Cheryl Ford will be enjoying the first game of the WNBA finals from the comfort of her home in Georgia. The Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream match up in the 12th WNBA finals beginning on Sunday.
The Minnesota Lynx are favored to win and three time WNBA champion Ford agrees.
“The Lynx have all the pieces,” said Ford, the former New York Liberty forward. “From the starters to the bench players, everyone knows their role.” Ford also played for the Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team from 1999 to 2003.
This will be the Lynx’s third consecutive year in the finals. They won in 2011, sweeping the Dream in the best-of-five series and last year, the Lynx were defeated in the championship by the Indiana Fever.
Maya Moore spearheads the Lynx, leading the team with 21.5 points and three assists during the postseason. Seimone Augustus is trailing with 17.3 points.
Angel McCoughty is leading the Dream with 19.6 points. The four-year vet is an explosive scorer and hopes to put up impressive numbers like in 2011.
In Game 2, she scored 38 points, the WNBA Finals record, and she scored 42 points in a playoff game against the New York Liberty in 2010.
“The Dream have a great team as well,” said Ford. “But I do think the experience, chemistry and passion (of) the Lynx they will win it all.”
Ford, daughter of Hall of Famer Karl Molone, said the keys to a championship is “hard work, dedication, teamwork and togetherness.”
In their last finals appearances, the Lynx have played apart in the expansion of television viewership. Game two of last year’s finals between the Lynx and the Indiana Fever was the most viewed and highest rating playoff game since 1999.
Overall, the WNBA is slowly picking up speed. This season, the league averaged 231,000 viewers for 13 games on ESPN2, a 28 percent increase from previous season’s nine telecasts.
Reportedly, the WNBA averaged 180,000 views in 2011. In comparison to the NBA, they still have a lot of ground to cover. The men’s league averages 1.46 million views.
Even though viewership is slightly rising, fans may not be able to see Ford step on the court again. Instead, she said she has exciting things planned for the future.
“I do think my time as a professional athlete has come to an end and it’s time to move on to my next chapter in life,” said Ford.
She plans to catch Game one before heading out of the country. But is going to keep up with the season via the internet. Sunday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN at 8:30 p.m.