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The 2016 WNBA Finals was the best-of-five championship series for the 2016 season of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The top-seeded Minnesota Lynx held home court advantage in the Finals, but lost three games to two to the second-seeded Los Angeles Sparks. The series followed a 2–2–1 format, and eschewed from the previous tradition of having the Western Conference champion face the Eastern Conference champion. Instead, in the 2016 season, the top eight teams qualified for the playoffs, regardless of conference. Both WNBA Finals teams were from the Western Conference. The Sparks won a semifinal series against the Chicago Sky to determine one of the Finals berths; the first-seeded Lynx defeated the Phoenix Mercury to earn the other. Candace Parker was named the 2016 WNBA Finals MVP. Renee Brown, outgoing Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations of the WNBA, issued statements following games 4 and 5 saying the referees had made an error in each game.[1][2] Nevertheless, the Sparks won the series 3 games to 2.

2016 WNBA Finals
TeamCoachWins
Los Angeles Sparks Brian Agler 3
Minnesota Lynx Cheryl Reeve 2
DatesOctober 9–20
MVPUnited States Candace Parker
(Los Angeles Sparks)
Eastern FinalsLos Angeles Sparks defeated Chicago Sky, 3–1 (Note: the semifinal rounds as of 2016 were not divided by conference)
Western FinalsMinnesota Lynx defeated Phoenix Mercury, 3–0
WNBA Finals

Road to the FinalsEdit

Standings and playoffsEdit

Western Conference W L PCT GB Home Road Conf.
1 - Minnesota Lynx 28 6 .824 - 15–2 13–4 15–1
2 - Los Angeles Sparks 26 8 .765 2 14–3 12–5 11–5
7 - Seattle Storm 16 18 .471 12 10–7 6–11 7–9
8 - Phoenix Mercury 16 18 .471 12 11–6 5–12 6–10
e - Dallas Wings 11 23 .324 17 6–11 5–12 8–8
e - San Antonio Stars 7 27 .206 21 4–13 3–14 1–15
Eastern Conference W L PCT GB Home Road Conf.
3 - New York Liberty 21 13 .618 - 10-7 11-6 11-5
4 - Chicago Sky 18 16 .529 3 11-6 7-10 8-8
5 - Indiana Fever 17 17 .500 4 8-9 9-8 8-8
6 - Atlanta Dream 17 17 .500 4 11-6 6–11 9-7
e - Connecticut Sun 14 20 .412 7 8-9 6-11 4-12
e - Washington Mystics 13 21 .382 8 5-12 8-9 8-8
 
First round:
Single elimination
(Sept. 21)
Second round:
Single elimination
(Sept. 24 and 25)
Semifinals:
Best-of-five
(Sept. 28 – Oct. 6)
WNBA Finals:
Best-of-five
(Oct. 9 – 20)
 
              
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Minnesota Lynx
3
 
 
8
Phoenix Mercury
0
 
 
 
 
 
3
New York Liberty
94
 
 
 
8
Phoenix Mercury
101
 
5
Indiana Fever
78
 
 
 
8
Phoenix Mercury
89
 
1
Minnesota Lynx
2
 
 
 
2
Los Angeles Sparks
3
 
6
Atlanta Dream
94
 
 
 
7
Seattle Storm
85
 
4
Chicago Sky
108
 
 
6
Atlanta Dream
98
 
 
 
 
 
2
Los Angeles Sparks
3
 
 
4
Chicago Sky
1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Note: Teams re-seeded after second round and semi-finals.

Semifinals
Team 1 2 3
1
Minnesota Lynx
113 96 82
8
Phoenix Mercury
95 86 67
Team 1 2 3 4
2
Los Angeles Sparks
95 99 66 95
4
Chicago Sky
75 84 70 75
WNBA Finals
Team 1 2 3 4 5
1
Minnesota Lynx
76 79 75 85 76
2
Los Angeles Sparks
78 60 92 79 77


WNBA FinalsEdit

 
Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx (left) and finals MVP Candace Parker of the Sparks in Game 2
 
Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx (right) and Nneka Ogwumike of the Sparks (left) who ultimately made the winning basket

