Two of Australia’ premier players will face off for the 2009 WNBA Championship next week.
Opals Penny Taylor and Tully Bevilaqua are the only players left to fly the Australian flag in the 2009 WNBA Finals.
Bevilaqua’s Indiana Fever have made their first WNBA Final in the history of the league while Taylor’s Phoenix Mercury have been to the decider twice before unsuccessfully.
Indiana defeated the Detroit Shock to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the final playoff while Phoenix knocked out Australian point guard Kristi Harrower’s LA Sparks to win the Western Conference.
Named in the 2009 WNBA All-Defensive First Team, Bevilaqua and the Fever bounced back from a 0-1 start to the Conference Final courtesy of a 56-72 upset to the Shock before Indiana took the next two 79-75 and 72-67 to advance to the final.
Taylor and the Mercury started their Conference Finals by cracking the century with a 103-94 victory over the Sparks. Phoenix dropped the next game but took the decider by 11 points 85-74.
2006 World Championship MVP Taylor posted 12 points and 4 rebounds in Mercury’s most recent outing while Bevilaqua scored 6 points and grabbed 2 steals.
The teams have met twice this season, trading blows as the Fever took the first 90-83 before the Mercury got revenge in Indiana with a 106-90 triumph.
Both Opals have already tasted the success of a WNBA Championship. Bevilaqua, alongside fellow Opal Lauren Jackson claimed the 2004 title for the Seattle Storm. Taylor also boasts one title, she took the 2008 crown with the Mercury.
The WNBA Finals will be shown on ESPN Australia from October 3.
Photos courtesy of D Clarke Evans and Ron Hoskins for NBAE/Getty Images