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Let’s play FIVE!!!

’cause damnit, we can use the distraction right now….

Mechelle, ESPN: Rebekkah Brunson, Lynx dominate rebound to force WNBA Finals to decisive Game 5

“As far as our fans in Minnesota, they really do support me, as they support us all,” Brunson said. “Maybe it’s that they understand the grit. They know what it is to go work hard for everything you get. And they respect that.”

Neil Olstad, Canis Hoopus: Back Against the Wall: Lynx Win, Force Game 5

Holding an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter the Lynx were two minutes away from forcing a fifth and final game of the series. With the shot clock winding down Lindsay Whalen heaved a deep three-point shot, Rebekkah Brunson tracked down the long rebound, quickly dished to a cutting Maya Moore who scored the layup while drawing the foul. Not only was this the backbreaking, dagger moment that halted the surging Sparks, it also perfectly encapsulates how the Lynx won the game.

Derek James, Summitt Hoops: WNBA Finals recap: Sylvia Fowles, Rebekkah Brunson help Minnesota Lynx force Game 5

Sunday’s contest was once again an exhibition of defense. The Sparks forced the Lynx to settle for midrange jumpers early on. When Lindsay Whalen would feed the ball into the post, the Sparks would immediately double the pass catcher. That was until the Lynx used their own defense to assert their own will.

Ben Dull, Summitt Hoops: Lynx even series with little things

Rebekkah Brunson

The four-time WNBA champion lived at the free throw line on Sunday night, shooting 10-for-13. To get there that many times, Brunson was active early on as a cutter — first around Fowles or Augustus posting up, then finding an open spot as Lindsay Whalen drove toward the paint. Brunson also pulled down four of Minnesota’s 16 offensive rebounds and continued to hold her ground against one of the most versatile forwards in basketball.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Rebekkah Brunson answers Sparks’ dare

George Alfano, Twin Cities/Pioneer Press: Lynx force Game 5 of WNBA Finals with 80-69 win in L.A.

“I just wanted them to put everything in the 75 possessions and let the chips fall where they may,” said Reeve. “I’m proud of our team. Only one team came in here and beat them this year. We got on the glass, and they rose to the challenge.”

Bleacher Report: WNBA Finals 2017: Lynx Force Game 5 with Impressive Game 4 Victory vs. Sparks

Zone Coverage: Dominant Rebounding Vital as Lynx Push WNBA Finals to Game 5

Fanrag: Lynx force decisive Game 5 in WNBA Finals

Excelle: Lynx use rebounding prowess to force winner-take-all Game 5

Mike Guardabascio, LA Daily News: Lynx top LA Sparks, force Game 5 Wednesday

A spirited fourth-quarter rally by the Sparks wasn’t enough to overcome three quarters of lackluster offense. For the second consecutive year, a sellout Staples Center crowd went home disappointed after Los Angeles failed to close out the WNBA Finals in Game 4 against Minnesota when the Sparks fell on Sunday, 80-69.

“I give credit to Minnesota,” said Sparks coach Brian Agler. “They played a great defensive game, they made it very difficult for us. Our offense didn’t flow, and we didn’t make great decisions.”

LA Times: Lynx force decisive Game 5 with 80-69 win over Sparks

The Staples Center party was scrubbed. The champagne in the home team dressing quarters stayed on ice.

Maybe the Sparks can find solace in needing to circle back east for Game 5 of the WNBA Finals after an 80-69 loss Sunday. They’ve been there, done that, having gone through the same pattern in their championship series with Minnesota a year ago: win and loss on the road, win and loss at home, then a conclusive victory on the Lynx’s court.

They should have known that, after inducting a player named Odyssey into the lineup for the title defense, their season would again become an . . . odyssey

Swish Appeal: After Game 4 loss, Sparks searching for answers

WNBA Insider: Lynx Force 5!
With their backs against the wall, the Lynx looked focused whistle to whistle. We at the Insidr have stressed that players like Rebekkah Brunson, Seimone Augustus, Odessy Sims and Chelsea Gray would be key for their team to win. Game 1 we saw Gray do it and at times Sims, but tonight Brunson took over showing why she is on the brink of becoming the first player to win 5 rings. The Sparks struggled to outmuscle the Lynx frontcourt letting the Lynx take multiple second-chance attempts. 

Bill Plaschke, LA Times: Sparks’ loss is hoop fans’ gain

Sylvia Fowles was whacked in the right eye, stopped cold under her basket, stood there frozen while trying to shake away the blurriness.

She couldn’t. For five minutes, she couldn’t see out of the eye. It didn’t matter. The Minnesota Lynx center stayed in the game, because that is what you do when you’re in the middle of a fight.

“Don’t tell anybody,” she said of playing blind. “But I wasn’t coming out.”

