One year ago today the Phoenix Mercury were humbled by the Minnesota Lynx as they meet again in the By Kris Habbas Aug 29, , am MST past them and into their third consecutive WNBA Finals appearance. Mercury, Lynx meet for fifth time in WNBA playoffs final four with winner Phoenix got past Minnesota in the West Finals on the way to its. graduates Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike meet again as WNBA all stars game against the Seattle Storm Thursday, July 3, , in Seattle.
Los Angeles avenged that loss on June 24 with a victory in Minneapolis. Such are the oddities of the WNBA schedule sometimes.
Sparks to host Lynx as WNBA leaders meet for final time in regular season
Despite being in the same conference, the Sparks and Lynx play each other just three times during this regular season.
And after a hiccup upon returning -- an loss at Connecticut in the first game back after the Rio de Janeiro Games -- Minnesota has defeated Seattle, Washington and Connecticut at home at Target Center. The Lynx play four of their last five games on the road.
The home game is the regular-season finale against Atlanta on Sept.
Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx ready to meet for final time in WNBA regular season
Before that are trips to San Antonio, Chicago and Indiana, with the latter two being playoff-contending teams. Getty Images There's still the remote chance that if either Los Angeles or Minnesota lost all its remaining games and New York won all five it has left, the Liberty could grab one of the top two spots.
But that's not realistic. So let's just go ahead and say it: The Sparks and the Lynx will be the teams with byes to the best-of-five semifinals. Which means after they finish their regular seasons, they will be waiting and watching for a while as the new single-elimination part of the postseason plays out. So it seems imperative to the Sparks and Lynx to finish on a strong note, and both seem likely to do that. Which puts all the more emphasis on Tuesday's game.
The first time they met, the Lynx's depth and bench was the story; they got 26 points from their reserves on a day when star Maya Moore was held to eight. Sparks standouts Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker were each limited to nine points that day, and -- despite Kristi Toliver's 20 points -- the Sparks weren't able to make up for that.
The second game, Moore was her normal self -- 28 points -- but the Sparks got more from Ogwumike 20 points and Parker 14plus had another big game from Toliver And, in contrast to the first game, when Minnesota dominated the boardsthe rebounding battle was essentially even the second time around, Sparks. In this third meeting, you know the Lynx will try to make things difficult for Toliver.
Not just because she was so effective in both previous meetings with Minnesota, but because she is such a key to the Sparks.
Why the Sparks and Lynx won't meet in the WNBA Finals for the third year in a row
Ogwumike, with her But Toliver's 3-point shooting opens up the floor so much for the Sparks, and she's shooting 45 percent from behind the arc this season. Point guard was the one position where they were impacted by injury, as Whalen missed 12 regular-season games. But all five played every playoff game. Some of these players have dealt with difficult injuries in the past, especially Beard and Parker.AMAZING ENDING to the 2016 WNBA Finals!!!
But all of them have excelled in taking care of themselves over the long haul. The fact that these two starting lineups have answered the bell most of the time the past two seasons has been a major reason why they've had the results they've had.
But, combined with the age factor, this could be a danger area for the Lynx and Sparks. The hunger factor We'll have a better idea several weeks from now of who appears to be the biggest challengers to the throne besides the Lynx and Sparks.
But Connecticut might be particularly hungry. The Sun got a taste of success in the regular season under WNBA coach of the year Curt Miller, as they went and made the playoffs for the first time since But the tricky nature of the single-elimination early rounds stung the Sun, who lost in the second round at home to Phoenix.
There's likely a hunger for the Mercury, too.
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Diana Taurasi, who turns 36 in June, would love another championship or two before she retires. New York has been frustrated by its playoff finishes the past several seasons, including last year, when the Liberty ended the regular season on a game winning streak, but then lost in the second round to visiting Washington.
Why the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx won't meet in the WNBA Finals again in
That's one area, though, where we haven't seen any letup with the Lynx since they won their first title in They've made the WNBA Finals every year since except forand their chemistry and winning mentality have stayed at a high level longer than any franchise in WNBA history. The Sparks don't have a run like that, but they were just as motivated and hungry last year as they were when they won the title in While we don't expect any hunger drop from the Lynx or Sparks this year, there might be another team or teams that challenges that level.
The probability factor In the WNBA's season history, the same teams have met in consecutive years in the Finals just twice: