Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx put together one of the most dominant seasons in the team’s history in 2016.
The Lynx finished the regular season with a franchise-best 28-6 record, which was enough to secure the best record in the WNBA and the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs.
Minnesota went on to appear in its fifth WNBA Finals in the past six seasons, looking to secure its fourth WNBA Championship in the six-year span.
The Lynx ended up falling just short of accomplishing that, losing in five games to the Los Angeles Sparks in a back-and-forth 2016 WNBA Finals. Nneka Ogwumike hit a jumper with 3.1 seconds left to give the Sparks a 77-76 Game 5 victory at Target Center.
“It’s something that I don’t think you’ll ever forget. All the emotions. Both teams were easily champions, just one team had to lose,” Lynx forward Maya Moore said on the first day of training camp on Sunday. “The way we lost, obviously it was heartbreaking. It just gives that fire and that hunger and that little chip on the shoulder to fight to get there again. Nothing like life hitting you in the face to make you live life even harder and fuller.”
As training camp opened up on Sunday afternoon for the Lynx, the topic of that Game 5 loss was brought up. But the Lynx didn’t focus on what might have went wrong in the series, but rather how they can build off of that and use it as fuel in 2017.
“That’s the last taste that we had in our mouth. It’s something that is a natural motivator and should be a part of our experience to grow from it. Growing from it means using it as motivation,” Moore said. “It’s so hard, we were so close. But now it’s let’s do it, let’s get back there.”
The Game 5 loss was one that Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said she originally didn’t plan on watching again. But a few days before training camp began, Reeve decided to watch it for the first time.
“I just watched it a couple of nights ago and it was the first time I watched it since we played it. I vowed not to watch it, but I thought perhaps there was something I could learn from it,” Reeve said. “It was good to do, it was a little bit of closure and now it’s onward and upward.
“When someone brings it up, you’re going to have the feelings. It’s never going to go away, ever. . . But you need to understand that doesn’t matter this year. It can fuel you.”
Although last season is in the minds of the Lynx as a new season gets underway, Minnesota aims to not just mirror their dominant season in 2016, but come back even stronger.
“We’ve carried around a certain feeling for six months. I suspect that when we start, we’re going to have a chance to let out some of those feelings,” Reeve said. “We are going to be on a mission to have a chance to get back. And that’s not easy to do, to get back and position yourself to win a championship. But we are going to be pretty hungry.”