It was just last year when Le’coe Willingham was celebrating her first WNBA title. As the starting forward on the Phoenix Mercury, she helped the team to a memorable Finals victory over the Indiana Fever. nike air max 24-7 But after signing with Seattle in the offseason, now Willingham finds herself trying to prevent the Mercury from duplicating the feat with the Western Conference Finals set to commence Thursday.

Even though Seattle is known more as the defensive-minded team in this series, they can keep up with the Mercury. They have stars. They can score. You don’t go 28-6 without being able to put up some points. “I don’t want to say you can’t get caught up going up and down in a frenzied pace. We definitely run also,” said Willingham. “We pick and choose our times to run. At times we want to push the pace and then at other times we need to slow the ball down and execute and make them play a full 24 seconds on defense, a whole possession instead of putting up that quick shot and allowing them to get long rebounds and get out in the running game because they’re very, very good at running.”

“I don’t really look at it as going against my old team or anything like that,” said Willingham. “We won a championship last year and everything we did last year was very special, but at the same time we’ve moved on and Phoenix is a different team. I’m just not looking at it as my old team. I’m looking at it as it’s just the team that we have to play in the Western Conference Finals, and I’m with Seattle now and we have a goal to accomplish and hopefully it’ll be a good series.” Some may say regular season records are meaningless right now. Even Willingham admits that Phoenix is better than their 15-19 record suggests. But winning the West resulted in home-court advantage for Seattle, which hasn’t lost a game in its building all year, and every edge right now is crucial. And by virtue of having Willingham, air max 90 someone who knows Phoenix’s system well, the Storm might have another advantage.

On the flip side, while the Mercury’s calling card is their offense, they can play defense when necessary. You don’t win two titles in three years without making a few stops. “Basically the advantage is, and this is similar to what it was like when I was in Phoenix playing in the Finals against Indiana, it’s who can impose the will and style of play on the other team,” said Willingham. “Phoenix, they play defense also. They’re very tall when they go with that tall lineup. So they can go very big on the court and switch everything.”

Maybe we should forget points-per-game or points-allowed-per-game. The stat that could give you a better sense of what to expect going into the Western Conference Finals is 5-0. nike air max 2009  That was Seattle’s record against Phoenix during the regular season, with three of those victories coming on the road.

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