In the days leading up to the New Year, WNBA.com is reliving the best of the league’s landmark 20th season in its 20 Moments of 2016 series. Check back each day from now until December 31 for more!
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
Before they met in what turned out to be an epic WNBA Finals, the Western Conference’s two powerhouses set the stage with a showdown in June. The Lynx won a thriller in the closing moments — another sign of things to come — when Renee Montgomery nailed a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left. The Sparks roared back to take the rematch in Minnesota three days later.
The stakes could not have been higher for a WNBA regular season matchup. It was the 20th anniversary of the league’s first-ever game. The league unveiled the WNBA Top 20@20, its list of the 20 greatest and most influential players, hours before tip-off. And for the first time in WNBA, NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL history, two 10-0 or better teams matched up.
Yet somehow the game itself lived up to its billing. The Lynx won the first of eight games between the two teams, but the takeaway was more how evenly matched they were. In fact, they would trade wins all the way through Game 5 of the WNBA Finals, when the Sparks emerged in the finals seconds.
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 21, 2016