Lynx defeat Sparks 85-76 to capture WNBA Championship

06 October, 2017, 00:38 | Author: Ruben Patrick
  • Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker celebrates after forcing a jump ball while defending against Minnesota Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson in the first half in Game 3 of a WNBA basketball finals game Friday Sept. 29 2017 in Los Angeles

A year after the Sparks came to Minneapolis for Game 5 and left with the championship trophy, Reeve and the Lynx got revenge with a fourth championship, thrusting the team into any conversation about the league's best ever. The Lynx were already the league's oldest team with an average age of 30.22.

That defeat had to stick with them throughout the entire 2017 season.

These two teams are the class of the WNBA. They did not disappoint. Just as in 2016, the finals went to a fifth and deciding game. The Sparks fell behind by 11 points and then went on an 8-0 run, trapping the Lynx and forcing turnovers to get out in transition, cutting the lead to just three.

The way the Lynx won reminded Whalen of a quote former Lynx assistant coach Jim Petersen used to text her before big games.

"At a certain point, players make plays and Maya made that runner, which is why she's Maya Moore", Whalen said.

Moore somehow got the ball, evaded the pressure, drove to the middle of the lane and hit a one-footed runner to give the Lynx the breathing room they needed. Brunson has now won five WNBA titles in her career, the only player in league history to do so. If the Sparks leave Brunson open, Minnesota needs her to knock down shots. Both teams have 40 minutes left.

"They have something to say about numerous crises that are unfolding across our country, and some of what they have to say is informed by their own personal experiences with injustice".

Even with Beard, the Sparks were a younger group than the Lynx this year, which is something to consider for the future. The star power would have been relegated to the conference finals.

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Two teams, familiar with one another and hungry for a championship. In the end Minnesota was able to hang out and close out the series at home, something it failed to do last season, winning by the final score of 85-76.

And they elevated each other.

This year, the 6-5 center wasn't going to allow rebounds to be the problem, grabbing a WNBA Finals record 20 rebounds to go with 17 points and 4 assists. "I said to myself if you don't do anything else, you have to rebound".

Prior to the start of the WNBA Finals, league president Lisa Borders voiced support for all teams expressing their beliefs as part of a peaceful protest. Today's victor: Augustus. And yes, she takes that as a good omen. She finished with 17 points and eight assists and was an absolute menace on the defensive end, constantly disrupting the Sparks and diving for loose balls all night. She's tasked with guarding 2016 Finals MVP Candace Parker, too. Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Lindsay Whalen, and, of course, Maya Moore each had their moments throughout the series for the Lynx and in Game 5.

Los Angeles had trouble finding the rim in the opening minutes, missing its first five shots of the game.

When push came to shove in the finale, the Lynx's best players rose to the occasion.

"I absolutely believe the protests have been impactful", says Clarke, who has worked closely with the New York Liberty.

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