Column: Don’t forget about the WNBA Finals

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

There have been playoffs galore lately, with the NHL, NBA and MLB playoffs all happening at once as a result of COVID-19.

The NHL playoffs just ended, with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup.

But still occurring is the postseason for the most under appreciated league in American sports, the WNBA.

The Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm begin the WNBA finals on Friday night on ESPN 2.

More sports fans need make room in their viewing schedules to watch the finals. Find time between NFL games, the NBA finals and the early rounds of the MLB postseason.

The Aces and Storm tied for the best record in the league this season at 18-4 in a shortened 22-game season, but are both coming into the finals after winning in very different fashions in the semifinals.

The Storm, who won the finals in 2018, swept the Minnesota Lynx in the semifinals. The Aces did not have it so easy in their series against the Connecticut Suns.

The series went to a decisive fifth game and it seemed like the Aces were in trouble of being upset by the Suns.

The first quarter ended with Connecticut leading 30-17, but Seattle outscored them 49-33 over the final three quarters to earn the win.

Seattle’s Breanna Stewart, who was the league’s MVP in 2018, should be a major factor in the finals. She is back healthy this season after missing last season with an Achilles injury.

Las Vegas has the 2020 MVP in A’ja Wilson, who averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in the regular season.

The series should be exciting from a basketball perspective, but with all of the other sports happening right now, it is in danger of being dominated in the ratings.

The WNBA has long been overshadowed by other leagues despite being equally as exciting as other leagues.

Sexism plays a role in the disrespect the league receives. If you don’t believe this, simply read comments on social media when a major sports media outlet posts about the WNBA.

When ESPN tweeted about the Aces winning their semifinal series ,you did not have to scroll far to see comments like, “Y’all really posted this?” and “I mean does anyone really care?”

For some reason, men seem to feel powerful putting down the WNBA online for apparently no reason at all. Maybe they would not respond this way if they actually watched a game.

Sexism is not all to blame, however. The WNBA is still a relatively new league, having been founded in 1996.

It still needs time to grow a following and build a fan base. But it can’t grow if you don’t watch.

So take time this weekend and next week to watch the games. I know that the NBA finals are on. I know that the MLB playoffs are getting started. I know that the NFL season is going on.

Adding the WNBA finals to your evening viewing should be an improvement. It certainly won’t be as bad as the Jets vs. Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]