Four-tastic! Winning never gets old for the Minnesota Lynx WNBA basketball team, who brought a fourth league championship home to Minnesota on Wednesday.
In the deciding Game 5, the Lynx led the formidable Los Angeles Sparks from beginning to end — though things became touch-and-go in the final minutes. The defending champion Sparks had the talent to come back from big deficits, so local fans remained on the edges of their seats at Williams Arena until the very end. But the Lynx pulled out the win, 85-76, to reclaim the title. The Sparks defeated the Lynx for the championship last year by one point on a heartbreaking buzzer-beater.
Odd years seem to be a bit of a charm for Minnesota's finest. They've won titles in 2011, 2013, 2015 and now 2017. The veteran team is a joy to watch, with unselfish players who complement one another's strengths. And they do it all under the adept leadership of Coach Cheryl Reeve, the winningest coach in WNBA history.
This championship is especially sweet for a number of reasons:
• During the final game, all of the starters — including former MVPs, gold-medal Olympians and WNBA all-stars Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus — scored in double digits.
• Guard Lindsay Whalen, a Minnesota native and former Golden Gopher, played one of her best games of the season at "The Barn" on the U campus — the same court where she starred for the U 14 years ago.
• Stellar center Sylvia Fowles was named WNBA MVP for the regular season and the finals.
• And forward Rebekkah Brunson became the only WNBA player to win five championship rings — four with the Lynx and one with the Sacramento Monarchs.
The Lynx's fourth championship was especially sweet for Minnesota sports lovers who often fear the worst when their teams face the biggest challenges. Once again, the Lynx gave all Minnesota fans reason to celebrate with pride. Congratulations to a classy, cohesive team that deserves the national recognition it's receiving as a professional sports dynasty.
Editor's note: The Lynx are owned by Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune.