WNBA Finals Game 5 Preview: Last stand for Lynx, Sparks

WNBA Finals Game 5 Preview: Last stand for Lynx, Sparks

In what is shaping to be a thrilling WNBA Finals Game 5, can the Sparks win a back-to-back or will the Lynx be able stop them?

The WNBA Finals Game 5 between the Minnesota Lynx and the LA Sparx is proving to be a classic. The thing is, there aren’t that many people tuning in on it. This is a shame because the level of play in the WNBA is at its highest this season. So far, the Lynx and Sparx have both had a highly competitive Finals series. Minnesota is gunning for its 4th title in 7 years while the Sparks want a back-to-back.

Fowles or Ogwumike

When they won their 3rd WNBA championship last season, Nneka Ogwumike was arguably the best player for the Sparks. This season though, it’s gotten a little tougher for the 2016 MVP. Sylvia Fowles has done a great job of shutting down Ogwumike for most of this series. In fact, in their first 2 games Nneka only averaged 11 points. This is a far cry for her season averages of 18.8 points per game. Now, if she wants the Sparks to win their 4th title, she’ll need to do more than that. Thankfully, the WNBA Finals Game 5 can provide that platform for her.

Of course, current MVP Sylvia Fowles will do all in her power to deny Ogwumike and the Sparks. The Lynx center has just been dominant on both ends of the floor in this series. It’s on the defense though that Fowles can make the most impact in her second WNBA Finals Game 5 appearance. For most of this series, she has stifled Ogwumike and to a lesser extent, Candace Parker. On offense, her length and athleticism has also made it hard for the Sparks to put a body on her.

WNBA Finals Game 5 will be won on the glass

Basketball is a possession game. To win this WNBA Finals Game 5 match, the Sparks and Lynx need to maximize their possessions. Game 4 saw the Lynx doing just that. Whether it was dominating the boards or hustle plays, Minnesota did everything right. However, it was their rebounding edge that made the difference. At halftime, the Lynx were sitting on a 26-14 advantage. By the end of the game, they managed to increase this to 48-28. If the Sparks want a back-to-back, they’ll have to do better on that end.

Minnesota has home court advantage but…

Not only do they have to exert more effort on rebounding, Los Angeles needs to do this on the road. Minnesota should have this in the bag right? Well, you only need to look back to last year’s WNBA Finals Game 5 for your answer. The truth is, Minnesota still isn’t out of the woods yet. Despite being buried 80-69 in Game 4, the Sparks are still a threat. Candace Parker can easily get hot and turn the momentum of the game. Nneka Ogwumike is especially dangerous in clutch situations (again, see last year’s tape).

For the Lynx to win it all, they’ll need more help from their starters. Aside from Fowles and Maya Moore, they’ll also need forward Rebekka Brunson to come up big again. Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus will again need to set the tone on offense in the backcourt. As for the Sparks, they’ll have their hands full on defense for the WNBA Finals Game 5 matchup. Parker and Ogwumike will need to bring their A-games to limit Sylvia Fowles.

Who do you think will take home the WNBA Finals Game 5 win between these two teams? Can Fowles cap her MVP season with a title? Will Ogwumike spoil the party again for the Lynx? Share your thoughts down on the comments section!

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