Just. One. Point.

The Minnesota Lynx lost the WNBA final championship game to the Los Angeles Sparks 77-76 Thursday at Target Center. Though the lost-by-a hair defeat was disappointing, Lynx play all season was far from it. In the Game 5 final, the Lynx ladies played a heart-pounding, thrill-a-minute game before a sold out, record-breaking crowd.

The defending titleholders didn’t fulfill their quest to win a fourth championship in six years. But they still provided fans with a terrific season up to and including the finals. They ended the year with an outstanding 28-6 record.

In the end, the two finals contenders couldn’t have been more closely matched. The teams kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout the series. On Thursday, the teams kept up with each other basket for basket, pretty play for pretty play. One sports commentator called the quality and physical nature of the game “astonishing.’’

A bonus for fans came last summer when four Lynx players were chosen to play on the USA Olympic team. The regular WNBA season was on hold during most of August for the games in Brazil. But with so many Minnesota players on the team, local fans still had a good dose of their hometown ladies playing on the international stage. Lynx starters Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles contributed mightily to bringing home the gold for the U.S. women’s basketball team.

Even after losing the finals to the Sparks, the seasoned Lynx players continued to exude class. They gave kudos to the Sparks as champions. And as guard Seimone Augustus said in a self-effacing focus on the future, “You couldn’t have a better series than the two top teams competing against each other and going to a five-game series. We always talk about great players making great plays. Throughout the five games, you saw people rise to the occasion … .

“This is what we needed. I hope that we gained a lot of fans around the world and around this country, and I hope they recognize how well that women’s basketball is being played in the USA.”

Congratulations to head coach Cheryl Reeve and her team. Next season can’t begin soon enough.