Ramona Shelburne: Lynx-Sparks has grown into one of best rivalries in women’s basketball history

Maya Moore sat at her locker and stared off into space. She wasn’t playing on her phone or eating or talking to any of her teammates after helping Minnesota to an 80-69 win over Los Angeles on Sunday evening at Staples Center to stave off elimination in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals. She was tired after yet another bone-crushing, heavyweight bout in what has become one of the best rivalries in WNBA history.

“I don’t know if there’s been another [rivalry] like this,” Moore said.

Teammate Renee Montgomery nodded as Moore spoke.

“There hasn’t,” Montgomery said.

SB Nation: This stat shows how great the Lynx-Sparks rivalry really is

espnW: 20 Questions: The WNBA Finals heat up and ‘Battle of the Sexes’ significance

Kent Youngblood, Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Can Lynx deliver first and last blow against Sparks in Game 5 of WNBA Finals?

See, this se­ries has borne a strik­ing re­sem­blance to last year’s Finals, be­tween the same teams. Step by step, a mir­ror image. L.A. in Game 1, Lynx in Game 2, L.A. in Game 3, Lynx in Game 4.

But, en­ough.

Lynx fans will re­mem­ber the pain of the last-mo­ment loss to the Sparks on the Target Center floor last year. So if the nar­ra­tive of this se­ries has mim­icked that? It’s time to stop.

Huffington Post: If You Want To Support NFL Player Protests, Watch The WNBA Finals

 

Other stuff

From Anya Lavarez/Shadow League: Falling In Love With The WNBA – As the WNBA season comes to an end, I reflect on my transformative experience of becoming a fan of women’s basketball (hopefully the huge factual error will be rectified by the time you click through)

Fresno Bee: How to help a victim of domestic abuse – from an Olympic gold medalist who’s been there

Ruthie Bolton is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, former WNBA basketball star and first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. She’s also a survivor of domestic violence.

Years of beatings from her ex-husband finally ended when she left him after he threatened to kill her, Bolton says. Now she’s on a mission to help others get out of abusive relationships. She’ll continue that work in Fresno on Oct. 13 as the keynote speaker for the Marjaree Mason Center’s annual Top Ten Professional Women and Leading Business Awards luncheon.

In September 2014, the International Basketball Association (FIBA) began revising the rule on allowing headgear in the sport.
This past May, FIBA’s central board approved a proposal to eliminate the ban on headgear, which included the hijab and yarmulke.
And today, the ruling came into effect, with the hope that athletes from countries who wear headgear as a part of religious custom, will not feel excluded. (During the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, the Qatar women’s team withdrew after they were denied permission to wear the hijab)
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Buckle Up

So, while perhaps it didn’t have the heart-pounding drama of the first two games, there was certainly plenty to keep the fans (and fan celebs: Snoop Dogg, stars give live updates from WNBA Finals) revved up. Now, we’re on the brink. In a place where “away teams” come to lose, Minnesota needs to dig deep if they want a shot at the title. The Sparks have no interest in given them that chance.

Hello? Winona Daily News: Alexander: If you aren’t paying attention to WNBA Finals, you should

It is a great show. If you aren’t paying attention, it’s your loss.

The WNBA Finals rematch between the Sparks and Minnesota Lynx arrived at Staples Center Friday night, and it didn’t quite follow the same script as the first two games in Minneapolis.

In other words, it didn’t go down to the final seconds.

Hello, again: Chicago Daily Herald Why this year’s WNBA Finals are must-see TV

This rematch Finals series between the Los Angeles Sparks, last year’s champion, and the Minnesota Lynx, last year’s runner-up, is another doozy. Game 1 in the best-of-five series ended with a buzzer-beater.

And guess what? The ratings on Game 1 were pretty darn good, the best ever for a Game 1. They were up 20 percent from last year’s Game 1. So don’t tell me that no one is watching.

AP/Jill Painter Lopez: Los Angeles Sparks a win away from repeating as WNBA champs

“I think we have players that are competitors. We have players that know the way we want to play,” Candace Parker said. “Look, I can tolerate just losing in terms of us beating beat, them beating us. We want to make sure it’s what they’re doing and not what we’re doing in a game like this. We have to take care of what we can control.

“We can control how hard we rebound and how hard we play defensively, how we move offensively, the pace with which we play. That’s what’s important in this game, keeping both eyes on the journey.”

It seemed fitting that while addressing the media after the game, Parker, a 10-year veteran and last year’s Finals MVP, used the term “mature” three times.

The Sparks, she suggested, are mature enough to realize the necessity of taking each possession seriously. Mature enough to “not try to swing for the fences and hit the home run at the beginning of the game.” Mature enough to understand how one sequence, such as teammate Alana Beard’s steal of the ball from Fowles on Friday paired with Chelsea Gray’s three-pointer, can alter the course of a game.

ESPN/Ramona Shelburne: Unburdened Candace Parker has Sparks one win away from repeat

Last year on this walk, the first time Parker had come to this precipice — one game away from winning the championship that most observers thought she’d have a bookcase full of after her stellar college career at Tennessee — the entire weight of her decade of unfulfilled expectations, frustrations and insults from a women’s game that never truly knew how to embrace her, crashed down upon her.

She felt off in a way she couldn’t quite put her finger on, but she knew she could discuss it only with a kindred spirit.

“I think sometimes people think great players don’t have doubts,” Parker told ESPN after the Sparks’ 75-64 victory over the Lynx at Staples Center on Friday put them within one win of a repeat. “But people have doubts. People have weaknesses. They have things that are clouded in their minds.”

ESPN/Mechelle: Chelsea Gray, Odyssey Sims dominate perimeter to put Sparks on verge of repeat

In the 13-year gap between Finals appearances, the Sparks had good talent, including at guard. But the exact right combination on the perimeter seemed to elude them, and that cost Los Angeles a chance to compete for a championship more than once. Now, though, the Sparks seem to have found it in consecutive years.

LATE ADDITION from Mechelle: Sparks are on the brink, but Lynx look to extend WNBA Finals

The Lynx have played plenty of must-win games in the WNBA Finals during their remarkable run of success over the past seven seasons.

They lost to Indiana in Game 4 in 2012. They beat Los Angeles in Game 4 last year. And they are 1-1 in decisive Game 5s, beating Indiana in 2015 and losing to the Sparks in 2016.

So as they prepare for Sunday’s Game 4 (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET) at Staples Center, down 2-1 to the Sparks, they aren’t rattled or panicked.

New York Times: Sparks’ Alana Beard Finds a Home on the Waves

When the Los Angeles Sparks are at home during the W.N.B.A. season, guard Alana Beard starts almost every morning with coffee at The Cow’s End Café, a Bohemian spot a few steps from Venice Beach, sipping cortados and mingling with surfers who have become like family to her.

When Beard was picked second over all in the 2004 draft out of Duke, she would have never thought to engage guys like Jay and Jim, the longhaired, flannel-wearing locals who taught her how to surf last year. Beard was reclusive socially, consumed by basketball to the point where it strained her body and her personal relationships.

Hoopism: Sparks, Lynx set for Game 4 battle

Augustus said the Lynx are not affected by expectations that they avenge last year’s Finals loss.

“What pressure haven’t we faced before?” she said. “The last seven Finals, we’ve been a part of, and we’ve won three championships. There’s not a pressure we haven’t seen or faced before, so why would there be some pressure now?”

Swish Appeal: History on the line, will Sparks repeat or series return to Minnesota?

Star Tribune/Kent Youngblood: Lynx need to reignite offense to tie Finals series – Their starting guards were scoreless in the Game 3 loss to the Sparks. 

The Lynx didn’t practice Saturday. They put up some shots at USC’s Galen Center, then watched film. At this point in the WNBA Finals, with their backs against the wall, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said the team already knows the X’s and O’s. At this point it’s more about minding their P’s and Q’s.

It’s all about the details. Either that or let the season end.

Ultimate professional: In her final season, Plenette Pierson turns out to be the perfect addition to Minnesota Lynx

Plenette Pierson announced her retirement from the WNBA in what her friends might describe as a totally Plenette way: spontaneous and unconventional, though with her heart in the right place.

It happened Aug. 18 at the annual Minnesota Lynx Breast Health Awareness Night, following a game against the Indiana Fever at the Xcel Energy Center. The Lynx were auctioning off the pink jerseys they wore that night, as many teams do. Pierson, the veteran backup power forward, thought her jersey might fetch higher bids if fans knew she wasn’t returning next season. So she blurted it out.

Show me the (bonus) money! Sylvia Fowles headlines all-WNBA 1st team, along with teammate Maya Moore

Well done: Seattle’s Sue Bird Wins 2017 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award

Stick to Sports: Gray donating shoes and clothes to homeless children

BTW, Excelle headline writers, fixed it for you: Sparks expected to continue national anthem protest against racial injustice in Game 3 of WNBA Finals

TMZLA Sparks’ Essence Carson: WNBA Finals Protest … NOT ABOUT THE FLAG!

South Florida Survivor: Former WNBA Star Chantelle Anderson Overcomes Challenges To Become Confidence Coach

For Chantelle, that story starts in California, where her parents divorced when she was a young girl. They struggled financially, and she says her mother lashed out.

“It was physical abuse at the hands of my mom,” Chantelle told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “We would get beaten for doing nothing. Had to lock ourselves in the room sometimes and she’d be banging on the door.”

Chantelle says she battled eating disorders and turned to self-harming behaviors to feel some sense of control over her life.

“When you go through things like that you start questioning, ‘Why is this happening to me? Did it happen because I’m not worthy of better? Did it happen because I deserved it?’ I struggled with a lot of that growing up,” she said.

Basketball became her outlet.


USA Basketball
Friend, if you’re going to say stuff like this, you better be calling the NCAA or the FBI. Notre Dame women’s basketball makes volunteering competitive

While men’s college basketball is at the core of an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption, there are possible residual effects for the women’s game, McGraw said.

“Clearly, we don’t have that kind of money (involved),” McGraw said, “and that’s probably why we’re not having the same problem, but there’s still cheating going on, and maybe this is a wake-up call to clean that up.”

Pondering post-college life? Amsterdam Times/Lois Elfman Big East guides student-athletes in transition to life after college basketball

All the Big East conference schools sent a selection of women’s basketball student-athletes to New York last weekend to participate in the second annual Transition Game Program. Twenty-three juniors, eight seniors and two fifth-year seniors took part in the interactive program designed to assist them in the transition to life after college.

“I love this conference,” said Villanova junior guard Adrianna Hahn. “It’s crazy competitive on and off the court, and I think that’s great. It’s not just basketball they care about. They care about how we develop away from college and after college. They really care about our well-being.”

Whether it was on the track or basketball court in high school, or on the court in college, Donna Beed was a winner.

The 1983 McAlester alumna won the 1982 Class 4A state championship in the 100-meter hurdles and was runner-up in the event the following year. As a senior, she made the all-state basketball team as a power forward, propelling the Lady Buffs to the Class 4A girls’ basketball state title. She was also part of Southwestern University’s 1985 NAIA Division I national championship. 

And today, Beed is grateful to be inducted into the McAlester Athletics Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Sept. 29.  “I’m humbled by the fact that someone thought enough of my time there to recognize it decades later,” Beed said. 

Roc helped the women’s program move from being an OUA afterthought into a perennial national power and on Sunday she will be among the inductees in the schools’ 2017 Alumni Sports Hall of Fame Class.

“I am so humbled and honoured to be part of that,” said the 33-year-old Roc, who is now a Toronto police constable. “I think back and I have no regrets. I’m glad to be part of that building.”

High School

She graduated from D.C. Everest in 1989 as the leading scorer and rebounder in program history, and still holds both records to date, in spite of longer seasons, longer games and the addition of the 3-point line. Ouimette was also chosen as the 1989 WIAA Wisconsin Scholar Athlete Award winner and named WBCA Academic All-State.

She attended the University of Tennessee on a basketball scholarship and played for the 1989-1990 NCAA basketball champions, coached by the legendary Pat Summitt. During her freshman year, Ouimette’s team won the Southeastern Conference and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. She received the Tennessee Athlete Academic Award for maintaining the highest GPA among student athletes.

the yumminess that was last night’s game, here are some of the results:

Mechelle, ESPN: Lynx follow Lindsay Whalen’s lead to even WNBA Finals

Sylvia Fowles sensed it was going to happen. So did Renee Montgomery and Rebekkah Brunson. They all felt like Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen was ready to have a big performance in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals.

“I was telling her all day today: ‘The way they are guarding you, you can score,'” Montgomery said after the Lynx held off the Sparks 70-68 and evened the best-of-five series at 1-1 on Tuesday. “I told her, ‘You’re the pull-up queen, that’s your wheelhouse.’

Pat Borzi, ESPN: Rebekkah Brunson bounces back to help Lynx win Game 2

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve has coached Brunson for eight seasons, through three title runs and two WNBA Finals defeats. She can sense when Brunson is disgusted with her play and knows how she usually responds — with tenacity.

Swish Appeal: Brunson’s timely steal halts LA’s comeback; Lynx tie series

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lynx hang on to defeat Los Angeles 70-68 in Game 2, tie series 1-1

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen helps orchestrate one more victory at the Barn

This should have been a night to celebrate, but after she dribbled out the final seconds Whalen wearily flipped the ball to an official and accepted a mobbing by her teammates as if she wanted nothing more than a soft couch and a hard sleep.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Defense down the stretch allows Lynx to win Game 2

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Bravo to Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve

One my pet peeves about Minnesota media is that there are so many in our ranks who will ask the soft, easy, question in an attempt to either ingratiate themselves to a coach or player, or because they’re simply afraid to ask anything pointed.

So I applaud Cheryl Reeve. When the Lynx coach was asked soft questions about her team’s gutty comeback in a Game 1 loss in the WNBA Finals, she didn’t take the easy way out.

Canis Hoopus: Lynx Beat LA, Even Series

Bleacher Report: Lynx Survive Sparks Rally to Even 2017 WNBA Finals at 1-1

Deadspin: Lynx Hold Off Sparks Comeback To Take Game 2 Of The WNBA Finals

FanRag: Lynx defense the difference in series-tying Game 2 win

The Daily Breeze: Sylvia Fowles, Lynx even series with Sparks

SB Nation: Lynx tie series with Sparks in ANOTHER wild WNBA Finals finish

Swish Appeal: Fowles’ record night sets tone for a raucous Lynx victory

Zone Coverage: FAKLIS: When Championship Pedigree Doesn’t Matter for the Lynx

this isn’t a series that is based on the wealth of experience the Lynx have built over the last half decade (and change). This is a series built around two teams so evenly matched, that a double-digit victory seems less likely than the 20-plus point comebacks seen in the first two games.

