It’s postseason basketball. It’s Phoenix against San Antonio. Is it the NBA? OK, you’ve got me there, but it’s the dead of late August — so we’ll take what we can get, right?
If you’re going to get into this WNBA series between our Mercury and those lousy, stinkin’ Silver Stars, you’d better hurry – it’s a best of three. So here’s a quick cheat sheet (and if any of this is off-kilter, blame it on the Trib’s Mercury guru, Mark Heller):
As always, run-and-gun Phoenix is led by the “Big Three” — simply substitute Marion, Nash and Stoudemire with Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor.
And like the Suns, if anything happens to any of them — look out below.
Meanwhile coach Paul “I know they’re playing the national anthem, just shoot it!” Westhead was coaching up-tempo basketball back when Mike D’Antoni was still wearing short shorts and pushing crushed velvet couches for The Italian Room Store.
Now for the bad guys (oops, gals). In case the simple fact they come from San Antonio isn’t enough to work up a good lather — here’s a little help:
• Forward Sophia Young. She scores, rebounds, plays great fundamental basketball — think Tim Duncan. She also whines a lot to the referees, but in a league where the level of officiating makes Tim Donaghy look like Earl Strom, everyone does it.
• Becky Hammon. The speedy, scoring point guard is the alter-ego to Tony Parker. And much like the Suns, the Mercury will use a zone defense since they don’t have anyone who can guard her.
• Forward Erin Buescher. She’s a great all-around player and contact-happy, so we were thinking Manu Ginobili. But she’s out after tearing her ACL in July, so Phoenix doesn’t need to worry about all the flops and flying knee kicks.
• Sandora Irvin. She played for Phoenix last year and is now with San Antonio. Robert Horry? Well, there are no reports of her throwing a towel in Westhead’s face and she only plays five minutes a game — so she’d better move fast if she plans to hip-check Taurasi into the scorer’s table.
There you have it. Enjoy. And if someone could let me know how it all turns out, I’d appreciate it.
HEY, IT’S NOT AN F!
The Hockey News’ 2007-08 yearbook has hit the newsstands, and our rebuilding Coyotes are ranked dead last, the only one of 30 NHL teams to earn a D-minus grade.
Fair enough. When you consider Phoenix’s first line is really a second line and its second line is likely composed of two guys who have never played an NHL game (center Peter Mueller and right wing Martin Hanzal) and a left wing who was a minus-23 last year (Niko Kapanen), it’s hard to quibble with the Canadian curve.
• There were about 1,000 people (forget the 4,000 announcement) at Tuesday’s USA/Mexico game — featuring Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Amaré Stoudemire — in Las Vegas. This is the city that wants an NBA franchise? Snake eyes!
• Mexico’s national hoops team coach Nolan Richardson said his squad is in excellent shape. But after watching ex-Sun Horacio Llamas miss a bounce pass by a foot because he simply can’t bend over, I’m not so sure.
• Very nice gesture by the D-Backs to donate $5 from every ticket sold the rest of the year to the Valley of the Sun United Way. So far, $111,395 has been raised. And if you root for the team but are still steamed at management for the new colors, trading Gonzo or the $8 beers, look at it this way: If you buy a $5 ticket, it all goes to charity.
• Congratulations to ASU associate sports information director and militant Steelers fan Doug Tammaro and wife Stephanie on Monday’s arrival of daughter Miquela Lorena. Luckily, the Tammaros had another daughter — sparing the addition of HinesBerger Tammaro to the Tempe school system five years from now.