Capsule preview for the WNBA Finals

Capsule preview for the WNBA Finals

A look at the best-of-five WNBA Finals, which start Sunday:


Season Series: Lynx won 2-0 by a total of nine points.

Minnesota: The defending champions outlasted fourth-seeded Seattle with a 73-72 win at home in Game 3 of the opening round, and then swept second-seeded Los Angeles in two games in the Western Conference finals. The Lynx, seeking to become the league's first back-to-back champions since the Sparks in 2001-02, returned nearly their entire roster from a year ago and matched their franchise record for wins set last season. They are also 19-1 at home this year, including 3-0 in the playoffs. Seimone Augustus (16.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg) appears fully recovered from a sprained right foot that forced her to miss three games down the stretch as she is averaging 19.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in the postseason. Maya Moore (16.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.6 apg) picked up her production in her second season and Rebekkah Brunson (11.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg) averaged 14.0 points and 11.0 boards in the first two rounds. Lindsay Whalen (11.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.4 apg) injured her left wrist in the opening round against Seattle, but still averaged 14.5 points, 4.0 assists and 30.0 minutes against the Sparks while shooting 54 percent from the field. And now the veteran point guard will have had a week between games when the Finals start. Minnesota led the league in scoring (85.9), but is down slightly at 80.8 in the postseason.. The Lynx, tied for tops in 3-point shooting at 40 percent during the season, are at 37 percent from beyond the arc after going 16 for 39 against Los Angeles. Minnesota also lost once in the conference semis a year ago and then swept in the next two rounds to win the franchise's first title. Moore averaged 22.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, and Whalen added 13.5 points and 4.5 assists in the two regular-season wins against Indiana. Augustus missed the teams' first matchup on Sept. 14 - a two-point win at Indiana - but had eight points in the seven-point win at home three days later.

Indiana: After overpowering Atlanta in Game 3 at home in the opening round, the Fever dominated top-seeded Connecticut on the road in the decisive third game of the East finals to reach the title round for the second time in four seasons. Now, after losing to Phoenix in five games in the Finals in 2009, the Fever will try again to win the franchise's first championship. Indiana matched the franchise record for victories in the regular season, set in 2009, to earn the conference's No. 2 seed. After going 9-8 on the road during the season, the Fever have won two of three on the road in the playoffs. Indiana will need at least one win at the Target Center, where the Lynx have lost just once this year. However, the Fever won four times in their previous five trips to Minneapolis before this season. Tamika Catchings (17.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.1 apg) and Katie Douglas (16.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.2 apg) set the tone for the Fever, but Douglas sprained her ankle in the finale against the Sun and her status is uncertain for the opener of the Finals. Catchings is averaging 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds in the postseason and Douglas was averaging 25.0 points in the three games before her injury. Briann January (10.3 ppg, 3.9 apg) increased her scoring to 12.5 points in the first two rounds, and Erlana Larkins has averaged 10.8 points and 10.2 rebounds in the playoffs - including three double-digit rebounding games after accomplishing the feat just once during the season. January and Erin Phillips will need to step up if Douglas is limited or can't play. Indiana tied Minnesota for tops in 3-point shooting at 40 percent during the season, and are at 38 percent in the postseason - including a 10-for-16 effort in the finale against the Sun. Catchings averaged 16. 5 points and 11.0 rebounds in the two regular-season games against Minnesota, and January added 15.0 points and 4.5 assists.

Prediction: Minnesota in 5.


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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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