This finals series was arguably the best the WNBA has ever seen.[POV? ] The classic Western Conference showdown did not disappoint. Los Angeles managed to steal Game 1 on the road with a 78-76 victory. Sparks veteran guard Alana Beard hit a buzzer beater. Minnesota bounced back in Game 2, with an effective 79-60 dropping of the Sparks to tie the series at a game a piece. Lynx forward Maya Moore led the charge with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Game 3 took place in LA, where the Sparks put themselves one win away from their first title in 14 years, with a dominant 92-75 win over Minnesota. Sparks superstars Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike combined for 45 points on 19-of-33 shooting. Despite home court advantage in Game 4, the Lynx responded to a devastating loss with a narrow win 85-79, forcing a decisive Game 5 back in Minnesota. Game 5 was truly one of the greatest basketball games ever to be played.[peacock term] The game was very close, but with 3.1 seconds remaining in the game, Ogwumike hit the game-winning shot, grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring, to put her team ahead 77-76. The Sparks emerged as champions for the first time since 2002. Parker, the team's number 1 pick in the 2008 WNBA draft, delivered 28 points and 12 rebounds as she won her first ever WNBA championship. Parker was also named Finals MVP.

Game 1

Alana Beard hit a tie-breaking baseline jumper as time expired to give the Sparks the series lead after a seesaw first game.[3]

Sunday, October 9, 2016
2:00 PM (CDT)
Los Angeles Sparks 78, Minnesota Lynx 76
Scoring by quarter: 21–18, 13–18, 22–24, 22–16
Pts: Ogwumike 19, Toliver 19
Rebs: Ogwumike 9, Parker 9
Asts: Chelsea Gray 4, Parker 3, Toliver 3
Pts: Moore, Fowles, Whalen 18
Rebs: Fowles 13, Moore 6
Asts: Whalen 6
Los Angeles leads 1–0
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Attendance: 12,113
Referees: Maj Forsberg, Jeff Wooten, Tom Nunez
Game 2
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
7:00 PM (CDT)
Los Angeles Sparks 60, Minnesota Lynx 79
Scoring by quarter: 14–18, 11–21, 21–15, 14–25
Pts: Ogwumike 14
Rebs: Ogwumike 12
Asts: Beard, Carson, Parker 3
Pts: Moore 21
Rebs: Fowles 15
Asts: Fowles 4
Series tied 1–1
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Attendance: 12,832
Referees: Michael Price, Billy Smith, Roy Gulbeyan
Game 3
Friday, October 14, 2016
6:00 PM (PDT)
Minnesota Lynx 75, Los Angeles Sparks 92
Scoring by quarter: 17-32, 23-16, 18-22, 17-22
Pts: Brunson, Fowles 14
Rebs: Moore 7
Asts: Moore 5
Pts: Parker 24
Rebs: Ogwumike, Parker 9
Asts: Beard 7
Los Angeles leads 2–1
Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
Attendance: 8,093
Referees: Tom Mauer, Eric Brewton, Amy Bonner
Game 4
Sunday, October 16, 2016
5:30 PM (PDT)
Minnesota Lynx 85, Los Angeles Sparks 79
Scoring by quarter: 22-20, 24-20, 19-19, 20-20
Pts: Moore 31, Whalen 13
Rebs: Fowles 13
Asts: Augustus 5, Moore 5
Pts: Gray 20, Toliver 15
Rebs: Ogwumike 8
Asts: Beard 4
Series tied 2–2
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Attendance: 12,885
Referees: Roy Gulbeyan, Maj Forsberg, Kurt Walker
Game 5
Thursday, October 20, 2016
7:00 PM (CDT)
Los Angeles Sparks 77, Minnesota Lynx 76
Scoring by quarter: 17-18, 11-16, 26-21, 23-21
Pts: Parker 28
Rebs: Ogwumike, Parker 12
Asts: Beard 6
Pts: Moore 23
Rebs: Brunson, Fowles 9
Asts: Moore 11
Los Angeles wins WNBA Finals, 3–2
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Team rostersEdit

