The year is 2017.
The Minnesota Lynx are returning to the court after a devastating end to their 2016 season, falling to long-time rival Los Angeles Sparks by just one point in the fifth game of the best-of-five series.
Minnesota has one thing on its mind: Redemption.
With a majority of the roster returning for the Lynx, they were confident they could get the job done – and they did.
The season started out as good as it could have for then three-time WNBA Champion Minnesota. They won every game in their first month of action before their first blemish in the middle of June. By August, the team led the league in points per game (87.4) and assists (21.2). Everyone knew they would be seeing them in the Finals.
While everyone was putting in impressive and notable work on the court, Sylvia Fowles took things to another level. The 6-6 center earned three-consecutive Player of the Month awards for the months of May, June, and July. The 2015 WNBA Finals MVP title was just getting started.
At season’s end, the Lynx earned the No. 1 seed, and the reigning WNBA Champions – the Los Angeles Sparks – held the second seed.
The Semifinals were quick and easy for both teams; the Lynx swept the Washington Mystics, while the Sparks swept Phoenix Mercury.
The Finals are where things got interesting.
Game One of the Finals ended the same way the last game of the 2016 WNBA finals did: with a one-point deficit for the Minnesota Lynx. The 85-84 loss was not going to set the tone for the rest of the Finals for Minnesota, and they were able to take Game Two to tie them up at 1-1 in the series.
After splitting the Game Three and Game Four of the series against Los Angeles, it all came down to the fifth and final game of the 2017 WNBA Finals at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. Lynx fans showed up for their team, and The Barn was packed to the brim. The three-time champs gave them a show they were going to remember for a long time.
The fate of the 2017 season would be settled in forty minutes on the court. After being neck-and-neck a majority of the game, Minnesota led Los Angeles 79-76 with 34.9 seconds left on the clock. The last 30 seconds sealed the deal for Minnesota. Seimone Augustus sent a clutch pass to Maya Moore, who despite being off balance, threw the ball up and gave the Lynx a two-possession lead. Minnesota recorded stops on the defensive end, and with fouls to send Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen to the free throw line, that was game. The Minnesota Lynx were the 2017 WNBA Champions.
Both Fowles and Moore had double-doubles in the final game. Fowles put up 17 points and a whopping 20 rebounds, while Moore added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the squad. All five starters scored double-digit points. It was a total team effort that ended in an 85-76 victory.
If you were there, it’s hard to forget the celebration that erupted after the final buzzer. There were tears, there were screams, there were hugs, and even dancing. The Lynx had their fourth title in seven seasons.
The 2017 season was a long, hard-fought battle that ended in the sweet redemption that they yearned for.