It’s become clear that, despite making six WNBA Finals in seven years, Minnesota’s championship pedigree and experience isn’t good enough to beat LA.

Los Angeles Times: Sparks let one slip in 70-68 loss to Minnesota Lynx in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals

On the final play, Sparks point guard Chelsea Gray — a hero in Game 1 after making a last-second shot — couldn’t produce a replay, as three defenders engulfed her, making it impossible to shoot or pass, and the ball was stolen as the clock expired.

The Sparks fell 70-68. The series is tied 1-1.

“It was disappointing,” Sparks coach Brian Agler said. “We had a play, we just didn’t execute it.”

Game photos.

I will say, it was disappointing to hear so many Minnesota fans supporting racial injustice with their boos. I thought more of them. Perhaps they haven’t read the news?

Bitch magazine: All Of The Work, None Of The Credit: Don’t Drop The Ball On The WNBA’s Activism

Ah, HAH!!! (but no details): San Antonio Stars guard Moriah Jefferson undergoes successful knee surgery

Show them the (bonus) moneyTop rookie Allisha Gray highlights All-Rookie team

YesImani Boyette speaks up to save lives, lead others to hope and help

Sweet: Women’s National Basketball Players Association to donate money from league fines (Girls Who Code, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, the Greater Houston Community Foundation for Hurricane Harvey relief and the Southern Poverty Law Center)

NCAA

Dayton Daily News: Deeper roster ‘a good feeling’ for Wright State women’s basketball

A little history, as a program on the rise reflects on its beginnings: First Belmont women’s basketball team reunites at Friday morning convo

“For a college president to listen to a female, 24 years old, in the 60s, is unheard of,” said Wiseman.

The Lady Rebels — Belmont’s nickname wouldn’t be the Bruins until 1995 — were formed, but spent most of the first year in the shadow of the men’s team.

The women practiced after the men’s team finished around 9 or 10 p.m. At the time, women were also not allowed to wear shorts on campus. They had to wear pants to the gym. When leaving campus, the women were not allowed to wear pants at all — they had to wear dresses.

“We were behind them in everything else, but we had an opportunity, and that was the whole point,” Wiseman said in a video that played during the convocation.

So, looks like men’s D-1 basketball is in a whole lotta trouble. Some thoughts/questions:

  • Why didn’t the community speak out? It’s clear many knew this level of corruption was going on, and yet no. one. said. a. word. And the journalists who are hinting there’s worse to come? How much did your access pay for you silence?
  • What about men’s football? ’cause we know it’s all connected
  • What about those shoe folks? ’cause they underwrite a LOT of other teams who are honest. They get into trouble, the money dries up.
  • What about women’s basketball? I’ve often heard it said that “there’s not enough money” in wbb to warrant illegal activity. Unethical? Oh, sure. Just wondering how deep the roots are.
  • How will this impact the “Olympic Sport” athletes? ’cause the U.S. Government does not underwrite them.

#Whadidyamiss?

@CoachOBlue: Home 🏡 just in time to watch catch Game 2 of the !

@MechelleV
  Lindsay Whalen had that “I’m ticked off” look on her face yesterday during media availability. You had that feeling she’d have strong start.
@ExcelleSports Alana Beard picks up her second foul just two minutes into the game #WNBAFinals She’s the primary defender on Maya Moore…

@howardmegdal: You know how when @minnesotalynx fell behind 28-2, game wasn’t over? @LA_Sparks down 24-9. Ain’t over.
@TashaButts: WOW… they are blowing these whistles against LA.. they should probably not say anything to the refs, clearly they… umm nvm.

@WNBAJones:
 
Lynx clogging up lanes forcing Sparks to take weak shots. #WNBAFinals@ExcelleSports: Ogwumike starting to dominate on the glass 30-22 Lynx.
 @MechelleV:  Lynx star Maya Moore hits first shot from field at 5:02 in 2nd quarter, gets 3-point play. Candace Parker still hasn’t scored for Sparks.
@TichaPenicheiro  Eeeeewwwwww, nice dime/no look from @Candace_Parker @Alanabeard20: #iTaughtHerThat😜
@ExcelleSports: Lynx up 41-24. Dominating the paint on both ends. Sparks need Nneka and Candace to get going.
@TashaButts: Am I the only one that sees the non-calls, holds and shoves right in front of the refs? I just want to see a great game.
@hoopism: Halftime: Lynx 45, Sparks 26

@MechelleV: Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike averaged combined 33.0 points in first 4 playoff games. Tonight through first half, Ogwumike 3, Parker 0.

