Tonight at 8pm ET the Indiana Fever take on the Minnesota Lynx in Game 5 of the WNBA finals, which will be broadcast on ESPN2. The series so far has been a nail-biter, with the Indiana Fever scoring only 3 more points total than the Lynx in the first 4 games. Each game has been a gritty, physical battle, with lots of lead changes, and in Game 3 superstar Maya Moore made a stunning three-pointer with 1 ½ seconds left in the game to give Minnesota the win. In other words, this series has been a dream for basketball fans like me.
It’s also been good for women’s basketball and the league. Game 1 had the highest viewership since the first championship game after the league started in 1998. With close to 600,000 viewers, it was also the most watched WNBA finals game on ABC since 2005, despite the fact that it was competing with the NFL’s Sunday afternoon football.
The league has long faced concerns and speculation about its future, but any doubters should simply watch these women play. They are not only fierce basketball players, but also role models for little girls, who thanks to Title IX, can dream about playing basketball professionally. Of course there is that pesky issue about WNBA players making so much less than their counterparts in the NBA, but the league is relatively young and as one of my heroes, Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever, said: “Hopefully, one day things will change.”
Until then, as a former high school basketball player, WNBA fan from day one, and Title IX lawyer, I am so grateful for the opportunity to watch these amazing women play.