Behind Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx wins 2017 WNBA championship over L.A. Sparks

Sylvia Fowles has been dominating the WNBA all season — and she again dominated in the winner-takes-all title game against the Los Angeles Sparks; leading the Minnesota Lynx to their fourth championship in seven years.

Fowles and team for their revenge on these same Sparks after last years game five loss to Los Angeles. In the final seconds, last season’s MVP Nneka Ogwumike grabbed two critical offensive rebounds before putting in the game winner over Fowles. That’s been sitting on Sylvia’s brain since then and motivated her to come out big in 2017.

“If I didn’t do anything else, I just wanted to make it my business to make sure I just go out there and rebound,” Fowles said after the win and being named Finals MVP. “(The 2016 Finals) haunted me for a long time after Game 5 last year. I just wanted to come in and I wanted to show my presence, and if that was rebounding, then rebounding it was.”

This year, the 6-5 center wasn’t going to allow rebounds to be the problem, grabbing a WNBA Finals record 20 rebounds to go with 17 points and 4 assists. She and the bruising Rebekkah Brunson (13 points, 8 rebounds) was more than a handful and headache for the Sparks’ front court players of Ogwumike, Candace Parker, and Jantel Lavender.

The game was all about the WNBA stars in the match up. All five Lynx starters made a significant impact in their 95-86 win. In addition to Fowles’ double-double and Brunson’s work, the Lynx got 18 points, 10 rebounds and a runner that all but sealed the game from Maya Moore, 17 points, 8 assists, 2 steals from Lindsey Whalen and an all-around game from the 33-year old Seimone Augustus (14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists). Candace Parker led the Sparks with 19 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks while Chelsea Gray had 15 points and 8 assists.

Fowles averaged 18.9 points and 10.4 rebounds during the regular season and 17.8 points and 15 rebounds in the WNBA Finals. This was her second championship and the fourth for Moore, Whalen and Augustus. This is Brunson’s fifth championship, which is a WNBA record, having won four with Minnesota and once with the Sacramento Monarchs. Brunson is also the oldest player in the WNBA.

None of the Lynx’s four championships have come consecutively. Minnesota has won them in the last four odd years (2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017).

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