*********************** June 2012: Vol. 4, Issue 3************************
2012 Season Preview
By David Zingler
The Lynx ran away with the West last year, finishing six games ahead of second place Seattle. Out East things were much
more competitive; just two games separated the top four seeds. Expect more of the same this year.
Barring an injury-related catastrophe, it's hard to see the Lynx
not finishing at the top of the conference. Lindsay Whalen is in her prime, Maya Moore's experience will only make her better
and Seimone Augustus is arguably the best player on the planet. All three have shown an outstanding work ethic and won't rest
on last year's laurels. They also have some pretty talented teammates like Rebekkah Brunson and Candice Wiggins.
Here's the team that should scare the Lynx the most, but only if Candace Parker remains healthy and
regains her old form. The addition of Nnemkadi Ogwumike, the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, and former Lynx Nicky Anosike
gives the Sparks a formidable front line, while their X-factor could be Alana Beard, who returns to the league after a two-year,
For over a decade, the Storm have been led by Lauren Jackson
and Sue Bird, the greatest inside-outside combo in league history. Jackson however, won't join the team until after the Olympics.
Bird will have some help with veteran Tina Thompson and rookie Shekinna Stricklen joining the mix. That should be enough to
keep Seattle in the race until Jackson's return.
Penny Taylor's absence to prepare for
the Olympics will hurt and a lot will be expected of rookie point guard Samantha Prahalis. Diana Taurasi meanwhile will score,
score and score some more. If Prahalis can keep Taurasi happy, the Mercury should be printing playoff tickets this fall.
The Silver Stars squeaked into the playoffs last year and handed the Lynx their only postseason defeat
before bowing out in a tough, 3-game series. Becky Hammon is now 35 and you'd expect her to slow a bit, but counting out the
feisty veteran has always been a mistake in the past. The organization wasn't able to address their front court needs in the
draft, but they did add high-scoring guard Shenise Johnson who will be fun to watch.
Shock is 9-59 since moving to Tulsa from Detroit before the 2010 season. The good news is they surely have to improve from
last year's three-win campaign. Temeka Johnson has been brought in to run the point, but All-Star Liz Cambage will miss two
months preparing for the Olympics. A double digit win total isn't out of the question, but a playoff berth is.
The Sun may end up being the biggest roadblock to a Lynx dynasty.
Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles are the new Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, Mike Thibault provides great coaching and Asjha
Jones a productive, veteran leader. The rest of the East could be looking up at Connecticut for a long time.
Cappie Pondexter, Nicole Powell, Plenette Peirson and the improving Kia Vaughn lead the potent Liberty
attack. The team will open the year back at Madison Square Garden, but will play the rest of the season at the Prudential
Center in Newark while MSG is being renovated. In a competitive conference, they are a threat to reach the Finals.
The two-time defending conference champs figure to be in the mix again. Angel McCoughtry and Lindsey Harding
are back to lead the way, but center Erika De Souza is another Olympic casualty. A third straight Finals appearance will be
Is this the year the Sky finally take the next step and reach the playoffs?
They already have the league's best center and defensive force in Sylvia Fowles. Epiphanny Prince is emerging as a star and
the acquisition of veteran Swin Cash could put them over the top. After 8 seasons, the Sky may finally have something to celebrate.
The Fever finished atop the conference in the regular season in 2011, but were bounced out of the playoffs
in the first round by New York. Reigning MVP Tameka Catchings and Katie Douglas will keep the squad competitive, but they
may struggle keeping up with the conference's younger teams.
Like Tulsa in the West,
the Mystics should improve on their dismal 6-28 2011 season, but it probably won't be enough to get them out of the cellar
in a deep conference. The team lacks a true superstar and their roster is loaded with career journeywomen who have failed
in other spots.
MVP: Seimone Augustus, Minnesota
Rookie of the Year: Shenise Johnson,
Coach of the Year: Pokey Chatman, Chicago
WNBA Finals: Minnesota over