The last time I was in Vegas, I placed a legal, friendly, Ombudsman-taunting $10 wager on the Connecticut Sun to win the WNBA championship at 30-1 odds. I don't cover the WNBA, not really, and I figured getting a likely playoff team at 30-1 was sort of too good to pass up, even if it cost me my job. After all, that $300 score would have taken care of me for a nice long while.
This was on July 12. At the time, he Sun was 8-11. And now, suddenly, the Sun became the hottest team in the WNBA. They won 8 of their next 9. The playoffs became a certainty, and they began challenging for the East's second seed. They won all four regular-season games against the Indiana Fever, their likely first-round opponent. I felt like a WNBA savant.
Then the bottom fell out. A season-ending 2-4 stretch. A playoff home opener with the Fever, in which the Sun led by 17 in the third quarter and three in the final 30 seconds but still needed triple overtime to win. A 19-point drubbing in Game 2. And finally, last night's tragedy, which left me helplessly clicking refresh on my browser as each of my
10,000 lost pennies drifted further and further away, going to some better place where star guards do not begin talking trash to opposing fans until the wins are in the books.
As you've no doubt heard, the Sun led by 12 after the first quarter last night. After six minutes, Lindsay Whalen was still outscoring the entire Fever team. The lead grew to 22 early in the second quarter. It was still 12 at halftime, still 12 after three quarters. It was 16 early in the fourth.
The Fever "weren't simply losing; they were getting embarrassed, run off the floor by a team that has owned them, just the way the New England Patriots once owned the Indianapolis Colts," the Indy Star's Bob Kravitz wrote.
Yeah, well. The end was a back-and-forth affair, with the Sun seemingly rescued by a last-second layup to force overtime. But it was just like that Ohio State-Xavier overtime game in the second-round of this year's NCAA Tournament; there was still no question which team had momentum, or that the higher seed would win, and the final score--93-88, an exact reverse of Game 1--was sort of inevitable. The comeback was the largest in WNBA playoff history. "It's right in your hands," Katie Douglas said, "and it gets taken away."
Maybe I'll frame the ticket, show it to my grandkids one day. Anyhow, I've still got the Silver Stars at 7-1.