Beard saved Game 1 of the 2016 WNBA Finals between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx from being a close shave.
Hitting the bullseye at the Target Centre buzzer, L.A.’s Alana Beard drew a bead on Minny’s Maya Moore in the corner and drilled home a clutch three at point blank range with just seconds to spare as she slid back downtown.
As the Sparks shocked the defending champions and top seeded Lynx team 78-76 for one in the win column they took a commanding lead in the best of five Finals series. Expect this one to go to the wire though for the two teams who began this season with 11 game unbeatable records until they faced off with each other.
Minnesota prevailed in that one but Alana made sure that would never happen again as the number zero got her Nick Young, purple and gold Lakers brotherhood on and showed some downtown swag. The only thing she didn’t do was step over Olympic Gold winning great Maya Moore like Allen Iverson did to Tyronn Lue in the 2002 Sixers, Lakers NBA Finals. She was too busy picking herself up off the floor, her shot was so good for that.
Beard wasn’t alone in covering the Lynx like Minnesotans face scarfs growing around this time of year. League MVP Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points as did Kristi Toliver. Candace Parker also contributed a cool 14 to show the Sparks have many options to plug you with. Almost as many as the WNBA has legends. As the association honoured the 20 for 20 at the games half. The 20 best players of the last and first two decades of the Womens National Basketball Association leagues inception. As Los Angeles Sparks legend Lisa Leslie watched the new generation of L.A. angels and had a silky smooth reunion with her Jerry West and Elgin Baylor ‘Fire and Ice’ like partner Parker, the Jaamal Wilkes silk to her operator smooth.
Leslie was joined by Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Deanna Nolan, Ticha Penicheiro, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson, Theresa Weatherspoon and brand new Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes from the retired legends class. Whilst Candace and Lynx opponents Maya Moore, Lindsay Whale and Seimone Augustus were joined by fellow current court contemporaries Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi and recently retired Tamika Catchings for quite an almost 50/50 list of active and retired WNBA great that should leave you expecting no less.
Fellow Rio 2016 Olympic Gold medalist for the womens national basketball Team USA Whalen had 18 for the Minnesota Lynx, along with the same from Sylvia Fowles to go along with 13 rebounds. Quite clearly motivated by the fact that she should have been honoured at half-time instead of hearing it from the Lynx coach in the home locker room. Still if Minnesota want their own rings come next season and the end of these finals they need more from Moore (who left the game with her head in her hands) and this pack needs to let the wolves out.
Otherwise it’s going to be a Hollywood ending in this wild west world showdown.
Time to go to work.
Watch this space…
2019 Champion Washington Mystics Mystify The WNBA
Masks off! That’s a wrap!
The NBA may be back…even if it is only preseason (yeah tell that to everyone in Tokyo, Japan last night), but don’t call it a comeback like the BIG3’s LL. Because like being here for years it never left. Yet the real dear departure we’re about to mourn is the curtain call on the great expectations of one of the best WNBA seasons tonight. One that’s been a Spark and a Storm, despite either of those legendary Los Angeles and Seattle franchises making the finals cut.
But instead it was the MVP with the face-mask, inspiring every Bradley Beal and John Wall Wizard in attendance to follow plastic facial suit, Elena Delle Donne who lead her Washington Mystics to their first WNBA championship crown setting the Sun on Connecticut. Mystifying like INXS for the leagues new sensation that’s about to live baby live.
And you thought the biggest thing in D.C. right now was top ten Japanese draft pick Rui Hachimura? A year before his nation hosts the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for what we’re sure will be a legendary rookie campaign for the ages.
Washington basketball looks as beautiful as the magnificent Mall right now.
Just days after Bradley Beal penned a poignant piece for The Players Tribune sports personality journal entries in support of all of Washington and worldwide basketball, man and women, the Mystics showed it was all about them with an 89-78 win over the Suns. Rising like the trophy they lifted to follow their first banner and the epic emotion you see in the photo above.
Caption contest, greatness, legendary, amazing, everything.
So much more.
So, so much more.
“It feels phenomenal, my goodness, feels so good. Hard to put it into words,” the epic leader Elena told press postgame. It really is indescribable, but we have a few more to give it a go.
Even with Delle Donne almost done with more herniated discs than you used to have albums in your cars CD changer (get well soon champ), she still hit 21 (all in that LeBron and Kobe face mask), to go along with the Finals MVP (to go along with her regular season one), Emma Meesseman’s team high 22.
Holding the leagues best record and now the trophy itself this was sweet redemption of emotion for the Mystics in this Game 5 after losing to the Storm’s front in last years Finals. When they were without their Belgium superstar Meesseman in the mess. But this year with everything up their sleeve, holding all the cards, the Mystics magic wasn’t going to be affected by any weather. Come Storm or Sun.
Sure when it comes to these Harry Potter themed teams in the United States capital city the Wizards may be pulling something big out their hat this year. But nothing spells the Mystics quite like M-V-P.
Elena Delle Donne With The Most Valuable Face Mask
Vegas may have all the chips with the Sin City Aces and Hollywood the L.A. big-three with Candace Parker and the Ogwumike sister, sisters. Whilst the team they just beat Seattle, a storm of legacy making to legendary players, from Breanna Stewart to Sue Bird. Herself making sport, entertainment and all inclusive headlines for her off-court partnership with US soccer star and World Cup MVP winner, Megan Rapinoe.
But it’s D.C. that have the capital star as Washington’s mystifying Mystics star Elena Delle Donne is the Most Valuable Player for the second time.
EDD MVP of the WNBA.
And she did it all nose to knee injury.
Detroit Piston Rip Hamilton made the face-mask famous. And then ‘Star Wars’ super-fan Kobe Bryant became the Phantom Menace when he wore one for a bit, mauling his man like a Darth Sith lord. LeBron also had his own black, Bat Bron (Happy Batman Day caped crusaders), phantom opera during his time behind plastic like a Hollywood star for the theater. Even the dunking muscle of Russell Westbrook brought some Bane brutality to his. This trademark trend just seems to bring the beast out of the best. You remember how Bird flew through the black eye of the Storm last year with one? And now you can add MVP Elena Delle Donne to the face mask Hall of Fame.
And famous fans were even wearing matching masks in support solidarity as the back-court brotherhood of the NBA’s Washington Wizards John Wall and Bradley Beal sat court-side, faces sweating.
“Thank you to the people who made my mask and my knee brace. There should seriously be MVP awards for them”, Delle Donne told Twitter later in an acceptance speech thread of humble thanks.
Elena kept the face mask on after her nose healed because…well you know it’s inspiring and intimidating and cool as hell. But the knee brace has been a God send Most Underrated Player Of The Season. After her nightmare playoff injury against the Atlanta Dream last year, this sleeve holding her leg together cap to joint has helped the reawakening of a legends career.
Even without the MVP or LL Cool J knockout, bell rocking comeback, Delle Donne was already one of the greatest WNBA players of all-time…let alone the right now G.O.A.T.’s. But take a look at her now.
She just may be one of the games greatest. Counting either gender.
Ignorantly don’t believe us? Well remember Carter, men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t.
How’s the first player in the women’s game to record 50/40/90 splits in a season suit you?
If you’re not impressed, suit yourself. Because Delle Donne don’t care. Right now she’s focusing on bigger things. Like beating the house in Las Vegas following her Game 2 win against the Aces. And after Hamby’s miracle roll from half-court against Elena’s former team the Chicago Sky, it’s time for the MVP to run it back in revenge.
Now that would really be an ace in the hole.
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