We have progressed another two weeks and the NBA, WNBA ans NHL bubbles continue to downsize rapidly. We are almost down to the final four NBA teams with one Game 7 yet to go, the WNBA regular season ended on Sunday sending home one former Gopher, and the NHL is nearly down from four to the final two teams to play for the Stanley Cup, and the two remaining Gophers are clinging on for dear life. Here is a recap of the last couple of weeks of the former Gophers who remain in the bubble.
Amir Coffey and his Los Angeles Clippers are still in the bubble...for now. The Clippers will take on the Denver Nuggests in Game Seven of the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night with a date with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals to begin later this week. The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics are the two finalists in the East.
Coffey has yet to dress for any of the Western Conference Semifinal games, and shouldn’t be expected to see much more time in any further games this season
The WNBA completed it’s regular season on Sunday and only one former Gopher will be moving on. Rachel Banham and the Minnesota Lynx are the #4 seed in the playoffs and will play a single elimination game on Thursday night against the highest remaining seed after the two first round elimination games on Tuesday. The winner will advance to the WNBA semifinals where the Lynx would face either the Los Vegas Aces or the Seattle Storm in a best-of-five series. Amanda Zahui B’s New York Liberty finished the 22 game regular season with a 2-20 record and will head home in the drivers seat to win the WNBA’s #1 overall pick for the second season in a row.
Banham had a career game for the Lynx in their regular season finale on Saturday night. Given the chance to start with some of the other players sitting out for rest, Banham did not disappoint scoring a career high 29 points, adding a career high 10 assists for a double-double and shooting a remarkable 71.4 % from the field.
Banham was an absolute baller last night.— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) September 13, 2020
29 PTS / 10 AST / 71.4 FG% pic.twitter.com/1qLbSOCmaB
Banham hit seven threes to tie a Lynx single game record. Her 29/10 statline is just the third time in WNBA history that has been achieved along with Jia Perkins in 2007 and Diana Taurasi in 2010.
Amanda Zahui B finished her season with the Liberty on a high note. While her team struggled, Zahui B ended up having a good year averaging a career high 9.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in just over 25.3 minutes per game. She also turned heads with her gracious behavior to the staff in the bubble as well:
Despite tough season, disappointing last minute loss in final @nyliberty game of the year, @AmandaZahuiB went along the entire scorers table where, DJ , PA, stats and camera folks have been working hard and thanked them. Wishing them love and blessings. Very classy and kind.— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) September 13, 2020
The number of the Gophers remaining in the NHL is down to two, and both of those players are just one game from heading home. Nate Schmidt and his Vegas Golden Knights find themselves down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Stars with Game 5 taking place Monday night. Unless the Knights can run the table Schmidt will be heading home after a fairly successful playoffs. In 19 games thus far Schmidt has nine points including two goals. He has just one assist in the Dallas series and has been averaging just over 22 minutes a night for the Knights.
In the East, Nick Leddy and his New York Islanders are down 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game Five will be Tuesday night. Leddy has played will for the Isles recording six points including three goals in 20 games thus far. He scored a goal in the Game One loss and added an assist in the Game Two loss while averaging about 20 minutes a night. Unless the Islanders can win three straight it appears there will not be a chance for a Gopher to add his name to the Cup in 2020.
We will have at least one more update wrapping things up, but it’s possible by Thursday night the bubble could be over for all of the Gopher alums. Guess it’s officially time to move our focus to football.