@ExcelleSportsMaya Moore picks up her fourth foul and has to go to bench. Sparks on 13-6 run to start second half. 51-39 Lynx lead.
@CoachYoJU: My goodness Seimone Augustus is soooo silky smooth! #swish
@RichardCohen1: I know they want a storyline, but give it a damn rest on Parker’s ankle. She’s looked absolutely fine all night. #wnbafinals

@LA_Sparks: A three-point play by @Nnemkadi30 keeps the pressure on. #WeRise #GoSparks #WNBAFinals
@minnesotalynx: That’s a wrap for the third quarter! Lynx up 60-50 after three. Fowles, Brunson, and Whalen with 12 PTS each.

@Bevilaqua41: Going to be a hard fought final quarter!! Living the action between the LA Sparks and Minnesota!! #watchmework WNBA WNBA playoffs

@doshwoods: Sparks battling back! @Lynx_PR: Sparks ball, 62-53 with 8:05 left. If you aren’t watching already, now’s a good time to tune in.
@Lynx_PR: Ogwumike with the layup and the #Lynx lead is back down to nine with 4:15 left. Ogwumike now with a double-double (11p/10r).
@itscoachwise: the MN vs LA finals game is heating up… if you’re not watching, there’s about 5 mins left in the game. flip the channel.

@CoachDay80: If ur involved w WBB and ur not watching the WNBA finals shame on u! This whole WNBA season has been incredible! So much to c and learn!

@WNBA: Another close #WNBAFinals game on ESPN2! Sparks trim their deficit to 68-64 with 1:38 remaining.

@sportsiren: HOLY COW!!! Here we go again. Drama in @wnba Finals 3 point Lynx lead with 1:01 to play. #heartstopping!

@CStiffESPN Another WNBA Finals thriller. 4pt game with 43 seconds. ESPN2 NOW.

@splitthepost43.9 seconds all that’s standing between the Lynx and a split before heading to Los Angeles. Maya Moore hits 1 of 2 FTs. Lynx by 4.
@MechelleV: Candace Parker’s two free throws bring Sparks within 2, 70-68. Maya Moore misses jumper. Sparks ball with 13.4 seconds left. Holy moly.
@LaChinaRobinson: My nerves are bad.
@hoopism: Exactly the same game as Sunday, only in reverse. I’m tripping.
@coachjessb: That can NEVER happen in the final seconds! Must get open… must get the ball in!
@LeslieReineckerAre you kidding me?! Can one of these teams just throw the ball in successfully?≈
@WNBA_IntelGame ends with 3 straight turnovers. Exciting but in a different way from Game 1.

@ajuarezbsu: Minnesota tried to give it away, but L.A. wouldn’t take it
@Bre_stewart30: What a sequence of events
@theladykg: This is gonna be another great series. Holy cow!!! #WNBAFinals
@MoheganMaven: You guys. Cray. #WNBAFinals
@richarddeitsch: The @LA_Sparks-@minnesotalynx rivalry is a great calling card for the WNBA. Quality, exciting, compelling basketball.

As Good As It Gets?

I sure as heck hope not! (and I’m cranky this didn’t publish)

The first game of the WNBA Finals is best relived on one’s twitter feed.

  • @DishNSwish: Props to and for their individual types of protest. They deserve your cheers not boos.
  • @hoopfeed: This is just embarrassing…for the Lynx. Not what was expected, at all. Sparks lead 27-2, 2:48 left in 1Q
  • @MechelleV: Lindsay Whalen’s halfcourt heave swished, but it was after the buzzer. It was just that kind of quarter for Minnesota. Yikes. 32-11 Sparks.
  • @MechelleV: Jia Perkins gets the steal, which leads to Sylvia Fowles basket. The kind of hustle play the Lynx are going to need a lot of to climb back.
  • @MechelleV: Williams Arena holds noise very well. :) #SoLoud
  • @DT3sBun: 6 point game 👀
  • @murrminks: Bruh. Please don’t ever say the WNBA is boring again. This league is so dope
  • @linzsports: MAYA MOORE OMG OMG OMG THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • @linzsports: TIED GAME TIED GAME TIED GAME TIED GAME
  • @ExcelleSports: Essence Carson with two huge misses from the free throw line. Seimone Augustus with the go-ahead layup with six seconds to go!
  • @hoopism: Chelsea #$%&ing Gray!!!!
  • @DishNSwish: After this game I don’t want to hear one person say “basketball starts soon!”
  • @RyanRunco: What a Game 1 of the Finals. It’s this simple. If you enjoy GREAT basketball you should be watching this series. It’s outstanding.
  • @richardfarley: I don’t think every good game has to be touted as an advertisement for the league, but holy crap was that an advertisement for the league.
  • @ExcelleSports: WNBA Finals Game 1 instant classic delivers best ratings ever for an overnight

Now, for the #morethan144characters take:

Mechelle: Behind career-high 27 points, Chelsea Gray guides Sparks to Game 1 win

In Sunday’s opening game of the Finals that went from blowout to barn burner, Gray led the Sparks in the right direction: an 85-84 victory. Even if they didn’t exactly take the most direct route to get there.

