The Showdown – The WNBA Undefeateds Fight for First

Historical Night for the WNBA

In the 20th season of the WNBA, basketball fans were treated to history on Tuesday night as two of the WNBA’s heavy weights, the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks, squared off in an epic battle of the undefeateds. They are the only two teams in professional sports to face off with 10 or more wins, no losses or ties.

Now there is only one undefeated team as the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Los Angeles Sparks on their home court and handed them their first loss of the season. Seimone Augustus led the way for the Lynx with 13 points. Kristi Toliver poured in 20 points for the Sparks and gave her team a chance to win at the buzzer, but it wasn’t enough as time expired.

Los Angeles got things going right away from a corner 3 by guard Toliver, but the Lynx answered with 8 straight to take a 8-3 lead. The first quarter ended with a Lynx lead, 25-21. Midway through the 2nd quarter, the Sparks took advantage on the offensive end scoring five straight to pull within three after the Lynx’s Maya Moore picked up her third personal foul and headed to the bench. The Sparks ended the half with strong defense as Essence Carson picked Lindsay Whalen’s pocket and scored at the buzzer to lead 39-38 going into the locker room.

The second half started much like the first half ended with Moore picking up her fourth foul and Los Angeles took advantage of her absence on the court. After a 9-0 run to put the Sparks up 54-47, Minnesota’s coach called a timeout and put her star back in the game. With Moore in the game, Minnesota responded with five straight points and ended the third quarter with the score all tied up, 56-56. But that was short lived as Moore suffered a thigh injury at the 7:15 mark in the 4th quarter and would not return to the game. The severity of Moore’s injury has not been disclosed by the team.

With the Sparks up 69-67 with two minutes to play, the game came down to the wire. The Lynx Sylvia Fowles tied the game up at 69 with 28 seconds to play. The Sparks missed their jumper and the Lynx rebounded and quickly called a timeout to set up their game winner. Minnesota had a beautifully drawn up play; Lindsay Whalen drove baseline and found Renee Montogomery in the corner to knock down a three with 2.5 left to play. The Lynx opted to foul Candace Parker and send her to the free throw before the Sparks could attempt a three. She missed both free throws, but managed to get her own rebound and kick it out to Toliver for a game tying three at the buzzer. However the play was reviewed and the basket was reversed as she did not get it off in time.

The stage was set earlier in the day as the WNBA announced the Top 20 at 20 as a celebration of their 20th season and honoring the 20 greatest and most influential players. Four of the 20 players were on the court last night. For the Lynx, Moore, Augustus, and Whalen were recognized along with Parker from the Sparks.

Entering into last night’s game the Minnesota Lynx had a record of 12-0 while the Los Angeles Sparks were 11-0. Both teams came into the game intensely focused because they knew what was at stake – not just remaining undefeated and having sole control of first place in the Western Conference, but making a statement performance. Which is exactly what the Minnesota Lynx did.

The undefeated showdown lived up to the hype as the Lynx now move to 13-0 on the season and will again be put to the test as these teams have a rematch on Friday in Minnesota.

Caroline Starr