A little less than a year ago, the Minnesota Lynx endured a gut-wrenching, one-point WNBA Finals Game 5 loss on their home court to the Los Angeles Sparks. In the same situation this year, they got revenge. The Lynx took down the Sparks tonight for their fourth title in seven years, in a Game 5 that featured no ties and no lead changes—though L.A. was never too far behind and managed to keep things interesting up through the final minute.
The Lynx jumped out to a 7-0 lead and they never let go, thanks in large part to their dominance on the boards, out-rebounding L.A. by a 46-29 margin. But the Sparks didn’t make things easy. A Candace Parker buzzer beater got them within two at the end of the first quarter, and some dogged play by Chelsea Gray kept them in it while Minnesota tried to pull away with their first double-digit lead during the third.
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.
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). It’s the Lynx alone, though, who claim another trophy to round out what’s become a dynasty.