The Minnesota Lynx, for the second time in three years, are WNBA champions.
Star Tribune photo
I’m definitely not going to claim to be a WNBA expert (or an expert on any kind of basketball), and I have to be honest. I watched one Minnesota Lynx game from beginning to end this year — Game 1 of the WNBA Finals against Atlanta (work forced me to miss Games 2 and 3, otherwise I would’ve tuned in).
I couldn’t have been more impressed. I’ve been aware of the Lynx’s dominance over the last three seasons since they won their first WNBA title in 2011, when I watched as much of the finals as I could. Last year they went back to the finals but lost, and I didn’t see any of the games.
Watching Game 1 on Tuesday night, though, I was kind of blown away by how good the Lynx are. That’s not a sexist statement, either, because I don’t mean ‘they’re really good for a women’s team’, I mean, they’re really good compared to their opponents, or even any pro or college team, men’s or women’s, you’ll see on TV.
Comparing mens and womens basketball is silly anyway, but the Lynx certainly looked much more efficient and well-coached than their opponent, the Atlanta Dream.
Their ball movement was tremendous, their execution pinpoint. They didn’t necessarily shoot the lights out, but the way they zipped the ball around the floor and the tremendous unselfishness with which they did it created tons of layups and high-percentage shots. They didn’t need to get hot from outside.
It was especially fun to watch them with Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville playing big roles, as the last time I got interested in women’s basketball was when those two led the Gophers to the Women’s Final Four nine years ago.
Whalen is still the playmaking dynamo I remember, and McCarville is still the dominant post presence with uncanny passing ability. She almost killed Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry on a screen at midcourt.
But every one of the Lynx’s key players seemed to take over the game at different points.
Monica Wright, Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson — it was, for someone who’s been watching the utter ineptitude of the Twins, Vikings and Timberwolves for the last several years, a revelation to see a team that executed so flawlessly, that was so clearly prepared and confident. Well coached, but also assembled in a way that the talent clearly matched the style of coach Cheryl Reeve.
Say what you want about women’s basketball (and if you’re the kind of person who bashes it I hope you never have a daughter), but a great team is a great team, and the Lynx are a great team. They obliterated Atlanta in the three-game Finals sweep. They went 7-0 in the playoffs and weren’t even challenged.
They’ve now reached the WNBA Finals three years in a row, and won two championships. That’s not an accident, and it’s not an easy thing to do.
As much as I admire a franchise that can achieve that kind of sustained excellence, it honestly makes me that much more angry that the teams I give so much more of my time to find themselves in such disarray.
Unsure of who should lead, how to proceed, how to evaluate players, and, in the case of the Vikings, owned by the real life version of Mr. Burns.
So congrats to the Lynx, on winning another championship, for providing legitimately great role models for young women everywhere, and for showing up the moron billionaires running Minnesota’s other pro teams.