Pat Borzi, ESPN: ‘Unacceptable’ start dooms Lynx at home in Game 1

If the Minnesota Lynx had won Sunday, it would have been the greatest comeback in WNBA playoff history.

If.

Game 1 of the WNBA Finals — a 85-84 Los Angeles Sparks win — technically wasn’t over when the Sparks jumped to a 26-point first-quarter lead at Williams Arena, shocking the pro-Lynx crowd of 11,823, which arrived primed for an afternoon of screaming itself hoarse.

TwinCities.com-Pioneer PressLynx rally after awful start but lose 85-84 in Game 1 of WNBA Finals

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lynx’s Game 1 comeback falls just short after spotting LA 26 points

FanRag: Chelsea Gray gives Sparks thrilling Game 1 victory over Lynx

Excelle: Chelsea Gray takes over as Sparks take Game 1 of WNBA Finals

Summitt Hoops: Chelsea Gray hits game-winner, Sparks take 1-0 Finals lead

Canis Hoopus: Sparks Stun Lynx, Steal Home Court Advantage

Hoopism: Gray’s last-second shot sends Sparks past Lynx in Game 1

Hoopfeed: Chelsea Gray propels Sparks to victory in Finals game one, Los Angeles tops Minnesota 85-84

Summitt Hoops: WNBA Finals: Minnesota Lynx comeback would have been biggest in league history

USA Today/For The Win: There were 4 lead changes in the final minute of the first game of the WNBA Finals

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Scoggins: Moore steps up in crunch time, but Sparks’ Gray has answer

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Video of Lynx’s crushing home defeats to the Sparks: Three times Lynx were dealt last-second blow

Swish Appeal: Real Talk: WNBA Finals Game 1 breakdown by Pokey Chatman

CBS Minnesota: Despite Comeback, Reeve Blasts Her Lynx After Game 1

Minneapolis Star Tribune: The more Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve studied studied loss to Sparks, the angrier she became

 

For the Win: WNBA teams link arms, leave floor during national anthem at Game 1 of Finals

BTW: The WNBA has been at the forefront of protesting racial injustice

Cool: Pair shocked when name of adapted athletics facility at University of Alabama revealed

Margaret Stran and Brent Hardin got a surprise when the name of the University of Alabama’s adapted athletics facility was revealed Friday.

According to a school news release, the two figured the facility would be named for Mike and Kathy Mouron who had launched the project with two gifts totaling $4 million.

Instead, when the rendering of the facility was shown, the name “Stran-Hardin Arena” was above the main entrance to the facility.

SCUBA and Basketball, anyone? Tenerife to host FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018

As are we.

Sparks, Lynx set for WNBA Finals rematch

LA Times: Sparks determined to repeat as WNBA champions

Daily Breeze: Sparks visit Lynx as WNBA Finals rematch begins

Minny Trib: A dynasty in the making? Lynx-Sparks winner could lay claim

.com: Odyssey Sims Ready to Embrace First Taste of the Finals

Swish Appeal: Candace Parker: WNBA Finals, Pat Summitt — and the Lady Vols

.Lynx: Competing In WNBA Finals “Never Gets Old” For Lynx

Minny Tribune: For Minnesota Lynx, a good start is essential

Swish Appeal: Lynx still haunted by WNBA Finals loss, focused on execution

Duluth Tribune News: Lynx’s legacy is secure heading into WNBA Finals, but motivation remains

SB Nation: The Lynx and Sparks are superteams. That’s why the WNBA Finals are a must-watch.

For the Win: Gabrielle Union explains why you should watch the WNBA Finals

.com: Chasing That Championship Feeling

If you’re into this kinda thing: WNBA Star Maya Moore Gets Air Jordan 1, Jordan 10 Colorways

Need more fans, more sponsors, more games on TV because: WNBA salaries in focus as Finals tip off

NCAA 

Changing partners: After committing to play for UConn women’s basketball, top recruit Collier changes her mind

Not NCAA

Mainers Find Camaraderie, Competition In Senior Women’s Basketball League

High School

WTF: Charges: Suspended lawyer exposed self to girls basketball teams

And on a political note (this should not surprise you):

Chiney Ogwumike delivers powerful statement in response to President Trump’s NBA and NFL comments

Warned ya: Betsy DeVos, Title IX, and the “Both Sides” Approach to Sexual Assault

North Carolina won’t celebrate its NCAA men’s basketball title at the White House…

Remember: “… I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.” – Jackie Robinson, 1972

“How about the irony of, ‘Free speech is fine if you’re a neo-Nazi chanting hate slogans, but … not to kneel in protest?'” Steve Kerr, 2017

Since “disrespecting the flag” is still the narrative being used, this courtesy of the US Flag Code Chapter 10: Respect for flag HennyWise‏ @koopa_kinte 

“Real patriotism, Mr. Trump, isn’t how you treat a flag. It’s how you treat Americans” —

Are you ready to RUMBLE?!?!?!

