The WNBA Finals begin this evening with the Minnesota Lynx hosting the Atlanta Dream at 8pm.
As a college women’s basketball coach, I do my best to watch the WNBA and support women’s athletics whenever possible. I think it is imperative that our society continues to support and grow women’s sports at all levels. As a father to a 10 month old daughter, I feel as though these are the female role models that my daughter will aspire to be someday. In addition, from a basketball standpoint, there have been some great games all season long with new exciting stars showcasing their talents on a nightly basis.
Therefore, when I heard that the Dream were being kicked out of their own arena due to
“Disney on Ice” I found myself shaking my head. Really WNBA?
The Dream, had just a .500 regular season at 17-17, but won the Eastern Conference Finals by defeating the Indiana Fever. The Dream were 13-4 at home and 4-13 on the road. Needless to say, I think home court advantage means something to them as the records indicate such.
Instead the Dream are forced to play in Duluth, GA, about 30 miles out of town to play Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4.
Disney had booked Phillips Arena well in advance so it is theirs to use, fair and square. However, the WNBA needs to have the forethought and understanding that not hosting the most important games in your league on one of the participating team’s home court is a sheer disaster. For Atlanta it will be their third WNBA Finals in the past four seasons so it was not a worst to first scenario by any means. The league should have suspected this could have been a possible scenario and not allowed this arrangement to have been agreed upon.
Moreover, what message is sending Atlanta out of their own arena sending to the players and fans?
If the WNBA wants to be considered as a legitimate source of entertainment for its paying customers they simply have to do better than hosting a potential clinching game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Quite simply, it makes the league look like a joke.
The Lynx and Dream are close to capturing a coveted ring and I am sure that when players from the Lynx and Dream began their season, they dreamed of hoisting the championship trophy in Duluth, GA…Not so much.
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