When it comes to the WNBA, and women's basketball, in general, there are two particular characteristics that bring every player, coach, fan, owner and any other key stakeholder together: passion and purpose.
In the face of adversity and overcoming the negative stigmas that surround women's hoops, the league has been propelled by these two elements. As a result, tremendous strides have been made in the last 10 years.
The talent pool is deeper, the athletes have increased exponentially, the games are tighter, the crowds are bigger, and the hype behind women's hoops is on the rise. But why stop there?
The WNBA deserves more, and at this rate, they will get it. It's a matter of all parties involved not being satisfied. It's a matter of continuing to prove the WNBA's worth in a unique and fearless light.
The disheartening crutch of women being "less athletic," "less quick" and "less fun to watch" is one that still lingers from time to time but has been mitigated significantly due to the qualities mentioned above, in addition to the enthralling Finals that fans have especially witnessed in 2015. The Fever and Lynx taking the series to five games is huge.
It's huge because it has only happened four times in WNBA history. The Lynx set a home attendance franchise record in Game 5 of 18,933 people packed into the Target Center. Think about it this way: that's close to 19,000 people genuinely excited about women's hoops. It is feats like this that fuel the fire for the WNBA.
It seems that more and more people are being drawn to the women's game and rightfully so. The league is to the point where it can showcase its craft and the coaches and players who make it so special. One day, the people behind the scenes running the WNBA aren't going to be pumping their fists about a Game 5.
Instead, it will be meeting their expectations. The WNBA is headed in the right direction, but that is not to say its work is done. The bottom line is that the league deserves everything they've earned in terms of increased coverage, fans and overall excitement, but let's not stop there.
The expectations must rise so that the precedence for women's hoops will too. The WNBA must continue on this path so that next year brings about another five-game series, more buzzer beaters and even higher record setting attendances.