Here’s hoping that, now that we got what we want, we get what we want… No pressure.

The 2017 WNBA Finals is almost certainly going to be one of the best series ever

EPSN: 20 Questions: Another Sparks-Lynx final

Amsterdam News: Sparks/Lynx rematch in WNBA finals

SB Nation: WNBA’s new playoff format has Lynx-Sparks rivalry front and center

Swish Appeal: Iconic rematch looms, LA Sparks prepare for ‘War of Wills’

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Finals rematch between Lynx and Sparks coming

The matchup

MSR News Online: WNBA Finals preview

.com: The First Finals Rematch

Minnesota Lynx: WNBA Finals provides another chapter in riveting rivalry

WNBA BPI: Lynx have slight edge over Sparks

After sweeping their way through the semifinals, both the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have a chance to complete the third perfect postseason since the WNBA Finals moved to a best-of-five series in 2005.

However, the BPI predicts that this year’s Finals, which open Sunday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET), have a 37.5 percent chance to go the full five games for the third straight year.

Listen up! The Rematch

LaChina Robinson gears up for the WNBA Finals rematch! She previews the Lynx-Sparks matchup with Liberty associate coach and 2x WNBA champion Katie Smith then chats with the Lynx’s Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore.

More Listen Up: The Summitt Slack Summit: Previewing the WNBA Finals

LA Stuff

Mechelle: Odyssey Sims steps up her game in first season with Sparks

Sometimes the “right” fit actually isn’t. Consider Los Angeles Sparks guard Odyssey Sims, who is from Dallas, went to Baylor, and was drafted No. 2 by the Tulsa Shock in 2014. The Shock then became the Wings when they moved to Dallas in 2016, so Sims was back in her hometown. Worked out perfectly.

Except … not really.

Players’ Tribune: Write Your Story, Babygirl

It seemed like nobody knew his real name. People just called him Picture Man.

Paterson, New Jersey, where I grew up, is the hood … the inner city … the ghetto … whatever you want to call it. And a lot of people have nicknames in the hood — funny nicknames, mean nicknames, really stupid nicknames, nicknames that make no sense at all, gang nicknames, everything. Picture Man got his name because he was always taking photos. You’d see him riding around on his bike. He’d stop to snap a picture of a fire hydrant, a street sign, a family cookout or whatever, and then he’d ride away. It was kind of unheard of, in our part of town, for someone to be into photography like that, so Picture Man was seen as a weirdo. A loner. “Different.” We loved him anyway. He was so mysterious to me, like there was a whole world about him that I didn’t know. To this day, I don’t think I ever learned his real name.

But I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the gunshots that ended his life.

Lynx stuff

CBS Minnesota: Lynx Seek Redemption Against Sparks As They Chase 4th Championship

She coulda been a Lib: Minnesota veteran Rebekkah Brunson reinvents her game

Long respected as a premier rebounder and defender, this season Brunson added a 3-point element. It followed a request from Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve, who needed Brunson, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen to expand their range to pull defenders from center Sylvia Fowles. Before this season, Brunson attempted only 12 3-pointers in 13 years, making two. This season she put up 66 and sank 23, good for 34.8 percent accuracy from beyond the arc.

Yardbarker: After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

Pioneer Press: If Lynx are to beat Sparks, Maya Moore has to score against WNBA’s best defender

Gopher Sports: Whalen, Lynx Start Finals at Williams on Sunday

We’re number 1! Lynx, Delle Donne lead WNBA merchandising

As expected: Wings’ Allisha Gray wins WNBA Rookie of the Year award

Truth: Jonquel Jones Has ‘Incredible Year 2’

You stay put: Sun Coach Curt Miller Rewarded With Contract Extension

Important: Once compared to Michael Jordan, ex-WNBA star shares suicide struggles at Oxnard College

NCAA

Women’s basketball Final Four bid cycle for 2021-24 to begin (Hello, West Coast? But what about ESPN and those pesky time zones?)

A different kind of Phoenix: Arizona Wildcats, Adia Barnes recruiting among women’s college basketball’s powerhouses

Bye: Report: Jinaya Houston won’t return to Iowa women’s basketball

Finances are real: Facing Massive Cut, UConn Fires Back at Legislature With Geno Auriemma

’cause it was as bad a marketing decision as “New Coke”: Tennessee women’s golf team wears Lady Vols hats, brings tears to senior

International

Intersting: German Olaf Langer appointed head coach for Russian women’s basketball team

USA Basketball: 2017 USA Women’s National Team Training Camp Set To Tip Next Week

National Team head coach Dawn Staley(South Carolina), the roster includes WNBA stars Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Brittney Griner(Phoenix Mercury); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars); Kelsey Plum (San Antonio Stars); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); Morgan Tuck(Connecticut Sun); and Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun). Current collegiate All-Americans who will take part in the camp include: Napheesa Collier (Connecticut); Asia Durr (Louisville); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State); Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina).