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Oct 5, 2016

If you have been listening to our podcasts over the years, you know that the Roundtable discussions are some of our most enjoyable and most popular podcasts.

Today we bring you a roundtable featuring two of the most competitive players you will ever find, Jayne Appel-Marinelli, recently retired from the San Antonio Stars, and Mistie Bass, who just completed the season with the Phoenix Mercury.

These two played the WNBA finalist Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks a combined total of 15 times during the 2016 WNBA season and playoffs, so they are well equipped to discuss the success and difficulties playing with and against the finalists.

Based on the finals, at least a portion of the new WNBA playoff format is a success. For perhaps the first time in WNBA history, the league has the two best teams meeting in the finals, which should make for some great basketball and a fun series to watch.

First place Minnesota comes in with a 28-6 record, featuring a Lynx quartet of United States Olympians in Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen. Rebekkah Brunson is an experienced veteran completing their starting lineup, and the bench is deep right to the end, with even more experience.

Los Angeles finished second in the regular season with a 26-8 record, and while they don't have a great deal of WNBA finals experience (Ann Wauters is the only Sparks player with finals experience), they are long and athletic, with talented scorers from inside and out, led by Most Valuable Player Nneka Ogwumike and former MVP Candace Parker.

Ogwumike and Parker combined to average 43 points and almost 19 rebounds per game in the semi-final series against Chicago, and are a difficult matchup. When they are on their game, it opens up the outside for Kristi Toliver, Alana Beard and Essence Carson for their shots. Jantel Lavender could be starting for most teams and is Sixth Player of the year in the league, and Chelsea Gray has become a great change of pace point guard off the bench.

In Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota) and Brian Agler (Los Angeles), the coaching matchup is just as intriguing. Probably the two best coaches in the league, they win because they get their players to buy in to their systems, and they do that better than anyone.

Minnesota has home court advantage, but during the regular season at least it meant nothing to these teams head-to-head, as Minnesota won the two games in Los Angeles and Los Angeles won the one game in Minnesota.

It is a pleasure to welcome Bass and Appel-Marinelli to the podcast to break down the series. Topics covered include:

  • Fowles and Brunson versus Parker and Ogwumike, power versus speed
  • Toliver being a key cog in the Sparks' offense
  • Whalen's ability to penetrate, kick, or draw fouls
  • Importance of the bench players on both teams and who could be a surprise star in the series
  • What does each team have to do to win
  • Success of the two coaches and the organizations
  • Maya Moore, how do you stop her?
  • Predictions on the final result of the series

Thank you again to Mistie Bass and Jayne Appel-Marinelli for taking time out of their schedules to be a part of our Dishin & Swishin podcast.

These are two athletes that are incredibly aware and tremendous role models to the community. We wish Appel-Marinelli well in her next career move and Bass success as she begins her first year as a coach at Indiana University.

Enjoy the podcast!