May. 13, 2016
Why the WNBA Finals Matter
Trust me, just like any other final, they matter.
It's been 20 years since the beginning of the WNBA. 20 years since little girls could aspire to play in a league of their own. 20 years since women were able to show their worth by playing a sport professionally and not just collegiately. 20 years since the beginning of where we are now with the WNBA.
So, it would make sense that the 20th season of the WNBA would have a great series for the finals. For the last 19 years, the finals have been played by the best team from the Western Conference and the best team from the Eastern Conference. However, this year it was decided that the finals would be played by the two best teams overall in the league. Both the Lynx and Sparks are from the Western Conference and both had extremely strong records for the regular season.
The Los Angeles Sparks have not been to the WNBA Finals since they won their back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002. They are the only team to win back-to-back championships. It's been a long time, and in that time, the Minnesota Lynx have dominated the sport every year in some way or another. They have won titles in 2011, 2013, and 2015. But this year's finals is different than from the last 19 seasons.
The Lynx and Sparks had fantastic records this regular season. The Lynx, the number one team in the league, finished the regular season with 28-6, while the Sparks finished with 26-8. Los Angeles Sparks head coach Brian Agler used to coach for the Minnesota Lynx from 1999-2002 with a 48-67 record. This is Agler's second season coaching the Sparks and it is going much better than last season where the Sparks finished fourth in the Western Conference with a 14-20 record.
Candace Parker and WNBA MVP Player of the Year Nneka Ogwumike are the two top players for the Sparks. However, the Minnesota Lynx had four of their players on the roster for team USA women's basketball at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio this past summer. Nobody from the LA Sparks was on the US team for the Olympics, although Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike were training with team USA before the Games to make the roster, but were cut.
Game 3 of the finals is today ( Friday, October 14th) in Los Angeles at 6pm PT on ESPN 2. The series is currently tied 1-1 where the first two games were played in Minnesota. The Sparks were able to win game 1 by only two points with Alana Beard making the buzzer beater shot in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
However, the Lynx were able to get their defense together in game 2 and defeat the Sparks in a 79-60 victory. Maya Moore scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds of the night. Moving the series to Los Angeles will change the dynamics for the Sparks and their desire to win games 3 and 4 to ultimately win the championship in front of their home crowd, and make sure that they remain the only team in WNBA history to win back-to-back championships.
Make sure to keep up and watch the finals because trust me, you won't regret it.