In the winner-take-all Game 5, the Lynx won 85-76 behind 17 points and 20 rebounds from regular season and Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles. Minnesota’s triumph continued its streak of capturing the title in every odd year since 2011, and prevented the Sparks from becoming the first team to repeat as champion since 2002. The Lynx’s fourth title ties them with the Houston Comets for most in league history.
The Lynx entered Game 4 down 2-1 in the series, facing a must-win situation while the Sparks looked to repeat as WNBA Champions for the first time since L.A. won titles in 2001 and 2002. Sylvia Fowles led all scorers with 22 points and 14 rebounds, securing her fourth-consecutive double-double, as the Lynx won 80-69. Winner-take-all Game 5 tips off Wednesday (8 PM ET, ESPN).
Entering game 3 with the WNBA Finals tied 1-1, the L.A. Sparks looked to continue their hot streak at home and take another series lead. Minnesota wouldn’t go away easy, but the Sparks, led by Ogwumike, Odyssey Sims (16 PTS) and Candace Parker (13 PTS), won 75-64 and forced Minnesota into an elimination game in Game 4 on Sunday (8:30 PM ET, ESPN).
The Lynx came out hot in Game 2 in hopes of evening the series with the Sparks. Minnesota led by 18 at the end of the first quarter, but L.A. wouldn’t give up easily. The Sparks had a chance to tie it up (or win with a three-pointer) before Rebekkah Brunson came up with a clutch steal in the final seconds of the game to seal Minnesota’s victory, 70-68.
The Los Angeles Sparks opened the Finals in historic fashion, starting Game 1 on a 28-2 run. But the Lynx made the comeback, making things interesting in the final minutes of the game, eventually taking the lead with 6.5 seconds on the clock. Just as Alana Beard did for the Sparks in Game 1 in 2016, Chelsea Gray delivered the game-winning shot with two seconds left.
For the second time in league history, the WNBA Finals will feature a rematch. The top-seeded Minnesota Lynx and second-seeded Los Angeles Sparks will once again meet for the championship, following last year’s five-game instant classic. This will also mark the second all-Western Conference Finals matchup as a result of the playoff format that debuted last season in which teams are seeded regardless of conference. The series features star power in spades, including 11 former All-Stars and four former MVPs.
#1 LYNX DEFEAT #6 MYSTICS, 3-0
Game 3 (Lynx 81, Mystics 70): The Lynx advance to the WNBA Finals for the sixth time in seven seasons after winning Sunday’s Game 3 matchup with the Mystics. MVP Sylvia Fowles scored a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds while Maya Moore led the Lynx in scoring with 21 points. Elena Delle Donne paced the Mystics in the loss with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Finals tip September 24. Box Score | Moore Scores 21 | Fowles Tallies Double-Double
Game 2 (Lynx 93, Mystics 83): After being named MVP earlier in the day, Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota past Washington in Game 2 of the best-of-5 semifinals. Fowles tallied 25 points and nine rebounds, while Maya Moore added 22 points and five assists. Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver each scored 25 points for Washington in the loss. The series now shifts to D.C. for Game 3. Box Score | Fowles Scores 25 | Delle Donne Nets 25
Game 1 (Lynx 101, Mystics 81): The No. 1 seed Lynx defeated No. 6 seed Mystics in Game 1 of best-of-5 semifinals on Tuesday night in Minnesota. Seimone Augustus led the Lynx in scoring with 24 points, followed by both Sylvia Fowles and Renee Montgomery who added 18 points apiece. Minnesota shot 12-17 (70.6%) from downtown. Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics with 17 points and six rebounds in the loss. Box Score | Augustus Scores 24 | Lynx Make 12 Triples
#2 SPARKS DEFEAT #5 MERCURY, 3-0
Game 3 (Sparks 89, Mercury 87): The Sparks held the Mercury in a down-to-the-wire game in which Diana Taurasi tied the game at 87 apiece with 10.8 seconds left before Candace Parker scored the game winning bucket with 2.9 seconds remaining. Parker scored a double-double of 21 points and 11 assists while Odyssey Sims led Los Angeles in scoring with 22 points. Taurasi led the Mercury with 22 points while Brittney Griner and Camille Little both added 18 points. Box Score
Game 2 (Sparks 86, Mercury 72): The Sparks took a commanding 2-0 lead over the Mercury in the best-of-5 semifinals with an 86-72 victory in Game 2. Candace Parker led the way with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, but the Sparks got balanced production from other starters. Odyssey Sims (21 points), Nneka Ogwumike (18) and Chelsea Gray (15) were also in double figures. Box Score
Game 1 (Sparks 79, Mercury 66): L.A.’s quest to become the first WNBA team to repeat since the 2002 Sparks starts with a Game 1 win over Phoenix in best-of-5 semifinals. All of the Sparks’ starters scored in double-figures, led by Nneka Ogwumike with 19 points and nine rebounds. Phoenix’s Leilani Mitchell led the team with 19 points while Brittney Griner tallied 18 points. Box Score | Ogwumike Scores 19 | Mitchell Drops 19
SECOND ROUND: SINGLE ELIMINATION
The battle-tested Mercury overcame a 17-point deficit to surge past the up-and-coming Sun, as the powerful duo of Brittney Griner (26 points, 9 rebounds) and Diana Taurasi (23 points, 4 assists) led the way yet again. Taurasi improved to an incredible 11-0 in winner-take-all playoff games to help Phoenix to its ninth Semifinals appearance in 11 years. Named Most Improved Player before the game, sophomore star Jonquel Jones posted 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Sun.
Behind a historic performance from sharpshooting guard Kristi Toliver, the Mystics punched their ticket to the Semifinals for the first time since 2002. Toliver sank a WNBA record nine three-pointers, including five in the third quarter, when Washington outscored New York 25-10. The 2016 champ with the Sparks finished with a franchise playoff-record 32 points. Tina Charles led the Liberty with 18 points.
FIRST ROUND: SINGLE ELIMINATION
Washington earned a second round playoff berth by defeating the Dallas Wings 86-76 on Wednesday night in a single elimination matchup. Elena Delle Donne stepped up a big way for D.C. recording a double-double with a game-high 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She also was her typical efficient self from the free throw line shooting a perfect 8-for-8. While she only scored five points, Krystal Thomas cleaned up the glass and then some for the Mystics as she registered a playoff franchise record 17 rebounds in the contest. Aerial Powers led the Wings with 21 points while Glory Johnson finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Brittney Griner took her stellar regular season play into the Mercury’s single-elimination, first round showdown with the Storm as Phoenix defeated Seattle, 79-69 behind 23 points and 11 rebounds from BG. The Mercury’s big wasn’t the only one who stepped up for Phoenix in the win, Lelani Mitchell added 17 points including a clutch late in the fourth quarter to seal the winner-take-all first round contest. Breanna Stewart dropped a playoff career-high 23 points in the loss.