Beard saved Game 1 of the 2016 WNBA Finals between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx from being a close shave.
Hitting the bullseye at the Target Centre buzzer, L.A.’s Alana Beard drew a bead on Minny’s Maya Moore in the corner and drilled home a clutch three at point blank range with just seconds to spare as she slid back downtown.
As the Sparks shocked the defending champions and top seeded Lynx team 78-76 for one in the win column they took a commanding lead in the best of five Finals series. Expect this one to go to the wire though for the two teams who began this season with 11 game unbeatable records until they faced off with each other.
Minnesota prevailed in that one but Alana made sure that would never happen again as the number zero got her Nick Young, purple and gold Lakers brotherhood on and showed some downtown swag. The only thing she didn’t do was step over Olympic Gold winning great Maya Moore like Allen Iverson did to Tyronn Lue in the 2002 Sixers, Lakers NBA Finals. She was too busy picking herself up off the floor, her shot was so good for that.
Beard wasn’t alone in covering the Lynx like Minnesotans face scarfs growing around this time of year. League MVP Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points as did Kristi Toliver. Candace Parker also contributed a cool 14 to show the Sparks have many options to plug you with. Almost as many as the WNBA has legends. As the association honoured the 20 for 20 at the games half. The 20 best players of the last and first two decades of the Womens National Basketball Association leagues inception. As Los Angeles Sparks legend Lisa Leslie watched the new generation of L.A. angels and had a silky smooth reunion with her Jerry West and Elgin Baylor ‘Fire and Ice’ like partner Parker, the Jaamal Wilkes silk to her operator smooth.
Leslie was joined by Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Deanna Nolan, Ticha Penicheiro, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson, Theresa Weatherspoon and brand new Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes from the retired legends class. Whilst Candace and Lynx opponents Maya Moore, Lindsay Whale and Seimone Augustus were joined by fellow current court contemporaries Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi and recently retired Tamika Catchings for quite an almost 50/50 list of active and retired WNBA great that should leave you expecting no less.
Fellow Rio 2016 Olympic Gold medalist for the womens national basketball Team USA Whalen had 18 for the Minnesota Lynx, along with the same from Sylvia Fowles to go along with 13 rebounds. Quite clearly motivated by the fact that she should have been honoured at half-time instead of hearing it from the Lynx coach in the home locker room. Still if Minnesota want their own rings come next season and the end of these finals they need more from Moore (who left the game with her head in her hands) and this pack needs to let the wolves out.
Otherwise it’s going to be a Hollywood ending in this wild west world showdown.
Time to go to work.
Watch this space…
Gray Jumper Lifts Sparks Over Lynx In WNBA Finals Game 1
Last years to the wire WNBA Finals between the reigning champion Los Angeles Sparks and the then defending one the Minnesota Lynx ended with a clutch, game and series winning basket. This years rematch between the two teams by the end of the fourth quarter began the same way.
But this time it was reigning WNBA Finals MVP Candace Parker siren screaming in woman of the moment Chelsea Gray’s ear, as her L.A. teammate’s last second shot at the buzzer sparked Los Angeles’ other purple and gold team over the Minnesota Lynx. As they sealed Game 1 with a big escape out of Minny, 85-84.
14 seconds and a shade under 2 seconds was all Gray needed to put the game and the series advantage away for a finals that will determine who the real great WNBA champion truly is. Expect this one to go the distance too between these two evenly matched teams as the Sparks 28-2 advantage in the first quarter (shadowed by another Gray three) and 78-66 one in the fourth was erased to a next basket wins end of the final quarter and first finals game.
“All athletes dream of that moment” Chelsea told reporters afterwards as she capped off a career high 27 points with the greatest moment of her WNBA conception. Doing what fellow L.A. Spark Alana Beard did at STAPLES in Game 1 of last years WNBA Finals versus the Lynx. These razor edge close shaves really keep mirroring each other and if this is the case then things are looking good for the Sparks on reflection.
Superstar leader Candace Parker added a double/double of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Sparks, whilst Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx played with her own 22 and 13. But it was Maya Moore who paced Minnesota with 27 points as the Lynx turned a 26 point deficit to an 84-83 advantage with 6.5 on the clock remaining.
Despite foul trouble against Fowles and co, Los Angeles WNBA MVP of last season Nneka Ogwumike had 11 points against the Lynx along with Odyssey Sims’ 16. Whilst Minnesota’s Simone Augustus countered with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists against the Sparks in a contest for a series that proves to be an evenly matched, balanced attack.
But there was a subplot to this storied rivals next episode as these WNBA players responded to President Donald Trump’s call for the NFL to fire players who don’t stand for the national anthem and his refusal to invite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House following Steph Curry’s decision not to attend the traditional victory visit. As the Lynx players linked arms at home for the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, the Sparks road team left the floor only to return to a chorus of boo’s before they made another silencing statement.
And this is only the beginning.
The Sky Is Not The Limit…Delle Donne To D.C.
Strange. Call it part of the Mystic arts, but former WNBA MVP and the league of great expectations greatest player Elena Dell Donne is done with her Sky high-time in the Windy City of Chicago.
