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Sport Five reasons why the 2017 WNBA Finals are not just another rematch

02:55  04 october  2017
02:55  04 october  2017 Source:   yardbarker.com

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The 2017 WNBA Finals was the best-of- five championship series for the 2017 season of the Women's National Basketball Association ( WNBA ), tipping off on September 24. It was a rematch of last year's finals matchup.

WNBA Draft 2017 . Season Awards. For the second time in league history, the WNBA Finals will feature a rematch . The top-seeded Minnesota Lynx and second-seeded Los Angeles Sparks will once again meet for the championship, following last year’s five -game instant classic.

On Wednesday evening, the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks will meet in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals for a second straight year, in a winner-takes-all game that will decide whether one of the most impressive sports dynasties in recent sports history will live on, or if a new one will take the throne.

The Sparks will try and do what they did last year, and take the title from the Lynx in front of a rowdy Minnesota crowd, effectively usurping the Lynx as the most dominant and formidable team in the WNBA. The Lynx, meanwhile, will be looking for revenge from last year, and for a fourth WNBA championship in the last six years.

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  Wozniacki seals WTA final spot Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki became the sixth player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore. The Dane, who defended her Pan Pacific title in Tokyo last week and reached six other finals this year, joins Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Venus Williams in Singapore with two spots left.Wozniacki, who will make her fifth appearance at the event on October 22-29, reached the final in 2010 when Doha hosted the WTA Finals."I'm very excited that I've qualified for the WTA Finals again," the 27-year-old Wozniacki said in a statement.

It’s Lynx vs. Sparks, one superteam against another in a rematch of a thrilling finals from a year ago. Secret — and key — reasons why Lynx forced a Game 5 . Next Up In WNBA . WNBA players are not here for your Twitter criticisms.

2017 WNBA Finals Mini-Movie Compilation! - Duration: 10:44. WNBA 11,908 views. UNSEEN Secrets Why Lynx Forced Game 5 ( WNBA Finals ) - Duration: 2:16. Lynx Celebrate After Winning Another WNBA Title - Duration: 3:25.

If this great WNBA season has to end, the stage is set for the perfect finale.

Of course, in sports media these days, hyperbole is a way of life. But it would be tough to oversell just how great this Lynx vs. Sparks rivalry is, and how much is on the line Wednesday night for some of the biggest names in basketball.

Here are five reasons why this is not your average rematch.

These teams are excruciatingly close

You could give the Sparks the edge because they're defending champions, or the Lynx the edge because they're the veterans who will be playing at home. But in reality, these teams are just about as even as it gets – in their last 12 games, the Lynx and Sparks have scored exactly 908 points each. That's right – they're dead even points wise since the beginning of the 2016 season.

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This Finals, they're only separated by one point: Lynx 298, Sparks 297. Every time one of these teams asks a question, the other finds an answer. Last year, the Sparks won the championship 77-76 on a last-second Nneka Ogwumike offensive rebound and layup. If history is any indication, we are in for a thriller.

Essence Carson of the Los Angeles Sparks drives to the basket to score against Maya Moore Renee Montgomery and Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx during the second half of Game 4 of WNBA Finals at Staples Center October 1, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. © Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Essence Carson of the Los Angeles Sparks drives to the basket to score against Maya Moore Renee Montgomery and Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx during the second half of Game 4 of WNBA Finals at Staples Center October 1, 2017, in Los Angeles, California.

This is a true coaching chess match

Simply put, Sparks coach Brian Agler and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve are two of the best coaches in WNBA history, and it's been fun to watch them try and solve each other's puzzles this series. At times, Minnesota has gone with – and found success with – a small lineup against the Sparks, moving Maya Moore to the No. 4 spot in place of Rebekkah Brunson and bringing Renee Montgomery in as a guard. At times, Brunson has been the most aggressive, impactful player on both ends of the court.

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Why the Sparks and Lynx won't meet in the WNBA Finals again. Los Angeles and Candace Parker, left, won the 2016 WNBA title, and Minnesota and Maya Moore, right, were the 2017 champs. Riveting back-to-back five -game WNBA Finals showdowns have given us the best of the WNBA to

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At times, Reeve has gone deep into her bench, and put players on the spot that don't see many minutes. Often, they've responded, like rookie Alexis Jones did in Game 4, going 1-for-1 for three points in limited minutes.

Agler has stuck with an eight-player rotation during each game, only playing Jantel Lavender, Essence Carson, and Riquna Williams off of the bench. But the minutes those three players have varied each game, based on the flow of the game. He's also shown an uncanny willingness to trust his starters, even when they are in foul trouble early, and it hasn't hurt him yet. It's going to be fun to see how each legendary coach manages their benches with the season on the line.

The star power is absolutely ridiculous

Inside, you have three of the best post players to ever play the game in Ogwumike, Parker, and Fowles. You have this year's Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard taking on two-time MVP Maya Moore, and then All-Star point guard Chelsea Gray going against three-time Olympian Lindsay Whalen.

Everywhere you look on the court at any give time there are legends of the game, or at the very least legends-in-the-making. Sure, it's fun when a team clicks in the playoffs that is full of utility players and gritty competitors who just happen to be clicking at the right time. But it's also incredible to see literally the best players in the world facing off on the biggest stage with everything on the line. That alone should be reason enough to tune in.

Cilic makes progress in Japan

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Why the Sparks and Lynx won't meet in the WNBA Finals again. 1. How will the new-look Mercury jell? You want to talk about " Another Day of Sun"? Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird (left to right) and the Storm host the 2017 All-Star Game in Seattle on July 22.

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Williams Arena will bring out the best in both teams

With the Xcel Energy Center undergoing renovation, the Lynx have hosted all their playoff games at the Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota Campus, and the atmosphere has been electric. "The Barn," as its known, has an arched roof and a raised floor, which adds to its character. Plus, the roof is steel and the seats are right on top of the floor, so it is guaranteed to get very, very, very loud.

So far this Finals, while the games have been exciting, we haven't seen both teams play their best basketball for four full quarters. But in this special setting, hopefully that will change. Neither of these teams back down when it comes to pressure.

There is no telling who the hero is going to be

In Game 1, Gray sealed the win for the Sparks with a dagger in the final seconds. In Game 2, Brunson got to the clinching steal for the Lynx. These teams have an uncanny ability to find themselves in one-possession games with under one minute left, and they each have about eight players capable of making a championship-winning play.

It could be Essence Carson coming from the bench to force a steal and get the win for the Sparks; if the Lynx need a three to win, Montgomery will be on that floor, and she's as capable as anyone of hitting the championship-clinching dagger; maybe it will be Whalen, running the floor and hitting a dagger in transition as the clock goes out to get revenge for the Lynx in the gym where she played in college; or Odyssey Sims, who took the starting spot from Carson midseason, making an unexpected charge to the basket while the defense is focused in on Ogwumike and Parker.

And none of those possibilities even include the four MVPs on the floor, all of whom have proven time and time again that they are to be trusted with the game on the line. The best thing about sports is that you don't know what's going to happen until they play the game; the good news is, with these two teams, all options are enticing.

Murray, Soares into ATP Finals .
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