The Minnesota Lynx avenged last season’s Finals loss to the Los Angeles Sparks with a 85-76 win in the decisive Game 5 at home to earn the franchise’s fourth title (and fourth in the past seven years). What the San Francisco Giants were to even years in baseball, the Lynx have been to odd years in the WNBA, winning titles in 2011, 2013, 2015, and now 2017.
The league MVP Sylvia Fowles also earned Finals MVP honors and led the way for the Lynx with a tremendous performance as she racked up 17 points and 20 rebounds (breaking her own WNBA Finals record) in the win. Maya Moore led the Lynx in scoring with 18 points and 10 rebounds of her own, as all five Minnesota starters finished with at least 13 points.
The margin of victory doesn’t tell the story of how tight the game got late. Minnesota held a 12-point lead with under two minutes to play, but a furious 9-0 run by the Sparks in 57 seconds closed the gap to a single possession and made for some nervous home fans. However, the Lynx were able to regroup, and, unsurprisingly, it was Moore who hit a big bucket after a near turnover to stop the Sparks’ run.
The Lynx never trailed in the game, leading from the opening bucket through the final buzzer, but the Sparks made it interesting and never let them run away. Candace Parker led all scorers with 19 points and added 15 rebounds to keep Los Angeles in the game, but the balance of Minnesota’s starting unit proved to be too much for the Sparks in Game 5.