This is Jerrell checking in, giving you my take on Game 5 of the WNBA finals. First things first, I could be prisoner of the moment but that was arguably the greatest finish to any season in the league’s 20 year history. Superstar talent on both teams, a close game that came down to the wire, I mean what more can you ask for. So here is my account of one of the greatest basketball games I have ever witnessed.
I started watching in the second half and from what I saw on twitter, I knew what that this game would be one of those special ones. I was rooting for the LA Sparks because I wanted to see Candace Parker get her first championship. So it was fitting that as the second half begins 34-28 Lynx, Candace gets into takeover mode as she drains a wide open three to trim the lead to three. That was the beginning of a dominant third quarter as she scored 10 points, including a few big offensive rebounds and a steal. It was clear that she was doing whatever it took to win.
Even with her dominance, one of the turning point is when Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve got a technical for trying to get the attention of the referees after Sylvia Fowles injury. That controversial call turned the tides because after that freebie from Kristi Toliver, the Sparks went on a 4-0 run and had their first lead in the game since 4:57 left in the first half. The rest of the 3rd quarter was high octane basketball as the Lynx lead by a point (55-54) with 10 minutes left in the season.
The 4th quarter continued with lights out basketball as both teams traded leads for five straight possessions without missing. The Lynx called a timeout with 7:33 left in the contest. It didn’t help as the Sparks extended the lead by going on an 9-4 run until another timeout was called with 2:58 to go in the game. I was hype, I had two thoughts pop in my brain, one was “Candace is 3 minutes from a title” and the other was “Maya Moore who has been quiet, is not about to go out like this.”
Sure enough, Maya hit a technical free throw and then came back with a three pointer. Her triple rejuvenated the Lynx and they tied the game with 1:48 to go. From there, even the casual WNBA fan had to get nervous because there was no telling how the game would end.
Nneka Ogwumike and Seimone Augustus traded baskets then Kristi Toliver missed what could have been a dagger from three. Rebekkah Brunson was fouled and she made one of two with 23.4 seconds to go. Candace makes a key lay up that looks like the game winner and then Maya breaks my heart with what looks like another epic shot from Maya. On the Sparks final possession, rebounding proved to be KEY as Chelsea Gray missed her shot, Ogwumike missed the putback but made it the second go round with 3.1 to go. Lindsay Whalen missed the go ahead shot to give the Sparks their first title since 2002.
To see Candace Parker get her first title especially after everything that has happen to her this weekend is incredible. It just goes to show that you can never give up because the breakthrough is coming. Seeing Terp legend Kristi Toliver get her first title was just as incredible. Been a fan since she burst on the scene in 2006. The game was so good you didn’t want it to end but hopefully games like this will put the WNBA under bigger lenses so that we as a country can get behind the league like we do with the NFL, NBA or NHL.