Fierce battles in WNBA conference finals

Lois Elman | 9/4/2014, 6:45 p.m.
Although the first round of the WNBA playoffs was pretty simple—only one of four match-ups going to three games—the conference ...
The Liberty's Plenette Pierson is on her way to shoot hoops in Italy.

Special to the AmNews

Although the first round of the WNBA playoffs was pretty simple—only one of four matchups going to three games—the conference finals have been much more competitive. At press time, neither conference had been decided, with defending WNBA champions, the Minnesota Lynx, pushing the red-hot Phoenix Mercury to a third game in the West and the Chicago Sky taking the Indiana Fever to a third game in the East.

For the Sky, the only team of the four never to win a WNBA title, it’s a dance with history. Last year was the first time in franchise history the team made it to the playoffs. This year marked the team’s first time in the conference finals after defeating the Atlanta Dream 81-80, thanks to a clutch basket from Elena Delle Donne with just 8.2 seconds left on the clock.

“Everything was not in our favor, but we stayed the course, and when it got late, it became time for players to make plays,” said Sky coach Pokey Chatman after the win over the Dream. “My big-time player [Delle Donne] stepped up.” New York native Epiphanny Prince has not yet been a big factor for the Sky in the playoffs.

Throughout the playoffs, the WNBA has been announcing postseason honors. Thus far, no Liberty players have been named, but the All-WNBA First and Second teams have not yet been announced. Bria Hartley from North Babylon, who plays for the Washington Mystics, was named to the All-Rookie Team.

The New York Liberty are already into their off season, and forward Swin Cash will be part of an exciting new show on the CBS Sports Network. “We Need to Talk,” the first-ever, nationally televised, all-female, hour-long weekly sports show will debut Sept. 30. Cash will join boxer Laila Ali, WNBA legend and four-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie, Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and Olympic swimmer and veteran broadcaster Summer Sanders on the show.

“As a passionate sports fan, as well as an athlete, I am excited to be part of CBS Sports Network’s historic sports-focused program hosted entirely by women, especially at a time when the influence of women in sports has evolved to where it is today,” said Cash.

The best of five WNBA finals will begin Sunday.