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posted: 10/4/2013 5:49 PM

Some free advice to WNBA on bizarro scheduling

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  • The Minnesota Lynx's Maya Moore, center, is one of the most impressive WNBA players that Patricia Babcock McGraw has seen this season.

      The Minnesota Lynx's Maya Moore, center, is one of the most impressive WNBA players that Patricia Babcock McGraw has seen this season.
    Associated Press

 
 

My brothers Mike and Greg, the Fantasy Football gurus, warned me about this.

They said that, even as a Fantasy newbie, I would quickly become preoccupied with NFL games that I would normally never give a second thought. I laughed them off during a family dinner this summer.

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Now, I'm realizing they were more right than I care to admit.

I've been thinking a lot this week about who I want to start at quarterback, Michael Vick or Tom Brady. (I've settled on Vick since he's playing the lowly Giants.) Meanwhile, I figure that I will once again be distracted Sunday, checking and re-checking my league's scoreboard. (Thank God for smart phones!) That will continue through the late games since I've got a few players involved then, too.

When, I wonder, will I have time to fit in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals?

The WNBA playoffs are still going on, you ask? Yeah, I almost forgot, too.

The Minnesota Lynx host the Atlanta Dream in the best-of-five series opener at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN, smack dab in the middle of Sunday Night Football. (Gasp!)

It's been an entire week since both teams punched their Finals ticket, which is par for the course in the WNBA's bizarro world of scheduling.

A week off in the playoffs is a long time, especially when both teams finish their previous series on the exact same day. I'm thinking the NBA would be up and running again in three or four days. Waiting longer kills momentum and, more importantly, fan interest.

And speaking of fan interest, competing against the NFL is tough for any sport or entertainment entity. Why do you think football-less ABC runs infomercials or shows you've never heard of on Sunday afternoons?

That the WNBA is trying to stage its marquee event during the middle of football season is unfortunate, at best.

But again, this is a league that seems to have no rhyme or reason to its scheduling. Postseason, or regular season. Take, for instance, the Sky's 2013 schedule.

The Sky had eight games in June, with as many as six days between games. Then in August, the Sky jammed in 12 games, had four games in one week and was forced to play two back-to-backs, with the first games at home and the second games on the road.

I remember talking to Sky rookie Elena Delle Donne about the schedule and she was frustrated in June by the long dead periods and wondered if fans were forgetting about the Sky.

My suggestion for the WNBA is to build a more consistent schedule from start to finish so that there aren't only light periods and busy periods and nothing in between. Maybe then, the playoffs could also be pushed up and finish before the NFL starts to get really interesting.

Lynx or Dream:

As for the basketball portion of the Finals, I'm picking the Lynx, the 2011 WNBA champion.

The Dream dug deep this season to play through all kinds of injuries. And forward Angel McCoughtry can often be a nightmare to defend.

But the Lynx has one of the most impressive players in the league right now in forward Maya Moore. When she came to Allstate Arena in August, I was so impressed with her tenacity and physical presence.

When you team up Moore with point guard Lindsay Whalen and forward Seimone Augustus, the Lynx has one heck of a potent Big Three. The only trio in WNBA history that might be better is Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson of the Houston Comets, who won the first four WNBA championships.

My prediction: Lynx 3, Dream 1.

Now, back to tweaking my fantasy lineup for this week.

•pbabcock@dailyherald.com

•Follow Patricia on Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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