WNBA, Liberty at Comets
When the Houston Comets defeated the New York Liberty 65-51 for the WNBA championship last August, Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes had a triple bagel: no points, no rebounds and no assists in five minutes. There's zero chance she'll put up such well-rounded but dismal numbers in this rematch, which is Houston's season opener. Swoopes, the 1993 NCAA Player of the Year and one of the WNBA's most celebrated players, missed the Comets' first 19 games last season because she was pregnant, but her performance in Houston's two preseason games this year suggests that she's back to her pre-prenatal form. A healthy Swoopes and the re-signing of reigning MVP and league scoring champ Cynthia Cooper (left) give the Comets one of the WNBA's most potent duos. With Houston in such fine shape, the message for Rebecca Lobo and her Liberty teammates is clear: New York, we have a problem.
? NBC, 4 PM
Stanley Cup Finals, Capitals at Red Wings (Games 3 and 4)
At last, some good news from the nation's Capitals. Washington, which has long been hockey's most reliable choke, for the first time earned a berth in the tussle for Lord Stanley's trophy. In this series, the seat of power is between the pipes. The Caps' Olaf Kolzig has had a monster postseason, giving up just 1.69 goals per game. During the Western Conference finals, Detroit goalie Chris Osgood (left) mixed the ridiculous (giving up a 90-footer in overtime of Game 5) with the sublime (shutouts in Games 1 and 6). The Red Wings are favored to repeat as NHL champs, but in sports as in politics, it's dangerous to count out the underdog. Just ask President Dewey.
? ESPN, SATURDAY AND TUESDAY, 8 PM; FOX, GAME 5 (AT DETROIT IF NECESSARY), THURSDAY, 8 PM
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Patrick Charpentier
De La Hoya's recent fights have been a lot like Hanson concerts—they've attracted hordes of squealing teenyboppers but have been short on talent. Since his shaky-but-unanimous decision over Pernell Whitaker last year, De La Hoya has defeated three lugs, and in this mandatory defense of his WBC welterweight title he faces a fourth in Charpentier, the No. 1-ranked contender from France. Until De La Hoya gets in the ring with IBF champ Felix Trinidad, fight fans will continue to tune him out faster than you can say "MMMBop."
? HBO, 10 PM
World Cup, U.S. vs. Germany
Forty years ago the Kingston Trio sang, "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley/Hang down your head and cry." If the U.S. should somehow win its first match in la Coupe Mondiale, their captain, Thomas Dooley, might shed a few tears of joy. Dooley, the son of an American serviceman, was born in Bechhofen, Germany, and played in the Bundesliga for nine seasons. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1992 and played for America in the '94 Cup. Shortly after being named U.S. captain in May, Dooley said, "If we beat Germany, I'm going to fly to Berlin and get a car and an American flag and drive through the whole country waving it." No doubt with his head held high.
?ABC, 2:45 PM
U.S. Open First Round
Roy McAvoy, Kevin Costner's character in Tin Cup, praised the Open as the world's most egalitarian tournament, and no Open course has been friendlier to no-names than the Olympic Club in San Francisco. In 1955, Jack Fleck caught Ben Hogan on the back nine on Sunday and won the playoff. In 1987, Scott Simpson won his only major. What no-name will break out this year? How about Jeff Maggert (left)? His game is tailored for Olympic's narrow fairways and wrist-breaking rough, and unlike Roy McAvoy, he knows when to take a drop.
? NBC, 3 PM; ESPN, 5 PM
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