Words by Jason Cordner
After losing to Los Angeles in last year’s WNBA Finals and nearly blowing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, the Minnesota Lynx held on to capture their fourth championship in seven years, with an 85-76 Game 5 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.
This was the sixth trip to the finals in seven years for Minnesota, after winning just one playoff game in their first 12 seasons.
All five of Minnesota’s starters scored in double figures, led by Maya Moore’s 18 points and 10 rebounds. WNBA Finals MVP, Sylvia Fowles scored 17 points to go along with her 20 rebounds, and Rebekkah Brunson, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen combined for 44 points
It was a roller-coaster ride of a series for a Lynx team that trailed 2-1 then nearly blew its lead in Game 5’s final minutes. But now, Minnesota reigns supreme as the new WNBA champion, even though this feeling is all but new to them.
The Sparks Didn’t Relinquished The Championship Easily
The Sparks, though, ultimately just couldn’t hang on. They suffered a costly loss with Nneka Ogwumike fouling out with five and a half minutes to play and L.A. down by seven points, followed by a shot clock turnover that set the Lynx up to go ahead by 12 points with less than three minutes left. With a 7-0 run in a matter of just 20 seconds—exploiting a lost ball turnover from Lindsay Whalen and a bad pass by Sylvia Fowles—the Sparks cut the deficit to three with 34 seconds remaining. But the Lynx took over from there, with a huge rebound from Fowles (one of 20 for her, breaking her own single-game Finals record) and a key shot from Maya Moore, who led the team with 18 points.
Rivalry In The Making
It was a fitting ending for a close series between a pair of teams that were well-matched in just about everything, from their near-identical regular season records (27-7 for the Lynx, 26-8 for the Sparks) to their score total in their past 12 match-ups entering tonight (908 to 908).
These two teams are the class of the WNBA. With attendance around the league going up, it’s great to have a legit rivalry going on in the league. Both teams really balled hard,all summer long.