models and a venue for the best female players. Maybe something similar will change Aaron Gleeman's mind, because right now, he is not convinced:

Headline of the Week

From ESPN.com:

It took 25 years, but Seattle finally has another champion.
Turns out that headline, which sat atop ESPN.com's front page for parts of both Tuesday and Wednesday, was referring to a team called the "Seattle Storm" that beat a team called the "Connecticut Sun" for the 2004 WNBA championship.

I've long been fascinated by ESPN, ABC and NBC (back when they had basketball) cramming the WNBA down our throats with tons of commercials and featured programming. Of the many hardcore sports fans I know and speak to on a daily basis, I've never heard a single one talk about the WNBA in anything even resembling a positive way, yet the league is tied in with the NBA on TV constantly, it is made a part of the NBA's "All-Star Weekend" every year, and it gets top billing on ESPN.com.

Even more than that, the thing that struck me from the above headline is the amazing audacity of the ESPN.com headline writer who wrote that "Seattle finally has another championship" when referring to the WNBA. It's like putting "Boston finally ends World Series drought after 86 years" front and center on ESPN.com after a team from Massachusetts wins the Little League World Series.

Now, before you send me those angry e-mails, I just want to say that I have no problem with women's sports. I have two young female cousins who are great athletes and make sports a big part of their lives, and I think it's wonderful. However, I do have a problem with a product being repeatedly forced on us, year after year, despite the fact that the viewing public has made it quite clear that, relatively speaking, we're not interested.

The WNBA just isn't the NBA, no matter how many coed shooting contests we're forced to sit through before the dunk and three-point contests come on. The "Seattle Storm" winning a championship isn't going to make the city of Seattle feel like any sort of drought has ended, because the majority of the people there couldn't care less about the WNBA. In fact, I didn't even know there even was a "Seattle Storm" until I started to complain about that headline.

posted by dusted at 01:51 PM on October 14, 2004

Maybe something similar will change Aaron Gleeman's mind, because right now, he is not convinced: Minds only operate when open, and his is firmly closed, just like Moron the Mad Dog. If his mind ever changes, it'll probably be when he has a daughter, and he finally learns that girls and women are human, and he starts to see the way she's put down and derogated and denied opportunities, and it starts to piss him off. You know what irritates me? Knuckle-draggers like this who bitch about things being "forced" on them, while at the same time forcing their tastes on everybody else by claiming to speak for "the viewing public". Don't want to watch? Change the channel, caveman. But don't tell the rest of us that we don't want to watch, either.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:16 PM on October 14, 2004

What lbb said. Gleeman's a good baseball writer, but that doesn't make him a good sports commentator. And all of these knuckle draggers make such a huge fuss about the very existence of the WNBA, but you don't exactly see them whining when ESPN cuts to Kobayashi wolfing down dogs, or does the Spelling Bee contest. It's not that the WNBA is not as popular as the NBA that concerns them (and to be honest, I don't think the WNBA ever will be)- they are just afraid to admit to themselves they're threatened by women getting media coverage for excelling at traditionally "manly" pursuits, and cover it up with useless blather about ratings and "no one caring". The dingbats don't even realize that the NBA itself, for example, was a mediocre performer in terms of attendance for many teams before David Stern, along with the Bird-Magic rivalry, started working on the TV partnership and marketing juggernaut that has turned it into a top sport. Look at some of those numbers from the 70's and early 80's. I don't hear the Gleeman's boasting about that. The WNBA may not reach that point, but it's attendance numbers aren't that bad for a fairly fledgling league. Someone's watching these games, even if it's not Gleeman.

posted by hincandenza at 01:46 PM on October 15, 2004

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