Second Half Stories

For many people, the month of August represents some down time. Kids go to camp or take vacations with their families, or sometimes just relax and enjoy the last few weeks of summer before school starts. This is called the Dog Days, when things seem to move a little bit slower than they do during the rest of the year.

In the WNBA, this is the time of year when things start to heat-up. The season is passed the half-way point and teams are starting to think about the playoffs, which start in mid-September. As the season moves toward the home stretch, here are some stories to follow:

Indiana: For many years, the Indiana Fever finished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Now, Indiana has a chance to win its first-ever conference championship. The Fever entered last Wednesday's game against Chicago with a 15-4 record, the best in the league. If Indiana keeps up its strong play, it has a good chance of reaching the WNBA Championship Series for the first time. This would be very exciting for the Fever's fans, who have stuck with the team through some years when they didn't win very many games.

Phoenix: One of the most interesting stories of the second half will be the Phoenix Mercury, which leads the Western Conference with a 15-6 record. In 2007, the Mercury won the WNBA Championship. However, last season, Phoenix finished in seventh place and missed the playoffs entirely. They were the first team in WNBA history to miss the playoffs the season after winning the title. Led by superstars Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, though, the Mercury is attempting to erase last year's disappointment and prove it is still a championship-caliber team.

Los Angeles: Historically one of the league's best teams, the Los Angeles Sparks are having a tough season. Heading into this week, L.A. was 6-10 and trying to catch up to San Antonio for the Western Conference's fourth and final playoff spot. Over the past 12 seasons, the Sparks have won three conference titles and two WNBA Championships. Since 1999, they have only missed out on the playoffs once. The Sparks have two of the most famous players in the league, Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie. If there are any two players who can turn the season around for Los Angeles, it's Parker and Leslie.

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