Minnesota’s Journey To Being Crowned 2017 WNBA Champions

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate
Twitter

When the Minnesota Lynx opened up training camp back on April 23 at The Courts at Mayo Clinic Square, it was clear they were determined early.

All the talk coming into the new season was: Are the Lynx getting older? Will it be hard for them to bounce back from what happened in 2016? Is the end of their historic run over the previous six years?

Minnesota wasn’t focusing on any of that. The Lynx had their eyes set on something bigger at the end of the season, something shinier.

And, early on in the 2017 season, they answered all three of those questions with one simple answer: No.

The Lynx responded to all of those questions early on in the season, when they showed their championship-caliber play right out of the gate.

Minnesota went on to begin the year with a 20-2 start to the season, cementing themselves as the top team in the WNBA once more.

They went on to once again claim homecourt advantage in postseason play, finishing the regular season with a league-leading record of 27-7 while heading into the playoffs as the No. 1 overall seed for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

This was a performance many people didn’t expect out of Minnesota. But for the Lynx, they expected nothing less.

“I know that we have developed these expectations, I get it. When you get the No. 1 seed, people just look at you and say you’re the No. 1 team and you should win,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I just can’t explain to you in words to be those guys and to have to walk that walk every day of greatness and expectations every single day. They wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s just incredibly draining. Every night that we play, we get a team’s best effort, every night.”

In the postseason, the Lynx took off to another level, cruising in the semifinal round and reaching the Finals for the sixth time in the last seven years.

In the Finals, Minnesota faced off against the Los Angeles Sparks in a rematch of last year’s series that ended with a final-second victory for Los Angeles.

In 2017, the Lynx wanted to make sure they got their revenge.

Minnesota went on to do just that, beating the Sparks 3-2 in the best-of-five series to claim its fourth title in the last seven years.

Can someone say dynasty?

“Just to be able to win (in Minnesota) and for people to show up the way they did, it just shows they don’t take us for granted either. I think our journey of being successful, it’s the same for our fans and Lynx Nation. They showed up, poured it out during the game and got rewarded for it,” Maya Moore said. “Just happy to have another memory. Just when you think it can’t get any better, we create a new memory in the house that (Lindsay Whalen) built. I’m just over the top excited and happy we did it. And just the way we did it, no questions. It was clear we were the best team this year.”

From the first second they met on April 23 for the first day of training camp, the Lynx had their eyes on accomplishing nothing else but what they accomplished Wednesday night at Williams Arena.

To hold that shiny silver trophy above their heads with their home crowd yelling in excitement while celebrating their fourth WNBA title in franchise history, that’s what all the hard work was for. That’s what makes it all so worth it in the end.

“I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to just be around these guys every day. Most importantly about this group is we let each other be ourselves. There’s so much to say for that,” Reeve said. “I’m not easy to be around and our staff, I just think about our daily process together. You guys aren’t in it every day, so you don’t know. This is the most special time in our lives from a professional standpoint, but it’s the people that we do it with. We’re in it for life, this group, we’re in it for life. That’s an incredible blessing to be around this every single day.

“This group is just so special, just so special. This is incredible times in Minnesota sports history and in WNBA history.”