In a game of runs, the Minnesota Lynx ran out of gas when it mattered most and they dropped their playoff opener to the Los Angeles Sparks, 75-68 Tuesday night.
The loss ends the season for the Lynx and puts an end to the glorious career of Lindsay Whalen, who scored nine points to go along with five rebounds and five assists.
Minnesota built a 32-21 lead midway through the second quarter but the Sparks got hot and wound up leading by three at the half. They stormed out the gate in the third quarter, too, hitting four straight 3-pointers to push their lead to 14.
The Lynx responded, finishing the quarter on a 9-1 run to make it a 58-52 game.
A three from Whalen got the Lynx within three points with just over seven minutes to play, but Minnesota went ice cold down the stretch, scoring just five points in the final four and a half minutes while the Sparks put the game out of reach at the free-throw line.
The Sparks will play the Washington Mystics in a single elimination game on Thursday.
Whalen was congratulated by the Staples Arena public address announcer after the final buzzer sounded, and she later said she'll cherish all of the special moments she's had with teammates during her 15-year career.
"Being with my teammates, all the times in the training room and the locker room and hanging out on the flights. Just the relationships that you build, that's what you really remember when you look back," she said.