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the finals for a rematch with the championship on the line. I’ve got to say, the Lynx and Sparks delivered the goods. Last Wednesday, the Lynx got their revenge – they battled back from a 2-1 series deficit and clinched the 2017 title in a pulse-pounding winner-take-all gave five in front of a full-capacity crowd at Williams Arena.
The Lynx appeared to be in control of game five from the start, and they carried a lead that fluctuated from about six to 12 points for most of the game. Offensively, the Lynx were controlling the ball and moving it well; all five Lynx starters scored between 13 and 18 points and the Sparks were having a hard time defending a team that was mixing things up so well offensively. The Lynx appeared to have things under control when Seimone Augustus drilled a jumper to give them a 79-67 lead with about two minutes to go. However, Los Angeles wasn’t going to get dethroned without a fight. The Sparks deployed a devastating half-court trap in the final minutes that forced Minnesota into a few turnovers that the Sparks were able to immediately convert into fast break opportunities. Before the Lynx knew what had hit them, the score was 79-76 with 35 seconds to go.
Enter Maya Moore. In the most clutch, pressure-filled spot possible, the Lynx star took the ball, weaved through Los Angeles defenders, and hit an incredibly clutch floater from the top of the key that put a dagger in the Sparks’ comeback attempt. It was the kind of series-clinching shot that cements legacies, and as a Minnesota sports fan, it’s one of the most iconic sports highlights I can remember.
Moore may have hit the shot that got the headlines, but regular season MVP Sylvia Fowles was the biggest reason the Lynx are going to be putting another banner in the rafters of the Target Center. She continued to play her consistently dominant brand of bruising interior basketball throughout the playoffs and put up a stat line for the ages in the decisive game five of the finals – 17 points, 20 impressive rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. I mean, seriously, that’s incredible. Fowles became the first WNBA player since 2010 to win both the regular season MVP and the WNBA finals MVP. There is no doubt both awards were well-deserved.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning local hero Lindsay Whalen winning a championship on the same court where she led the Golden Gophers to a Final Four back in 2004. Whalen had been struggling to recover from a broken hand throughout the playoffs, but she showed up big in game five when her team needed her the most, putting up 17 points and eight assists in the decisive contest. It was awesome getting to see Whalen celebrate a title at the Barn, and there’s no doubt that her solid play and ball distribution helped pace the Lynx in game five.
I routinely hear sports fans bemoaning the lack of championship-caliber professional teams here in Minnesota, but those people need to open their eyes. If you like basketball, you need to do yourself a favor and check out our WNBA team. The Lynx are once again the class of the WNBA and a borderline dynasty — they’ve competed in six of the last seven WNBA finals and won four of them — and I am proud to be able to pull for this team.
Lynx win fourth title in seven years
One year after being forced to watch the Los Angeles Sparks celebrate the 2016 WNBA championship at the Target Center after winning on a last-second putback, the Minnesota Lynx knew they had a score to settle. It was obvious all season that the Lynx and Sparks were, once again, the top two teams in the WNBA by a considerable margin. It was clear they were on a collision course for a rematch for the title. For fans of the game, this was the best-case scenario - two juggernauts meeting in
By Andy Thayer
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