The Minnesota Lynx are lethal. There is no denying that when all facts are considered. Fact: the team has made it to the finals for three straight years, coming away with the WNBA championship title twice. Fact: they hold the most wins (read: 99) in a three-season span in league history and this year they became the second team in league history to go 7-0 in the playoffs. Fact: the team has four WNBA All-Stars on a line up that isn’t changing anytime soon with recent contract extensions. Fact: with the second youngest roster in the league, the Lynx players are still in their prime and ready for a repeat of an excellent season next year.
In a state whose sports teams tend to leave fans wanting more, the Lynx gave Minnesotans a chance to laud a dominant team. All of the ingredients were there for an outstanding season – and what a godsend it was! Before the Lynx’s 2011 championship win, it had been twenty years since Minnesota celebrated a championship win with the 1991 World Champion Minnesota Twins baseball team. Wallowing in the foibles of teams like the Twins, Vikings, and Timberwolves season after season, Minnesota sports fans were beginning to lose hope. But wait; enter the Lynx.
Despite boasting three Olympians among an all-star returning lineup, most of the women’s basketball world heralded the Phoenix Mercury as the team to beat for the season. But the Minnesota Lynx made that difficult. With attention focused away from the team, the Lynx were able have their skill showcased and speak for itself. Without the pressure of having won a championship the year before (like last year’s season) the Lynx were able to begin the season flying under the radar as the underdogs…until that just wasn’t possible anymore. Coming out of a very noticeable 26-8 regular season record, the Lynx hit the playoffs with a winning momentum that just kept going. “Opening the season with the attention on other teams afforded us the opportunity to fly under the radar and give undivided attention to our stated goals of being the best in the West and bring another championship to Minnesota,” says Carley Knox, the director of business operations for the team.
Never losing a game in the playoffs, the Lynx recorded double-digit victories in five of the seven games, setting the stage for the championship game. The opposing team, the Atlanta Dream, entered the playoffs coming off a four-game losing streak in the regular season and a record of 17-17. The Dream did, however, have a split record against the Lynx winning one of the two games played against them in the regular season.
The Lynx controlled Game 1 against the Dream from the opening tip ending with an 84-59 victory. Entering Game 2, the Lynx were brimming with confidence as a message on the video board just before the opening tip read “Game 1 we made a statement. Game 2 we will make history. We’re leaving Minnesota after tonight, but we’ll be bringing something back with us” followed by an image of the championship trophy. Sure enough, an 88-63 victory sent the Lynx off to Georgia to battle it out in what would become the third and final game in the best-of-five series.
Ending with an 86-77 lead, the Lynx clinched a 2013 Championship title and returned home for a parade in front of thousands of fans along Nicollet Mall, ending in a party at Target Center earlier this month.
Knox says, “As defending champions in 2014, there will be great motivation to become the first team to win back-to-back titles in the WNBA in over 10 years.” The Minnesota Lynx set a standard, and now it’s time for everyone else to catch up.