Lynx win 4th WNBA championship in Game 5 thriller over Los Angeles

Minnesota has won the title every odd-numbered year since 2010.

Quick summary: Maya Moore's runner at the free throw line with 26.5 seconds to play proved to be shot that broke the Sparks' back, stopped a ferocious last-minute rally by Los Angeles, and helped Minnesota win its fourth WNBA championship since 2011. 

Full summary: Minnesota and Los Angeles took the WNBA Finals to the limit again this season, but instead of the Sparks beating the Lynx in the final minute of Game 5 like they did last season, it was the Lynx leading from start to finish in front of a raucous crowd at Williams Arena. 

Final score: Lynx 85, Sparks 76 

Series MVP: Sylvia Fowles

Fowles, the 2015 WNBA Finals MVP, clinched her second Finals MVP (she was also the regular season WNBA MVP) with a dominating performance, pouring in 17 points to go along with a Finals record 20 rebounds. The previous record was 17 rebounds, which she set earlier this series. 

The Lynx jumped out to a 7-0 lead and carried that lead into the half, 41-35. Minnesota boosted the lead to 10 points early in the third quarter before the Sparks cut the deficit to 60-56 at the end of three quarters. 

The fourth quarter was back-and-forth until Minnesota took control in the final six minutes. An and-1 jumper by Rebekkah Brunson put the Lynx on top 75-67 with 5:29 to play, and Lindsay Whalen hit a pair of free throws to make it a 10-point game with 4:50 to play. 

Seimone Augustus' jumper with the shot clock winding down increased the lead to 12 with 2:20 to play. 

The Sparks responded with six straight points, including a steal of Whalen at mid-court that led to a breakaway layup to cut the lead to 79-73 with 46.5 seconds remaining. 

Minnesota turned it over again on the next possession and Odyssey Sims made a layup and was fouled. Her free throw was good to make it 79-76 with 34.9 seconds to play. 

That's when Moore hit her runner to break L.A.'s back. 

All five Lynx starters put up big numbers. 

  • Lindsay Whalen: 17 points, 8 assists
  • Seimone Augustus: 14 points, 6 rebounds
  • Maya Moore: 18 points, 10 rebounds
  • Rebekkah Brunson: 13 points, 8 rebounds
  • Sylvia Fowles: 17 points, 20 rebounds

The Lynx have won the title in every odd-numbered year since 2010 (2011, '13, '15, '17). Minnesota lost in the Finals in 2012 and 2016. 

Minnesota joins the Houston Comets as the only franchises in league history with four championships. Houston won the first four titles when the WNBA began in 1997. 

Brunson is the first player in league history to win five titles. 

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