The Minnesota Lynx have reached their league’s finals six of the past seven seasons — they are the WNBA’s current dynasty. Only five sports franchises have reached their championship series or game in the same fashion as the Lynx: in the NBA (Boston and Los Angeles Lakers); the NHL (Montreal), Major League Baseball (New York Yankees) and the NFL (the first Cleveland Browns).
The Lynx’s four WNBA trophies put them alongside Houston (1997-2000) with the most in league history. It is the fourth different franchise to reach the Finals three straight years — Minnesota twice achieved this feat — 2011-13 and 2015-17.
Last week’s finish capped the second consecutive W championship matchup between the same two Western Conference clubs — Los Angeles last fall defeated Minnesota. This also is the second year of the new postseason format implemented in 2016, where the best eight teams regardless of conference are seeded according to win percentage.
“The fans like it…we saw the results, the best of the best — two great teams,” WNBA President Lisa Borders told us after handing the Lynx the 2017 trophy.
Four championship trophies in seven years – no other pro team in town can make a similar claim. Only the former Minneapolis Lakers over 50 years ago had such a title winning run. But unlike the virtually then all-White Lakers, it was the Lynx’s sistahs and an honorary sistah that’s directly responsible for the best team in town mantle.
The MSR talked to each member of the Lynx’s championship history-making nucleus:
“Here we are speaking in the same breath with Sheryl Swoopes and Cynthia Cooper, and the great Comets team,” Seimone Augustus says humbly. She is the lynx’s oldest player by seniority who completed her 12th season in Minnesota. “The first team I ever watch play was the Houston Comets. They set the tone. They motivated each and every one of us to one day want to be here. We weren’t thinking about four championships at the start.”
Rebekkah Brunson, the only WNBA player with five championships, pointed out, “It feels good because I understand it’s not easy. Getting here is not easy. Getting here and winning is even harder. I’m happy to be able to share this with these women.”
Maya Moore joins Augustus in winning four W titles. “It’s been an incredible journey. We did everything we could to prepare and it paid off,” notes the starters’ youngest member.
Sylvia Fowles now has won two championships, both with Minnesota. The center last week became the first player in league history to be named regular season and Finals MVP, as well as best player in the Chinese league in the same year. “We made it, man,” admits Fowles, a two-time championship MVP.
Lindsay Whalen and this reporter have been around each other ever since her Gopher freshman year. We celebrated together the school’s only Final Four run, and now four WNBA crowns as well. She suffered her only post-season loss, college or pro ever at Williams Arena in Game 1 of this year’s Finals.
Last week back in the Barn, Whalen won her fourth pro title. “I know what it would be like if we put 14,000 people in here, it would be very hard for any team to beat us,” said the Lynx point guard. “Between us and our fans, no one can beat us.”
After avoiding any reference to it, the Lynx now proudly embraces it — they are a dynasty.
“Absolutely. I feel it was cemented” with last week’s Game 5 win, surmises Whalen.
“I wasn’t here for the whole time, and I only have two championships but for the people who were here for all four — what other name would you call them if they are not a dynasty,” stressed Lynx reserve guard Renee Montgomery.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at email@example.com