LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sylvia Fowles and the Minnesota Lynx weren’t about to let their season end in Los Angeles.
The WNBA MVP helped the Lynx force a decisive fifth game in the WNBA Finals by scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds as Minnesota beat Los Angeles 80-69 on Sunday night. It’s the second consecutive year that these two teams will play a deciding game in Minnesota for the crown.
“Advantage? No, we’re back in Game 5. We wanted to make sure we came out and we played well,” Fowles said.
Minnesota, which is trying for its fourth title in seven years, played extremely well as they dominated inside the paint with baskets and rebounds. Minnesota outrebounded the Sparks 48-28. The Sparks had outrebounded the Lynx in Game 3 and that was a point of emphasis for the team to be more physical inside.
“To compete with Minnesota, you have to stay in the same game with them in the rebounding,” Sparks coach Brian Agler said. “Obviously, that was a wide margin. They were more aggressive, no question. They doubled our free throw attempts. I’m not saying that to debate the officiating. The point is they were a lot more aggressive and got themselves to the free-throw line. They gave themselves opportunities and second-chance points on the offensive boards. We didn’t play the way we needed to play to have success against them.”
Odyssey Sims led the Sparks with 18 points and Nneka Ogwumike added 17. No Sparks player reached double figures in rebounding.
Candace Parker, who finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, and the Sparks are hoping to become the league’s first repeat champion since Los Angeles…