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 split the first four games of the WNBA Finals, setting up an epic Game 5 on Minnesota’s home court. The series ended the same way it began, with the Sparks hitting a go-ahead shot in the final seconds of a thrilling contest.
Maya Moore’s jumper gave Minnesota a one-point lead with 15 seconds left, putting the Lynx in position to claim their fourth title in six years. But the final bucket of the season would belong to recently crowned MVP Nneka Ogwumike, who grabbed her own miss and scored while falling down to put the Sparks back in front with three seconds on the clock. When Lindsay Whalen’s half-court heave at the buzzer missed, the Sparks’ celebration began.
After two straight losing seasons, the Sparks completed their remarkable turnaround with a championship. It was the franchise’s first title since the Lisa Leslie era (2001, ’02).
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 21, 2016
Making her first Finals appearance, Sparks forward Candace Parker capped off an incredible series by recording 28 points and 12 rebounds in Game 5. Up until then, Parker had achieved just about everything she could in basketball other than winning a WNBA championship. She also took home Finals MVP honors.