Minnesota Lynx roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB From
G/F 33   Augustus, Seimone 6' 0" (1.83m) 169 lb (77kg) 04-30-1984 LSU 11
F 32   Brunson, Rebekkah 6' 2" (1.88m) 185 lb (84kg) 12-11-1981 Georgetown 13
G 51   Cruz, Anna 5' 9" (1.75m) 136 lb (62kg) 10-27-1986 Spain 3
C 34   Fowles, Sylvia 6' 6" (1.98m) 212 lb (96kg) 10-06-1985 LSU 9
F 24   Hampton, Keisha 6' 1" (1.85m) 171 lb (78kg) 02-22-1990 DePaul R
F 3   Howard, Natasha 6' 2" (1.88m) 171 lb (78kg) 09-02-1991 Florida State 2
F/C 4   McCarville, Janel 6' 2" (1.88m) 218 lb (99kg) 11-03-1982 Minnesota 11
G 21   Montgomery, Renee 5' 7" (1.7m) 143 lb (65kg) 12-02-1986 Connecticut 8
F 23   Moore, Maya 6' 0" (1.83m) 178 lb (81kg) 06-11-1989 Connecticut 6
G 7   Perkins, Jia 5' 8" (1.73m) 168 lb (76kg) 02-23-1982 Texas Tech 13
G 13   Whalen, Lindsay 5' 9" (1.75m) 166 lb (75kg) 05-09-1982 Minnesota 13



East: ATLCHICONINDNYWAS | West: DALLVLAMINPHOSEA
Head coach
  Cheryl Reeve (La Salle)
Assistant coaches
  Shelley Patterson (Washington State)
  Jim Petersen (Minnesota)
Athletic trainer
  Chuck Barta (Wisconsin-La Crosse)
Assistant trainer
  Kate Taber (Iowa)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  •   Injured

WNBA roster page


Los Angeles Sparks roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB From
G/F 0   Beard, Alana 6' 1" (1.85m) 160 lb (73kg) 05-14-1982 Duke 12
F 10   Belyakova, Evgeniya 6' 0" (1.83m) 150 lb (68kg) 06-27-1986 Russia R
G/F 17   Carson, Essence 6' 0" (1.83m) 163 lb (74kg) 07-28-1986 Rutgers 8
G 23   Dabović, Ana 6' 0" (1.83m) 157 lb (71kg) 08-18-1989 Serbia 1
F 28   Dubljević, Jelena 6' 3" (1.91m) 179 lb (81kg) 05-07-1987 Montenegro R
G 12   Gray, Chelsea 5' 11" (1.8m) 170 lb (77kg) 10-08-1992 Duke 1
F/C 7   Gruda, Sandrine 6' 4" (1.93m) 185 lb (84kg) 06-25-1987 France 4
C 42   Lavender, Jantel 6' 4" (1.93m) 185 lb (84kg) 11-12-1988 Ohio State 5
F 30   Ogwumike, Nneka 6' 2" (1.88m) 174 lb (79kg) 07-02-1990 Stanford 4
F/C 3   Parker, Candace 6' 4" (1.93m) 175 lb (79kg) 04-19-1986 Tennessee 8
G 20   Toliver, Kristi 5' 7" (1.7m) 130 lb (59kg) 01-27-1987 Maryland 7
C 21   Wauters, Ann 6' 4" (1.93m) 193 lb (88kg) 10-12-1980 Belgium 8



East: ATLCHICONINDNYWAS | West: DALLVLAMINPHOSEA
Head coach
  Brian Agler (Wittenberg)
Assistant coaches
  Tonya Edwards (Tennessee)
  Amber Stocks (Cincinnati)
Athletic trainer
  Courtney Watson (California)
Strength and conditioning coach
  Kelly Dormandy (Springfield College)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  •   Injured

WNBA roster page


ControversiesEdit

After both Game 4 and Game 5 of the WNBA Finals, the league acknowledged that they had made officiating mistakes late in the games that might have affected their final outcomes. Regarding Game 5, the league released this statement: "After reviewing postgame video, we have determined that Nneka Ogwumike's shot with 1:14 remaining in regulation time should not have counted due to a shot clock violation, and that the referees improperly failed to review the play under the instant replay rules." A similar statement was released after Game 4 after the league admitted to have blown an eight-second violation call. Nevertheless, the outcomes of the games remained the same, with Minnesota taking game 4 and Los Angeles taking game 5.

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Renee Brown, WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations (October 17, 2016). "WNBA Statement On Lynx-Sparks WNBA Finals Game 4". WNBA. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  2. ^ Renee Brown, WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations (October 21, 2016). "WNBA Statement on Lynx-Sparks WNBA Finals Game 5". WNBA. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  3. ^ Alana Beard's last-second shot gives Sparks the win over Lynx in WNBA Finals opener. The Associated Press. Retrieved October 10, 2016.