Just 20 days ago, eight teams had their sights set on the 2016 WNBA title. After tonight, just two remain – and most people won’t be surprised. The LA Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx have led the pack all season long, both starting the 20th WNBA season off in historic fashion. Way back in June, the two undefeated teams faced off and the Lynx walked away with the win and the unbeaten title.
Lets take a look at how we got here.
Diana Taurasi scored 20 points while DeWanna Bonner and Brittney Griner added 18 apiece as the Mercury defeated the Fever. The loss marks the end of Tamika Catchings’ legendary career. The Mercury will face the Liberty in Round 2.
Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry turned in one of her finest Playoff performances, leading the Dream with 37 points and seven assists to lead a second half rally. The Storm were led by Jewell Loyd’s 24 points and Breanna Stewart’s 19 points and seven rebounds. The Dream will face the Sky in Round 2.
Diana Taurasi scored 30 points to lead the Mercury to a win over the Liberty in New York. The Mercury now advance to the best-of-5 semifinals and will face the No. 1 seed Lynx. Brittney Griner scored 22 points and Penny Taylor added 20.
With star Elena Delle Donne sidelined due to a thumb injury, the Sky rallied to advance behind a team effort. Point guard Courtney Vandersloot led the way with 21 points, 13 assists and four steals, while forward Jessica Breland contributed 20 points and 16 rebounds. Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry posted 27 points and nine assists in the loss.
Game 3 (Lynx 82, Mercury 67) — Minnesota is Finals bound again, as they cruised past the Mercury in Game 3 to complete the sweep of their semifinal series. Maya Moore lead all scorers with 20 points, and Natasha Howard put in an impressive effort off the bench, finishing with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Game 2 (Lynx 96, Mercury 86) — Minnesota’s star power once again proved too much for the Mercury, and Maya Moore once again led the charge with 26 points. The Lynx took command in a dominating first quarter, outscoring Phoenix 35-24 in the opening frame. The teams combined for a WNBA Playoff record 62 free throws.
Game 1 (Lynx 113, Mercury 95) — Behind 31 points from Maya Moore — including 15 in the first quarter — and with five more Lynx players scoring in double-figures, Minnesota set the WNBA regulation playoff scoring record with 113 points in their victory over Phoenix in Game 1 of their Semifinal matchup. Diana Taurasi poured in 25 points in the loss.
Game 4 (Sparks 95, Sky 75) — Just like in Game 3, the Sparks cruised early, jumping out to a 28-point lead at one point in the second quarter. And just like in Game 3, the Sky came storming back, cutting the Sparks’ lead to just eight points early in the fourth. Thanks to 29 points from Candace Parker, however, Los Angeles was able to hang on for a 95-75 victory to earn a trip to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2003.
Game 3 (Sky 70, Sparks 66) — The Chicago Sky locked up on the defensive end in the second half, holding the Sparks to just 27 points over the final two quarters as they stormed back from a double-digit deficit to take Game 3. Courtney Vandersloot lead the Sky with 17 points, while rookie Imani Boyette stepped up in a big way, delivering a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Game 2 (Sparks 99, Sky 84) — Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender scored 20 points each to lead all scorers, and Nneka Ogwumike added 18 of her own as the Sparks cruised to a Game 2 victory. They knocked down 10 three-pointers on the evening, and held the Sky to just 38.5 percent shooting from the field.
Game 1 (Sparks 95, Sky 75) — Fresh off Nneka’s MVP award and Jantel Lavender taking home Sixth Woman of the Year, the Sparks looked like a force to be reckoned with in their 20-point victory over the Sky. Ogwumike and Candace Parker combined for 57 points in the victory. Elena Delle Donne was ruled out for Chicago as she recovers from thumb surgery.
Now, the two teams who have been the main conversation of the League’s 20th season meet again in a best-of-5 Finals series. Game 1 is slated for this Sunday, October 9th at 3pm ET, set to be aired on ABC.