Minnesota Lynx Defeat Sparks to Win 2017 WNBA Champion

Posted October 06, 2017

Pat Borzi's three-decade career in journalism has taken him from Long Island to South Florida to New England to New Jersey and on to Minneapolis.

Brunson nearly skips out of the locker room, champagne bottle in-hand, ready to celebrate her and her team's record-setting and record-tying accomplishments.

She was the one who was closest to Nneka Ogwumike as the Los Angeles Sparks star scored the game-winning basket in Game 5 of the Finals.

It's the fourth WNBA title over last seven years for the Lynx, who also won championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015. "Unbelievable", she said after Wednesday's win. The Sparks went a awful 2-of-18 from 3-point range on Wednesday, so more effective and consistent perimeter shooting are qualities both of them can bring. Fowles grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds, Moore had 10 boards, and Whalen contributed eight assists.

"I can't tell you how blessed I feel to just be around these guys every day", the Lynx head coach said.

The WNBA doesn't disclose terms of contracts, but Whalen, Augustus and Fowles all signed multi-year deals within the past 13 months.

"You just don't understand", Reeve said. "She'll know the way I'm thinking at all times". I don't take it for granted.

Championship moments were about to happen. Minnesota turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, and appeared destined to extend that streak to three. Augustus flipped in a tough floater from the baseline and hit Fowles with an absolute dime of a lob pass. "I just need to continue to go out there, be aggressive and play hard".

Her duck-ins, post-ups or rim runs don't look quite so easy against the best competition in a five-game series. "Most important about this group is we let each other be ourselves. She just made a decision to be very, very aggressive and get to the rim whenever she could".

The teams, which both earned byes into the semifinals due to having the top two regular -season records, advanced to the Finals with little difficulty, with the top-seeded Lynx sweeping the Washington Mystics and the Sparks doing the same to the Phoenix Mercury. On a night all the Lynx hustled and scrapped, outrebounding the Sparks 46-29 and forcing 17 turnovers, Whalen did her part.

The Minnesota Lynx are champions once again.

"It's no secrets. There's not a play we're going to call tomorrow that they won't know". Obviously she had to sit out a little while with a broken hand.

You also have to be in the game, which Ogwumike wasn't for the last 5½ minutes because she fouled out.

Two minutes later Whalen drove the lane and laid it in off glass, giving Minnesota a seven-point lead. Candace Parker led the Sparks with 19 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks while Chelsea Gray had 15 points and 8 assists. "(The 2016 Finals) haunted me for a long time after Game 5 previous year. "We tried to eliminate staying in a rotation as much as we could, tried to keep bigger bodies on them, but they were persistent, more persistent than we were, especially in the first 20 minutes". We needed her to be aggressive. She's scoring 17 points per game in these Finals on 56% shooting.

The final minute turned insane, with Whalen and Fowles committing turnovers under pressure.

"If I didn't do anything else, I wanted to make it my business to go out there and rebound", Fowles said. "I love the vibe of the barn". "Not that anybody knows about". With the 31-year-old Parker as the franchise surrounded by Ogwumike (27) and Gray (24) and Odyssey Sims (25), the Sparks are likely to win titles heading forward. It's from former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, and the words perfectly describe the championship Lynx as a collective. "Pretty loud, " she said, smiling. "All I have to say is, 'Never underestimate the heart of a champion'".