In the days leading up to the New Year, WNBA.com relived the best of the league’s landmark 20th season in its 20 Moments of 2016 series.
20 MOMENTS: WNBA Draft | Breanna Stewart’s Debut | Wings’ First Game in Dallas | Mystics-Sun Triple-OT | Lynx-Sparks Round 1 | WNBA Top 20@20 | Taurasi’s 7,000th Point | Hammon’s Jersey Retired | Jackson’s Jersey Retired | EDD vs. Stewie Duel | Olympians Capture Gold | Swin Cash Night | Pondexter Moves to No. 5 in Scoring | So Long, Penny | Stars Celebrate Duo | Tamika’s Farewell | Angel’s Playoff Showcase | Ogwumike Named MVP | Beard’s Finals Buzzer-Beater | An Epic Finale
The Sparks and Lynx had played some tightly-contested games during the regular season, and Game 1 of the WNBA Finals was no different. After a back-and-forth affair in which neither team led by more than five, Sparks guard Alana Beard hit a game-winning jumper as time expired to lift Los Angeles to a 78-76 victory on the road.
While Game 1 lived up to all the hype, it was one of the unlikeliest of heroes that delivered the final blow. Beard had scored just two points on 1-of-4 shooting prior to her buzzer-beating jumper. In a game featuring an abundance of superstars – four Olympians on Minnesota and a pair of MVPs for the Sparks – Beard found herself open with the clock winding down, and made the most of her chance.
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) October 9, 2016
Thanks to Beard’s game-winner, the Sparks stole home-court advantage with a massive victory over the defending champion Lynx. Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver each scored 19 points to pace the visitors.