So I wasn’t so accurate in predicting this would be a compelling WNBA finals. Detroit swept San Antonio 3-0, and I’m not sure how many times these two teams would have to play each other at this point for the Silver Stars to win one.
Maybe I was just so excited to be visiting the Alamo City again that it got in the way of me realizing San Antonio was not going to compete well in this series. Who ever gets tired of seeing the Riverwalk? Or maybe it was wishful thinking.
But this wasn’t a very competitive series, overall. Yes, there were moments when San Antonio caught up to the Shock, but each time Detroit would push the Silver Stars away again.
Sunday’s Game 3 was in college town outside of Detroit: Ypsilanti, hope of Eastern Michigan. There’s a cool water tower there, finished in 1890 if I read the sign right when I was driving past, that kind of looks more like a giant silo.
The game was at EMU’s Convocation Center because Disney on Ice was filling up the Palace at Auburn Hills for one more day. The Palace isn’t exactly a terrific place for the WNBA – the crowd feels kind of far away – but it is home for the team. As it was, Sunday’s game felt weird, some kind of hybrid between a college atmosphere and a pro one.
The Shock didn’t care, though, and I suspect the fact that all these players have competed overseas in sometimes tiny places means that they really can adjust to any gym. As long as it has hoops.
Some WNBA followers are sure to suggest that these Finals were a real downer for the league because it was a sweep, and that LA would have made for a better opponent for Detroit. Certainly, if that had been the case, we could have revisited the July 22 brawl over and over.
I won’t argue that LA probably would have played Detroit better and possibly been able to extend the series to the distance, if not win it. Why, then, did the Sparks not beat San Antonio? Well, the Silver Stars just played their hearts out in that series, plus they got a big shot that was part luck/part skill from Sophia Young in winning Game 2.
That game seemed over, with LA heading to the Finals, but Young’s magic heave kept San Antonio alive. If the Sparks aren’t kicking themselves, they should be because they should have been in the Finals.
That said, I was happy the series was in San Antonio, and not JUST so I could wander the Riverwalk again and be enthralled at the schools of tiny fish, the talking/scolding birds and squirrels, and the belief that while the river is tamed for this stretch through town, it maintains its real river heart deep down and just “agreed” to be good for the purpose of civic prosperity.
No, it was more than my own personal pleasure that made me glad San Antonio made it this far. I think it was good for the league because it was good for this franchise. The Silver Stars drew more than 16,000 fans for the second game, before which there was a giant “Let’s Go Stars!” flying high from a crane in the parking lot of the AT&T Center.
Such a symbol of affection likely would not merit much notice nor mention in regard to the Spurs, but I thought it was an especially nice gesture for the Silver Stars. People who follow women’s sports tend not to take such things for granted. I smiled as I drove into view of the arena and saw it waving up there. Because it suggested some effort was taken – I mean, this is a BIG, BIG flag and crain _ to make the team feel supported.
Detroit, though, definitely was the best team in the league. The Shock could have won this game out on an asphalt playground and the players would have been happy, so eager were they to have the trophy back after it slipped from their grasp last year.
And if personnel stays relatively the same, these two teams will be in the thick of the hunt in 2009, too.