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If you ask any great player or great coach, they will tell you that they never get used to winning. You don’t take it for granted. As soon as you do, you’ll be knocked down.
The Minnesota Lynx might not admit to it, but they have created quite the legacy in the WNBA.
They have appeared in three straight WNBA Finals and have won two of the three. The last team to achieve that feat was the Detroit Shock from 2006-08. Minnesota is the fourth team to win multiple titles in league history.
This postseason for Minnesota was special. The team went undefeated in postseason play. In the league’s history (with best-of-3 and 5 format) only the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm have accomplished that feat.
Minnesota came into the season as “underdogs”, which sounds funny when you consider its roster has four All-Stars on it. But coming into the season, many experts and analysts picked Brittney Griner’s Phoenix Mercury or the Los Angeles Sparks to take control of the West.
That changed when the Lynx rattled off 10 straight victories.
It changed once again when Minnesota lost four of five games after that winning streak.
And now here we are, and the Lynx are WNBA Champions. “Fight for it, we’ve had to fight all year, ups and downs,” said Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen. “To be able to come through and to win together, it's just so much fun.”
After the game, there was plenty of celebrating.
Celebration, though, is what made this team special during the regular season. The team would acknowledge feats, and yes, of course they were happy, but they knew the end goal was the WNBA title and without that, their season would be deemed a failure.
It sounds harsh, but that’s the expectation level this team had and has for itself. Reeve has set the bar to a championship level and after 2011, why not? The team had Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson in the prime of their careers along with an emerging star in Maya Moore.
Still, if everything looked great on paper, it doesn’t guarantee anything. That’s something life teaches us and last season the Lynx found out the tough way when they fell to the Indiana Fever in the Finals after being heavy favorites.
“There’s a lot of things about this season that were satisfying,” said team General Manager Roger Griffin. “... There’s a big difference between winning two out of three instead of one out of three.”
Next season, the Lynx will focus on repeating, but until then, you can bet they will be celebrating. After tonight, they certainly deserve it.
Whalen was asked if she thought her team was starting a dynasty.
She looked back, wiped champagne off her face and went back into midseason character.
“We are going to enjoy this night.”
That’s what makes the Lynx a special team.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.