A decisive Game 5 is the ultimate dream for fans of the WNBA, and basketball in general. This year, the two top teams in the form of the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx have gone toe-to-toe in Games 1-4, and offered fans a level of excitement that is beneficial to both the sport and the league.
From Alana Beard’s buzzer beater in Game 1, to Maya Moore’s insane Game 4 performance that helped force a Game 5, these athletes are demanding that sports fans pay attention to them, this series, and this league.
The WNBA’s rule change concerning playoff format really worked in their favor. The two top teams in the sport are facing off in the Finals, and they both happen to be from the same conference. They have been evenly matched all season. So far, this series is about as exciting as one could hope for.
And either way, some form of history will be made.
If the Sparks win, it will be their first championship since 2002. It will also be Candace Parker’s first championship in her storied career. This is arguably the last hill she needs to climb, as she has a NCAA Championship and two Olympic gold medals under her belt. She’s also a two-time league MVP, a three-time WNBA All-Star, a four-time first team member, and a former WNBA rookie of the year.
No one can argue the fact that Parker is one of the best to ever play the game. But a league championship will formally cement her legacy.
For the Lynx, a win will mean that they collect their fourth championship in the past six years. If that happens, an argument can be made that they are the most dominant team in any of professional sports.
Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and the rest of the Lynx will cement themselves in league history, and will become arguably the most dominant group since the Houston Comets of the late 90s (The Comets won four consecutive league titles in the league’s first four years).
Yes, there has been some controversy throughout this series, but the bottom line is these women have offered their best each and every night.
To play like these two teams have all season long only serves to benefit the league.
As someone who has watched the WNBA since I was little, I was always bothered by the fact that the women never received as much attention as the men. I was also upset in high school and college when my own teams never received the coverage, attention or fan base of our male counterparts.
These women deserve coverage, and they deserve attention.
It was a topic the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart addressed so eloquently at the ESPYs this past July.
“During my time in college I received an enormous amount of media attention," Stewart said. "I'm grateful for that. And now that I'm in the WNBA, playing with other amazing female athletes, I'm trying to understand why we, as professional female athletes, don't receive anywhere near the fame. This has to change."
She went on to say, "Equality for all takes each of us making an effort. Thank you for this honor and together let's be better."
Whether you are a Sparks fan or a Lynx fan, chances are if you watched this series, or are reading this website, you know how hard these women work. They all deserve everyone’s respect.
That’s why I truly believe it does not matter who comes out on top on Thursday night. Los Angeles and Minnesota have given us good basketball. Both teams have played hard and with passion all season long. That can only mean good things for the future of women’s basketball, no matter which team you are a fan of.