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There’s the regular season and then there’s the playoffs. San Antonio Silver Stars forward Ruth Riley knows a little about that. As a member of the Detroit Shock, she was a key member of two WNBA Championship teams (2003 and 2006). According to Riley (MVP of the 2003 Finals), everything changes and anything is possible.
“Playoff basketball is a whole different game,” she said following San Antonio’s final regular season game in Tulsa. “It becomes more physical. It becomes more about execution. You see a little less scoring because the defense picks up. Every possession is important. You’re going to find a lot of that coming into the playoffs.”
Riley is one of several athletes of faith participating in this year’s playoffs that kickoff tonight with two games and continue throughout the weekend. Another player to watch is Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings who is considered to be a strong contender for this year’s WNBA MVP Award. She’s won two Olympic medals and an NCAA Championship, but is still working hard towards achieving one final goal.
“Every year we’re focused on winning a championship,” Catchings said in an interview earlier this year. “It hasn’t happened yet, but our 2009 season is a great example of a time that we were very focused on a goal. We made it all the way to game five of the WNBA finals. I don’t care about any individual awards or accolades. As a team, we have to find out what each person brings to the table. My job as a leader it to pull that out of everybody and make sure we’re all on the same page.”
Other players to keep your eyes on include several of Riley’s teammates such as Becky Hammon, Sophia Young and Danielle Robinson. The Connecticut Sun are led by Kara Lawson while the Atlanta Dream rely on the spiritual leadership of Shalee Lehning and Courtney Paris.
Follow the action and check out the playoff brackets by visiting the WNBA’s official website HERE.
You can also check out previous Inspiring Athletes interviews by clicking on the names below: