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Maya Moore Leads Minnesota Lynx into Last Game of the 2016 WNBA Finals

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Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore cheers after nailing a three pointers against the Los Angeles Sparks in the second quarter at Target Center on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Those interested in women’s professional basketball should tune in to ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. (ET) to watch Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. The Minnesota Lynx, led by superstar Maya Moore will face off against the Los Angeles Sparks in a winner-take-all Game 5. It’s been a roller-coaster of a series so far.

The Lynx and Sparks have been the top two teams all season. This is the first season in the WNBA that allows two Western Conference teams to make the finals. Coming into the series, all eyes were set on the superstar matchup between two former league MVPs, Maya Moore (2014 MVP) and Candace Parker (2008, 2013 MVP). What makes the matchup even more interesting is that the current league MVP Nneka Ogwumike plays for the Sparks and has had an amazing season so far.

Here is a recap of the series:

Game 1: Game 1 had all the drama expected from a finals matchup against the two best teams in the league. Neither the former nor current MVPs were the hero, but veteran guard shooting guard for the Sparks Alana Beard. In the final second of the game, Beard scored the game-winning basketball to defeat the Lynx 78 to 76.

Game 2: The defending champions responded after a crushing Game 1 loss to defeat the Sparks 79 to 60. The Lynx were led by Maya Moore who scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Lynx Center Sylvia Fowles notched a double-double (13 points, 15 rebounds), while 3-time Olympic gold medalist Seimone Augustus scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half.

Game 3: With the series tied (1-1), the Sparks took a commanding lead in Game 3 and never relinquished momentum. They defeated the Lynx 92 to 75, led by the MVP tandem of Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker, who combined for 45 points.

Game 4: With the Lynx facing elimination, Maya Moore put in the best performance of the series so far, scoring 31 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists. Big time players step up in big time games. This is exactly what Maya Moore did as the Lynx defeated the Sparks 85 to 79 to force a fifth and final game.

Game 5: Whichever team wins this game will be crowned WNBA Champions. Who will have the best performance in Game 5 and lead her team to victory? Will it be Maya Moore (Lynx), Candace Parker (Sparks), Nneka Ogwumike (Sparks), Seimone Augustus (Lynx), Lindsay Whalen (Lynx), or Alana Beard (Sparks)?

Turn to ESPN 2 at 8 pm (ET) and find out.

References: http://www.wnba.com/playoffs2016/

By Dr. Brandon Spradley

Dr. Spradley is the Director of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at bspradley@ussa.edu.

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