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20 Moments of 2016 – October 9: Alana Beard Delivers Instant Classic

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 Moment

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.

The Flashback

Mini-Movie: 2016 WNBA Finals Game 1

The Significance

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.

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.

Related

Behind The Shot: Inside The Sparks’ Game 1 Buzzer-Beater

Unheralded Beard Buries Lynx In Game 1

Game Recap & Box Score