The Minnesota Lynx can once again claim the WNBA Championship as their own. They beat the Atlanta Dream in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals 86-77 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Maya Moore, the hometown girl who won three high school championships on this same court, scored 23 points and Rebekkah Brunson scored 15 points to go with her 12 rebounds
This win made it a clean sweep of the postseason for the Lynx; this was a 3-0 win over the Dream in the best-of-five series that earned the Lynx the league title for the second time in three seasons.
This was redemption for the team after the mistakes that were made last season. The Lynx are the second team WNBA history to go undefeated (7-0) in the postseason since the best-of-five championship series was started in 2006. Seattle accomplished the same feat in 2010.
But for the Dream it was the third loss in the Finals in the past four seasons.
Moore was selected the most valuable player in the championship series, scored 15 points in the second half. That is also the half when the Lynx dominated the Dream, but they did not falter as much is the first two games when they were blown out by 25 points.
The Lynx used a 13-2 run in the third quarter en route to building a 62-47 lead with 2:40 left. But Atlanta answered with a 9-4 spurt to close to within 66-56 with a quarter to go.
The defining Lynx moment in Game 3 came with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter when Janel McCarville fired a backward pass between her legs to Rebekkah Brunson who was not far behind. Brunson powered up the layup, made it and was fouled. Her free throw gave the Lynx a 51-42 lead.
Alex Bentley led the Dream with nine points in the first half; including a three-point play that capped a 5-0 run that was able to get Atlanta within 40-37 with 3.3 seconds left in the second quarter.
It came moments after the Lynx assembled a 6-0 run to stretch what had been a 34-32 lead to six after Whalen made a jumper with just more than a minute left.
Whalen led the Lynx with 11 points and six assists in the first half, a 20-minute span that looked disheveled yet impressive. Just when the Lynx appeared on their way to an easy victory, the Dream kept chipping away at what was once an 11-point deficit.
While this was not the full blow out that many had expected it was still the win the Lynx need to bring back the championship trophy to the Target Center.