Interestingly enough, we’ve arrived at a Finals without a major low post scoring threat for either team. Minnesota have Rebekkah Brunson and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who can both finish inside or knock down shots from mid-range, but aren’t exactly players you toss the ball to down low and watch go to work. Indiana have Tamika Catchings, who’s still more of a perimeter player offensively, and now Erlana Larkins likely to start at center. Larkins only became a starter in Game 2 of the Atlanta series, with Fever head coach Lin Dunn searching for someone who could give her team energy inside and rebounding effort. Larkins does exactly that, despite being undersized, and her efforts against the bigger names of Atlanta and Connecticut have played a big role in taking Indiana this far. The Fever started to use her as an offensive option a little more down low in the Connecticut series, making Tina Charles work at both ends of the floor, but Larkins still isn’t high on their list of offensive options. These posts are out there for a lot more than their interior scoring.
Brunson and McWilliams-Franklin are the base of the Minnesota defense. They’re the interior core that makes it hard for the opposition to score against the Lynx inside, both mobile and smart enough to be in the right places against their assigned matchups and to help against penetration. McWilliams-Franklin is the wily veteran who does nothing faster than it needs to be done. You notice her most when she’s off the floor, and gaps that weren’t there before seem to appear far more readily in the Lynx defense. Brunson is the athlete, a voracious rebounder who rises up for boards or chases down balls that seemed like a lost cause. She can also get out in transition alongside the guards, and has a mid-range jumper that she regularly knocks down. Augustus and Moore draw so much attention that it’s often Brunson left in space, and she’s more than willing to make teams pay. Continue reading