Seattle Storm will face Atlanta Dream in WNBA Finals
Dream finishes off New York in two games. Seattle swept Atlanta in two regular-season games. The best-of-five Finals start at noon Sunday at KeyArena.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Atlanta @ Storm, noon, Ch. 4
And so they meet again.
The last time Seattle faced an undefeated Atlanta, it was a month into the season. But even then, Storm forward Lauren Jackson sensed her team's strongest contender for WNBA title would be the Dream.
She was right.
Behind a playoff-record 42 points from All-Star Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta defeated New York 105-93 to win its first Eastern Conference championship in the organization's three-year history. The fourth-seeded Dream swept No. 2 seed New York and No. 1 seed Washington to advance to WNBA Finals, playing the top-seeded Storm in a best-of-five series beginning at noon Sunday at KeyArena.
The feat is more impressive when noting Atlanta was 4-30 its inaugural season in 2008.
"They've got great talent," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "It's a very deep team.
"Atlanta has got a lot of the similar players they had a year ago. They started off strong, flattened out a little bit, then made a resurgence here late in the season. "
Seattle, which is currently on a seven-game winning streak, swept Atlanta during the regular season. But both games required fourth-quarter comebacks. Jackson finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead Seattle in the 90-72 win in June, handing Atlanta its first loss of the season.
Attempting to rest the starters, the Storm's bench buoyed the 80-70 road win in August with guard Tanisha Wright and Jackson combining for 28 points and 15 rebounds.
Storm forward Le'coe Willingham practiced on Monday, stating her sprained right ankle was a little sore but she's fine. Willingham suffered the injury late in the third quarter of Sunday's playoff win against Phoenix.
Willingham attempted a block against center Tangela Smith, getting called for a foul as both players fell hard to the court. Willingham limped off the court and did not return to the game. She expects to be available for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.
The Storm is asking fans to wear green in support of the team on Sunday. The organization was close to a KeyArena lower-bowl sellout (9,686) as of Monday evening and will open the upper deck to accommodate overflow.
When Seattle won the title in 2004, it filled the facility's 17,072-seat capacity for two games despite the Seahawks playing the same day as Game 2 on Oct. 10.
The Seahawks' season opener is Sunday.
Tickets for Game 1 are available at TicketMaster.com or by calling 1-800-WNBA-TIX. Prices range from $24 to $86.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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