NEW YORK – After sweeping their respective semifinal series, the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks are set for just the second Finals rematch in WNBA history.
Before the Lynx aim for revenge starting next Sunday, WNBA.com spoke to numerous players from around the league to get their Finals predictions. We caught up with the following players, who are in New York for the annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon: Skylar Diggins-Smith, Cappie Pondexter, Chiney Ogwumike, Sugar Rodgers, Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis, Morgan Tuck, Kiah Stokes, Kayla Alexander, Matee Ajavon, Natalie Achonwa, Imani Boyette, and Tamera Young.
Eight of the 13 players predict Minnesota will win and claim its fourth championship in seven years.
“I think they’re on a revenge tour,” Diggins-Smith said of the Lynx. “But L.A. is playing some great basketball too, so I’ll say in five games.”
Achonwa said because of Minnesota’s lengthy run of success, the Sparks should be considered the underdogs, despite winning last year. Still, she picked L.A. to beat the top-seeded Lynx in five games.
“When the team is supposed to win, that’s added pressure,” Achonwa said. “Minnesota’s great, we know that. But the Sparks have that edge and that athleticism. I like the Odyssey Sims addition.”
Regardless of the outcome, everyone anticipates another classic series after last season’s Finals were decided in the final seconds of Game 5. Eleven of the 13 players said it will go to five games again, and the other two believe it will be won in four.
What will be the outcome of the 2017 WNBA Finals?
1. Minnesota Lynx in 5 games (54%)
2. Los Angeles Sparks in 5 games (31%)
T-3. Minnesota Lynx in 4 games (8%)
T-3. Los Angeles Sparks in 4 games (8%)
Two players, Rodgers and Boyette, said they won’t be watching the Finals because their competitive nature gets in the way. After their team is eliminated from contention, they can’t stand to watch others go for the trophy.
“My brother had the game on (Sunday) at my house, and I almost flipped out,” Rodgers said. “I’ll watch the game only if it’s going to determine who wins. Only a Game 5.”
“I was in L.A. during the semifinals and I could have gone to a game. I’m bitter,” Boyette said with a laugh. “Don’t want to watch someone who beat me.”
Ogwumike, meanwhile, will be providing postgame commentary for NBA TV throughout the Finals. She has been doing so for ESPN during the playoffs and will now join the NBA TV crew as her sister, Nneka, goes for a second straight title.