Less than 24 hours after winning their fourth WNBA title in seven years Minnesota Lynx paraded along University Avenue on the campus of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Lynx defeated the Los Angeles Sparks in game five of the WNBA Finals 85-76, Wednesday. The 2017 WNBA regular season MVP Sylvia Fowles was named WNBA Finals MVP averaging a double-double in the series averaging about 18 points and 15 rebounds per game. Leading up to her 32nd birthday Friday, she’s celebrated back-to-back nights.
And on October 5, it was declared Minnesota Lynx day in both the state’s capitol St. Paul and Minneapolis.
“You all are amazing and the message that we here tonight, to women everywhere and to people everywhere. This is what leadership looks like,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said during the post parade ceremony Thursday. “This is what peak athleticism looks like, this is what teamwork looks like so the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota could not be more proud of our Minnesota Lynx.”
When the team was down 2-1 in the WNBA Finals the team’s goal was to go undefeated in October, head coach Cheryl Reeve said at the ceremony. They did winning back-to-back games to close out the series.
“You were there for us when we needed you most,” Reeve said of the fans. “The best fans in the WNBA.”
While the team relocated to Williams Arena in the playoffs, as their regular season home Xcel Energy Center was needed for the Minnesota Wild’s preseason games and Target Center was still undergoing construction, former Gopher Lindsay Whalen was back home.
In game five of the finals Whalen finished with 17 points and eight assists. Longtime Lynx Seimone Augustus also stepped up with 14 points, six assists and rebounds. Winning that game gave Rebekkah Brunson her fifth WNBA title as she’s only WNBA player to win five titles.
“I’ve been so blessed to be on really good teams and really good organizations. Being able to win four with this group here has just been awesome, here in this city, with you guys and these fans, I couldn’t ask for anything else,” Brunson said.
To close out game five Maya Moore hit the jumper to seal the deal when Sparks were dangling late in the game and cut Lynx lead down to three. Her clutch shot came in a chaotic situation where Sparks were pressing and Augustus threw a quick pass to her preventing a back court violation.
“I like to think I operate in chaos pretty well,” Moore said at the ceremony. “We practice for moments like that…everybody had a point in that play and I just put the staple on it.”
Moore finished the series deciding game with a double-double scoring 18 points and clearing 10 boards. For Moore this is her 15th career title as she’s notably won four WNBA titles, two Olympic Gold Medals, two NCAA titles, two high school titles and five international titles.
Credit also goes to the good teams she’s been on, Moore said. Helping her with her fourth title was league and finals MVP Fowles who recorded a double-double each game of the finals and piled up a WNBA Finals single game record of 20 rebounds.
“Last year game five within the last two minutes we lost two rebounds and that hurted me for a long, long time,” Fowles said before receiving her WNBA Finals trophy Wednesday night. “We came in at the beginning of this season and was like ‘look, we lost off rebounds.’ So that was the top of my mind and going into game five I said ‘if you don’t do anything else, you better rebound.'”
Lynx is now tied with Houston Comets for most WNBA titles in history with four.
By Gino Terrell