LOS ANGELES-Anybody that doesn’t love the WNBA didn’t watch the double-overtime thriller between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Tulsa Shock at Staples Center. The matchup between the two teams was every bit worth taking in and gives further credence why more people should tune in to women’s basketball.
The brand of the WNBA has always been inclusive and engaging, reaching markets and sectors of society somewhat overlooked in other arenas. It is also great entertainment. A lot of people put up a fuss and make a lot of noise in the hateorade department comparing professional women’s basketball to that of the style executed by men pro hoopsters.
Too many people make the mistake of thinking that if they don’t see a dunkfest or an aerial show where people are just gliding through the air that they are not watching real basketball. Phooey. What I see when I attend and watch a WNBA game is basketball. Period.
The WNBA is as real of a forum of basketball out there as any.
I know I wouldn’t want to try to go one-on-one with Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike or Lindsey Harding. Going up against the likes of a Tina Charles, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Candace Wiggins, Tina Thompson and Elena Delle Donne would be just as idiotic.
I don’t believe in making a fool out of myself but that is exactly what you and I would be doing if we thought for a half-second we could take on these high-end athletes on the basketball court. These women have game.
They have the type of game that gives you all of the excitement, drama and electricity you will find in watching their men counterparts. Not only can WNBA newcomer Skylar Diggins break ankles without blinking an eyelash, she’ll also put a couple of skid marks of embarrassment on your face at the same time.
The WNBA is fun. These women play the game because they can. And they do it well. Catching a WNBA game on TV is not the same as watching it live. You feel the energy of excitement up close. The background music and fan camaraderie is something that is uniquely embraceable and would rival any form of entertainment an NBA team showcases.
I would suggest to you to make that part of your bucket list of things to do. Treating yourself to a WNBA game would just open another door of fun for you to take in.
The matchup between the Sparks and Shock illustrates this point. First, let’s recap the drama. Going into extra periods creates unfolding drama, regardless who is playing. The Sparks outlasted the Shock with a 90-88 double overtime win that was nothing short of basketball being played spectacularly.
The last three quarters resembled a will of tug-o-war between the two teams as battled each other as if they were engaged in a heavyweight fight. When one landed a blow there was always a counterpunch.
After the first three quarters, the Sparks pretty much wobbled around looking punch drunk after Tulsa had roared out to a 58-39 lead going into the fourth period.
Behind the timely shooting of Wiggins and daring play of Diggins, the Shock looked as if they were going to pull off the huge road upset and collect their 10th win of the season. Parker, Ogwumike, Harding and the rest of the Sparks decided that wasn’t going to happen on their watch.
The Sparks pulled out their defensive brakes and locked up the Shock, holding Tulsa to just 10 points in the fourth quarter, while scoring 29 in the period to send the game into overtime. Harding’s layup and made free throw tied the game at 66 with 1:01 remaining in the game.
Parker then gave the Sparks a 68-66 lead on a layup with 30 ticks left that caused the Staples Center crowd to erupt in delirium. Diggins sent the game into the overtime period with two free throws.
Most teams would have wilted under that type of comeback. Tulsa regrouped and played with the tenacity that gave them that large lead they gave away. The drama went to another level in the first overtime as both teams traded one big shot after another. It was simply basketball at its best.
This is what you live to see if you are a true basketball fan. What we got in the Sparks-Shock game was forced turnovers by exceptional defensive play, some unparallel shooting and a good-old fashion display of wills. You got punch and counterpunch. You got Tyson-Holyfield on the hardwood.
This is what you come to see at a professional basketball game. It was all of that and a bag of chips. Something had to give eventually. And it did. Parker, one of the leading candidates for the WNBA’s most valuable player award this season, sealed the deal with a driving layup with seconds left in the second overtime.
The first overtime was just tense. The two teams traded unbelievable shots and key defensive stops to take the game into the second extra period. It seemed like whenever the Shock needed a basket, Wiggins (20 points, eight rebounds) was there to make it happen.
On the flip side of the coin, Parker (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Ogwumike (21 points) keyed the Sparks’ comeback win.
On a night when the Sparks highlighted a tribute to gospel music with a concert after the game, the value of the WNBA was front and center. The fans were the true winners. They saw the WNBA at its best. That’s something that the price of admission can’t even pay for.