This is it for Phoenix. As expected, LA took out San Antonio last night, though they made us all think they were not going to pull it off for most of the game. That means Phoenix has to win to even have a chance. Even a win for Phoenix requires a loss by LA to Houston tonight to secure the 4 spot. That LA/Houston game will also decide the #3 seed. LA wins and the Storm have to go through their historical nemesis to make the second round.
Had LA lost last night a win for Phoenix today would have eliminated LA. Heck, I might have just thrown the game just to thumb it in LA's face...OK, maybe not, but it is fun to think about it.
The big question for this game is what AD does with her rotation. Does she play her starters all out in an effort to maintain momentum heading into Tuesday's game one against LA or Houston or rest them up to make sure there are no unexpected injuries?
The other big question is whether LJ gets the opportunity to vie for MVP by putting up strong numbers in her last nationally televised game of the season?
The pregame ceremony for Kamilla will be very emotional, as I said yesterday. It will be great to see her play again. I may clap for her first basket...maybe. Not if it is before the Storm score their first one. The trade seems to have been as good for Kamilla as it has been for Phoenix. They needed a stronger presence in the post, and her numbers are up in almost every statistical category. She has dropped in 3pt%, free throw %, turnovers and fouls. She is really thriving in this offense.
Diana Taurasi is more than just a popular player, she is popular for good reasons. She is a big, strong guard who can shoot, create off the dribble and still makes a fine passer. Her size also helps her rebound quite well for a guard. She likes to post up smaller guards...watch out Sue...that means YOU! We should see the offense put her on the low block as much as they can. Diana and Sue seem to enjoy playing against each other on the court as much as they do hanging out off the court. Every time they play it is fun for the fans as they both step up their game. As Sue says in the commercial for the post season...in the playoffs you step up your game, you have to, or you go home.
Phoenix is not as strong down low without Stepanova, but Kamila has stepped up her game in Maria's absence. I don't think they stand a chance against the Storm's 3 post rotation of JB, LJ and Suzy. Kamilla will get her numbers, but will be overmatched.
Anna Deforge vs. Tenacious Tanisha should be fun. Anna and Penny Taylor have both lit up the Storm in the past, but this year they face our best perimeter defenders in Tanisha and Izzy. Tanisha gives an extra 3" of height over Betty and is a stronger defender to boot. This could be the deciding factor. Good games from Kamilla and Diana could be offset by shutdowns of Penny and Anna.
All in all I expect it to be a great game. I will be holding up my MVP sign every chance I get from the corner by the visitor's basket, and hopefully my 6 year old will hold his up as well. Let's close the season on a bang!