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Dick Vitale Archive


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Expect Sparks to fly in WNBA Finals

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Aug. 28
The WNBA has tremendous enthusiasm and a great environment at its games! The intensity and electricity are something special.

I had a blast Monday night at Madison Square Garden, watching the Charlotte Sting and New York Liberty battle in the Eastern Conference finals. I even saw the NBA commissioner, David Stern, as well as my ESPN colleague, Robin Roberts. It was loads of fun!

Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie had a career-high 35 points Monday to power the Sparks to their first finals.
Charlotte has an impressive backcourt with the S&S gals -- Dawn Staley and Andrea Stinson. They can flat-out play! The Liberty did a great job defensively on Stinson, and that kept them in the game.

The big problem for New York was the inability to shoot the rock. Richie Adubato's team was stopped short of another trip to the WNBA finals. You have to give some of the credit to the Sting and their defensive effort.

One thing that amazed me was the unbelievable amount of contact on the interior. John Saunders and I talked about this off the air -- if you had that kind of contact in the men's game, there would be fights galore with the battling in the lane.


Now, let's look ahead to the championship series as the Los Angeles Sparks face the Sting (the Sparks beat the Sacramento Monarchs to win the West). The best-of-three series begins Thursday in Charlotte.

One interesting player to watch is Sting forward Allison Feaster, the former Harvard star. She hit a pair of monster trifectas Monday night to send the Liberty packing. Feaster has been an unsung hero for Charlotte, and she has added incentive as a former member of the Sparks.

It will be tough for the Sting to handle Sparks center Lisa Leslie, who scored 35 big points in the deciding game of the Western finals. Leslie was the league's PTPer and she's a sensational talent on the interior.

The Sting will give a supreme effort, and at any level of play -- high school, college or pro -- great guard play can give you a chance to win. Having experienced stars like Staley and Stinson gives Charlotte a shot. Anne Donovan has done a solid job in her first season coaching the Sting.

But in the end, it comes down to too much Lisa Leslie, as coach Michael Cooper and the league's best team in the regular season should cut down the nets.

I will say this: If you want to see execution and the fundamentals of how to play the game, the WNBA is a good place to go.

The Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden, told me at the Final Four that the best pure style of basketball is played by the women. He cited the way they cut and screen and make certain that the game is played in the proper fashion.

The WNBA is growing and growing, and the marketing job being done by the league is fantastic.

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