The Minnesota Lynx and the Indiana Fever have each captured a game in the WNBA Finals over the past week. The Fever started off hot and stole a 75-69 win in Minnesota in Game 1, but they were unable to pull off another road upset by falling to the Lynx on Minnesota’s home court in a 77-71 Game 2 loss.
While teamwork is an important aspect to capturing a championship, there’s usually one player who stands out a little bit more than the rest of their teammates. That player for the Fever is typically Tamika Catchings. Catchings led the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game in the regular season, and that number is up to 17.6 in the postseason. After the Game 2 loss, the veteran showed her leadership and told her teammates to “bottle up their frustrations” and let it explode on the court in Game 3.
However, Catchings hasn’t been at her best thus far in the Finals, and it’s been Briann January who’s really stepped up in the two games. In Games 1 and 2 of the Finals, January led the Fever in scoring with 19 and 17 points, respectively.
The 2015 season marks January’s seventh season in the league, and she’s been a solid contributor all year. She led the WNBA in three-point shooting at 43.1 percent, and her postseason scoring average now stands at 10.4 points per game, which is above her regular-season mark of 8.8.
If January continues her strong play and Catchings finds her groove again, the Fever could easily post a repeat of the 2012 WNBA Finals, when they beat the Lynx 3-1 to take the championship. Catchings was the MVP of the 2012 Finals, but January is making a strong case for why it could be her if Indiana wins.
For the Western Conference champions, Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles decisively lead the Lynx, but the 2014 WNBA MVP has had the biggest overall impact for Minnesota in the postseason.
During Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, Moore carried the team to a 72-71 win over the Phoenix Mercury with a whopping 40 points and the game-winning free throw. Seeing Moore put up that kind of number certainly isn’t that surprising, as she finished behind only WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne for the highest scoring average during the regular season at 20.6 points per game.
In the Finals, Moore put up 27 points in Game 1 and 19 points in Game 2, and she’s now averaging a league-high 26.4 points in the postseason.
Fowles has produced at a high level as well, as she’s scored 21 points in each of the first two Finals games to go along with 10 rebounds per game. The two work well together to propel the team on both ends of the floor, although Moore adds that extra step for the Lynx thanks to her dynamic scoring ability.
If the Lynx play up to the best of their abilities, they should take home the title behind their two stars. But don’t count out January, Catchings and the Fever, as they’ve already shown the capability to finish off an upset.
The WNBA Finals moves to Indiana for Game 3 on Friday night.