To no one's surprise the two teams that were favorited by everyone, coveted as super-teams before either roster even arrived to their respective training camps, and basically the teams that broke the W are on their way to the WNBA finals to play each other tomorrow. Of course my Vegas bias aside, this best of 5 series will be absolutely insane. Vegas and NY were both the #1 and #2 in every major statistic category for the regular season. Both teams broke and set many W records and both are just loaded with talent. The Aces look to be the first team in 20 years to go back to back in the W, and the Liberty after 20 long years away from the finals want their very first ring. Both teams want to prove they're not just a failed experiment. So who wins?
Neither team disappointed in this regular season. The Aces and Liberty were first and second overall in the regular season respectively. The Aces finished 34-6 while the Liberty finished 32-8. The teams technically split their head-to-head matchup 2-2, however I will be including the Liberty's Commissioner's cup win since I was there to watch it live. This puts the Liberty up 3-2. Both teams not only lived up to their expectations coming into the regular season but far exceeded them, they both lived up to their preseason hype.
So the Aces had a clean sweep on their road to the finals. The Liberty however had a slightly more difficult path having to play 2 more games to get to the finals. I know that's not a massive drain on the Liberty, and with the finals taking place a week after the Liberty's last game. I can see how possibly the Aces have had too much rest, but with how banged up we are the more rest for our gals the better. But I can also see the extra 2 games, in an already "extended" regular season could add extra fatigue on the Liberty, but again there is that sweet spot of rest the Liberty could take advantage of. Now before I forget the reason I say extended in parentheses. Is because this year the league went from 36 to 40 regular season games. I mean it is factual that the regular season was extended, but it's still only 4 more games. It's not like we jumped from 36 to say 50 games. It was a very realistic jump for the girls, to give the fans more games without sacrificing player health.
Unfortunately for my Aces, New York is undoubtably the deeper team. Between Candice Parker's injury, Williams rightfully not playing for the team (and I hope she never plays for us ever again), and the rest of the gals just aren't. Now New York on the other hand, they have the reigning MVP Breanna Stewart, absolute snipers like, and the size down low with Stefanie Dolson and Jonquel Jones to really bother A'ja Wilson. Now I know rotations tighten up in the playoffs. Which benefits the Aces, but still depth will always scare me. Also with Stewart being the regular season MVP, she'll most certainly have a chip on her shoulder proving herself against last year's MVP A'ja Wilson. Truly an electric match-up.
The Aces can't stop making history. This finals series, is the first time in WNBA history where former players will be coaching against each other in. The Aces do have Becky Hammon, last year's Coach of the year. But don't put any disrespect Sandy Brondello's name. She also has a ring and a coach of the year under her belt. She also helped the Liberty take control of the regular season match up.
Of course I'm bias and I have to remain bias. This series will go 5 games, and I can see it going either way. There's too much talent on both teams to have this series be one sided either which way. However, I will still take my Aces. I believe our experience, chemistry, and home court advantage will help us seal the deal. The Vegas fans are nothing to be trifled with, sure the Liberty fans will be an incredible source of energy. But Vegas has proven both in the W and the NHL, we defend our house. That one extra game of home court advantage will help us immensely. This series could legitimately be the start of the WNBA's version of the "Bird Vs Magic" era of the NBA. Both teams are young, hungry, loaded with talent, and are ready to fight tooth and nail for the upcoming years to build not only their own history but the WNBA as a whole. I emplore you if you're reading this, tune in and support the gals!
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