Just when Chi-town thought they had enough problems with the big beef amongst the Bulls trip of superstars Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo-not to mention the rest of the team-the town lost another superstar with their former champion sister franchise.
D.D. now finds herself in D.C. just when you thought people wouldn’t want to lay a foundation in this city unless it was with a placard or picket. Still trumping all of that ignorance in a sexist and misogynstic world, Elena looks to take Washington to new heights. Making an exclamation for the capital city for these States of America that need to remain United.
Traded to the Washigton Mystics to what on paper remains a mystery this Olympian who lead the womens national Team USA to the Gold like McConaughey in Brazil for the 2016 Rio games last Summer. But on the print of tabloids like the Tribune it was clear to read that Delle Donne was about to leave Chicago for clearer skies. Whether times where turbulent in the city of wind for their Captain Marvel was as unclear as this whole Butler and Wade vs Rondo mess, but in this Golden State age of player power it was clear Elena was about to go all Kevin Durant on the Oklahoma City Thunder. She announced it herself. And fair play to somone who allowed the Sky to prepare for whatever the weather with her free agent forecast.
And before she became truly unrestricted Chicago wanted to make sure they got some soldiers in return for their Warrior…and oh did they. The Sky have acquired All-Star Stefanie Dolson, number 7 pick in last years draft Kahleah Copper to the brass and the wind of whoever comes in at the number 2 spot in a future draft for this Summer season.
Three for the price of one is an offer you can’t even get in stores but then again Delle Donne is one of a kind. Maybe in a million…at least in a Hall of Fame. Because when it’s all said and done Elena Delle Donne will go down as one of the greatest to ever play this game (and we’re not just talking about the womens game). We’re talking top 10 for this number 11.
Chicago may have some top draft picks for future faces for their blue skies but Washington have their number one and we’re not talking about the White House. The House of Guards has someone even bigger calling Verizon home now the Mystics have pulled off and out a magic trick of the wand that could even spellbind a Wizard.
Sparks’ Magic Fires Up L.A.’s First WNBA Championship In 14 Years
11 lead changes and 1 point highlighted just how little was between the two WNBA franchises who both started the season with 11 game unbeatable runs until they met each other.
Not to mention a full five game series, tied at two games a piece.
But as this seasons MVP Nneka Ogwumike hit a clutch basket with 3.1 seconds to go that was all she wrote folks as the Los Angeles Sparks clinched their first WNBA title in 14 years over the Minnesota Lynx, behind Finals MVP Candace Parker’s 28 points and 12 rebounds.
And to think this dynamic duo was left off the 2016 Gold Medal winning Olympic team that took Rio by storm.
But in the end the Minnesota Lynx’s Team USA stars Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles (who Mamba mentality played through the Kobe like pain of a dislocated finger popped back in place), who haven’t had a break all season, couldn’t keep up with two Most Valuable Superstars who had some doubters to disprove.
Maya Moore may have had more points with 23 and 11 rebounds but Nneka’s 12 and 12 iced by her game winning bucket she put back after the Sparks spilled a couple of shots in the paint was so much more. Dethroning the defending champ Lynx who have been in five WNBA Finals in the last six seasons, winning three of them.
NBA purple and gold brotherhood, Los Angeles Lakers legend and Sparks owner Magic Johnson couldn’t have been prouder of Candace as he held her in an emotional embrace postgame (Candace herself getting choked up with a tearful tribute, dedicating the win and championship to late, legendary coach and mentor Pat Summitt) after watching her put on a show. “Thank you so much” she cried, as Earvin earnestly replied, “you did what you do”! High praise from NBA histories selfless G.O.A.T. The majority owner of MLB’s Dodgers will be looking for another big hit from L.A. sports before the young Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson Lakers take to the plate and do their thing. But right now he’s just watched his Sparks step up and knock it out the park.
Giving the Lynx three strikes infront of Minnesota Timberwolves future Karl Anthony-Townes, Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine and Ricky Rubio in homestand support, the Sparks were plugged by more than their new smooth and silk duo that is all fire and ice. From Alana Beard’s game one net cutting winner to Chelsea Gray handling this 11 lead change game with 11 of her own consecutive points in the fourth to ignite the Sparks’ comeback before the game faded to black and backboard red.
As we watched all this teamwork accept what it means to be great we bore witness to not one, but two teams who could rule the WNBA for many seasons and finals to come like the mens Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Minnesota Lynx have been here for years, but not since the days of 20 for 20 leading legend Lisa Leslie have the purple L.A. team seen this much gold.
This Spark has started a fire.
USports2 months ago
Javon Masters: Sky’s Not The Limit
NBA2 months ago
Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?
NBA2 months ago
Miami Heat Icon Dwyane Wade Dedicates Season To Parkland Victim Laid To Rest In His Jersey
USports1 month ago
Calgary Dinos Win First-Ever U Sports National Basketball Men’s Championship
NBLC1 month ago
Carl English amazing 58-point effort sets NBL Canada scoring record
NBA2 months ago
Gary Vee & Nik Stauskas: The Truth About Success, Grinding & “Eating Dirt”
Men2 months ago
Syracuse Oshae Brissett delivers massive Rack Attack on Miami Hurricanes
FIBA2 months ago
Three-point barrage helps Canada route Bahamas 113-67 FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers