The WNBA is currently showcasing some of the best basketball in league history and not nearly enough people are hype about it.
Last night the Minnesota Lynx tied the best-of-five series with the Los Angeles Sparks at 2-2 with a decisive 80 to 69 victory, setting the stage for what should be a must-see game 5 Wednesday, October 4th.
But that doesn’t scratch the surface of the competitiveness and quality of ball that’s been on display.
First of all, it’s a grudge match from last year’s WNBA Finals which went down to the wire.
We’re talking about series-deciding, last-second, step-back buzzer beater (courtesy of Ogwumike) game where the Los Angeles Sparks escaped the Minnesota Lynx 77-76.
Seeing that the culmination of the Lynx’s entire 2016 campaign was decided in a match with 24 lead changes, 11 ties, and a last-second shot, they clearly have revenge on their minds, making Wednesday’s game five that more epic.
Since Game 1 of the 2016 WNBA Finals, the teams have played 12 times. In those 12 games, the combined score is 908-908.
And to add to the dramatics, the games are panning out the same way.
Game 1 – 2016 – LA wins on the road
Game 1 – 2017 – LA wins on the road
Game 2 – 2016 – MIN evens the series at home
Game 2 – 2017 – MIN evens the series at home
Game 3 – 2016 – LA wins and is one game away from a championship
Game 3 – 2017 – LA wins and is one game away from a championship
Game 4 – 2016 – MIN wins on the road to force a Game 5
Game 4 – 2017 – MIN wins on the road to force a Game 5
Game 5 – 2016 – LA wins Finals on the road on a game-winner from Nneka Ogwumike
Game 5 – 2017 – ????
I’m not sure what else you could ask from a basketball game.
Four league MVP recipients out of the last five years.
Four former Rookie of the Year winners.
And the two most recent Defensive Player of the Year selections.
And the talent has not disappointed.
Game 1 was crazy, if y’all don’t watch the WNBA finals then you’re bugging. These games are good!!
Game 1 was crazy, if y'all don't watch the WNBA finals then you're bugging. These games are good!!
— Evan Turner (@thekidet) September 24, 2017
— Chris Paul (@CP3) October 2, 2017
Nah the WNBA finals is cracking yo. Every year lol
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) September 27, 2017
if you wanna see fundamentals & basketball IQ at it's finest just watch these WNBA Finals!
— 73-9 and they LIED (@CuffsTheLegend) September 27, 2017
It’s almost a crime not to be watching the games at this point. I understand it’s the playoffs season in baseball, football is underway, and NBA pre-season just kicked off, but damnit, if you love sports, you can’t pass these games by.
What makes a good professional sporting event? Stars? Competitiveness? The match-up? This series ticks all the boxes.
Between Mya Moore, Sylvia Fowles Lindsay Whalen, Candace Parker, Ogwumike, and others we’re getting top tier talent backed by a heated rivalry on the highest stage.
It’s funny, when the L.A Clippers were “lob city” their biggest critique was that show-off basketball couldn’t win games. But when women don’t dunk, it’s a big detraction, despite world-class skill and technique.
Whatever stigma surrounding women’s ball that has served as a deterrent for you, I urge you to block them out, at least for game five Wednesday night.
The NBA is not here yet, and while all of our tongues are collectively salivating for opening tip, it’s blind for us not to take a peek at what the women are doing on the national stage of their own. It might even be a more impressive product.