It’s a gameless Monday in the WNBA, so it’s time for a classic rewatch. In case you missed it, the game from two weeks ago was a 2004 matchup of the Detroit Shock and Indiana Fever.
This week, in honor of the recent announcement that Lauren Jackson and Yolanda Griffith would be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 (along with Val Ackerman and Pearl Moore), I wanted to find a fun WNBA game involving both LJ and Yo.
For today, I thought we’d take a look back at the October 1, 2004, matchup between the Seattle Storm and the Sacramento Monarchs.
Some thoughts and facts about this game:
- With Rebecca Lobo on the call and a masked Sue Bird making an appearance, you might think this is the 2018 WNBA Finals, but the video quality should tip you off that this is in fact 2004. Bird suffered a broken nose after colliding with Teresa Edwards in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Minnesota Lynx, so she wore the infamous mask throughout the Storm’s first championship run, starting here in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
- The game takes place at a packed and loud ARCO Arena (10,662 in attendance). The atmosphere comes through on the broadcast and really energizes the exciting finish.
- Lauren Jackson was the top performer: 31 points on 9-18 from the field (4-5 3P) and a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line, adding on 13 rebounds and a pair of assists.
- Yolanda Griffith doesn’t have anywhere near her most outstanding game, but she’s as solid as ever with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.
- Tangela Smith really shines for the Monarchs with 24 points and 4 blocks. Now imagine this player adding on a pretty consistent three-point shot, which she did later in her career when she moved to Phoenix and won a couple of rings with the Mercury.
- Some legendary Monarchs lineups: along with Tangela, you get Ticha Penicheiro with 9 assists and 4 steals, DeMya Walker with 13 points and 5 blocks, Kara Lawson with 12 points and a pair of threes, and a rookie Rebekkah Brunson grabbing 5 rebounds in 16 minutes.
- This is the Storm’s first championship run, and you get some looks at what made Betty Lennox special on her run to Finals MVP: her ability to get out and run and to pull up and shoot.
- Overtime! After a pair of overtime finishes last night, I couldn’t resist another exciting overtime game in the WNBA. And how can you do better than a buzzer-beater in OT?
Enjoy the Classic WNBA Monday, and if you’re still looking for more WNBA history content, here are a few recent podcast recommendations to hold you over until WNBA games get going again: