Ryan Ruocco’s first year on WNBA play-by-play winds down as Finals commence

Rebecca Lobo and Ryan Ruocco during the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game. (Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

Rebecca Lobo and Ryan Ruocco during the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game. (Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

The WNBA Finals 2013 Presented by Boost Mobile commence on Sunday, Oct. 6, when the Minnesota Lynx face the Atlanta Dream. The best-of-five series is a rematch of the 2011 championship in which the Lynx swept Atlanta in three games.

Play-by-play voice Ryan Ruocco – who works the game with Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe – spoke with Front Row to reflect on his first season calling WNBA games.

What’s your first season of calling WNBA games on ESPN been like?
This season calling WNBA has been a blast. This league is so helpful and it creates a culture of enjoyment. Whether it’s the coaches, players or league officials, everyone is so willing to make our jobs easier. There are some terrific athletes and that’s really what makes games fun to call. Watching a Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, Candace Parker or having an energetic crowd – it has all been good this year.

What is it like to call the games with a pioneer of the WNBA in Rebecca Lobo?
Rebecca is an excellent analyst and so passionate about her work. She really knows the game of basketball and is a true fan. It is comforting to me to have that trust in your partner. She’s as nice as she is talented which has made this an enjoyable summer.

Talk about the chemistry of your on-air team of Rebecca and sideline reporter Holly Rowe – you all seem to have fun during telecasts.
I’m so happy the fun chemistry between Holly, Rebecca and I comes across on air because we really do have a blast together. We respect each other’s work, which is always an important foundation for an on-air relationship. These two women are hilarious, and sometimes I wish we could air our lunch conversations – that’s how entertaining they are.

How do you juggle calling the WNBA and your “day job” on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco?
I love what I do so it makes it easier to juggle my responsibilities. I genuinely love play-by-play and love hosting a radio show in NYC. I think in some ways the constant go of juggling both helps fuel success in each because it keeps you constantly engaged and “on.” Also, the fact that ESPN has affiliates around the nation makes it very easy for me to find stations from which to do road shows.