Sparks top Lynx to claim WNBA crown

Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker right reaches in on Minnesota Lynx guard Anna Cruz during the second half in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals Sunday Oct. 16 2016 in Los Angeles. The Lynx won 85-79

During the finals, Carson averaged 6.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game against the defending champion Minnesota Lynx.

Ogwumike, the league MVP, was thrilled to celebrate the first WNBA championship for herself, Parker and the rest the Sparks.

The championship she'd been chasing with Los Angeles since the Sparks made her the first pick in the 2008 draft was all the more special at the end of a trying season.

Los Angeles had been a dominant team back when the Sparks had Lisa Leslie.

Parker's old college coach, the late Pat Summitt, was there in spirit too.

Nneka Ogwumike's rebound and layup with 3.1 seconds remaining in Thursday's winner-take-all Game 5 clinched the Sparks' 77-76 victory over the favored Minnesota Lynx.

Parker scored 28 points, including a go-ahead basket with 19.7 seconds remaining, as the Sparks won their first WNBA title since 2002. They held a 55-54 lead after the third quarter, then Parker and Gray took control.

"The journey to get here I wouldn't have wanted to do it with anybody else", Parker said. Whalen hugged each player individually, then slumped at her locker.

"I've played with Candace for five years, and this was the most growth that I've ever seen from her", Beard said.

Ogwumike did not have to say a thing, and she didn't.

Reeve continued, her voice rising: "It's really unfortunate that players continually put themselves out there playing and competing at a really high level, whether it was the eight-second call in the game in L.A. - doesn't matter, OK?"

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Rebekkah Brunson made one of two free throws with 23.4 seconds left to give the Lynx a 74-73 lead. Moore and Augustus combined to score the last 12 as the Lynx broke a 28-28 tie. Ogwumike's first try for the win was off the mark, but she worked her way over to the loose ball for another attempt that she coolly swished. She coolly swished it. Moore, the 2014 MVP, led the Lynx with 23 points and 11 assists. The Houston Comets won four straight titles from 1997-2000.

That two such errors could occur in the final two games of a close, hard-fought championship series angered Reeve.

"You always have to keep looking on the bright side, and that's something I'm really good at doing", said Ogwumike, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

But Moore seized the moment with a 3-pointer that brought Minnesota within four points, and Parker forced an off-balance 3 on the other end. The Sparks apparently got that from guard Kristi Toliver.

On the next play, Ogwumike sank a jumper that appeared to come after the shot clock expired. Seimone Augustus answered with a jumper, but those points proved to be critical.

The Lynx were heavily favored over the Sparks in this best-of-five series. It's not enough just to apologize and send out a memo that they got something wrong, OK? These players are so invested and something must be done about the officiating in this league.

"We always talk about great players making great plays".

Justin Thomas began his title defense with 8-under 64 at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is tied with Keegan Bradley and Derek Fathauer for the first-round lead in the PGA Tour event.

The sea of green T-shirts donned by nearly everyone in the crowd produced a deafening soundtrack from start to finish befitting a game for the trophy. Los Angeles would need at least one big play to knock off Minnesota in Game 5.

Surely, this is when they would go to the replay. "This team Minnesota is tremendous", Johnson said. "You've got to give them credit for coming out and playing today, especially in that environment".