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Minneapolis • For years, the Minnesota Lynx were irrelevant in the WNBA, a listless franchise that couldn't figure out a way to even make the playoffs let alone contend for a title.
Now they're looking for two straight championships.
The Lynx host the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday (6 p.m., ESPN2), hoping to become the first repeat winners since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.
It's been a startling climb for a team that made the playoffs just twice in its first 12 years. But starting with the hire of coach Cheryl Reeve and the trade for hometown star Lindsay Whalen in 2010 and going right on through with the acquisitions of Rebekkah Brunson and Taj McWilliams-Franklin and drafting Maya Moore, the Lynx are suddenly the class of the league.
"Now there's that window of opportunity," Reeve said. "It's just a great time to be a part of it."
The group that also includes dynamic forward Seimone Augustus, along with reserve guard Erin Thorn from BYU, steamrolled through the playoffs last season. But the Lynx have found that defending that crown has been an entirely different experience.
The Seattle Storm pushed the Lynx to the limit in the Western Conference quarterfinals, missing a shot in the closing moments of Game 3 that would have eliminated them. The Lynx then had to rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Sparks in Game 2 to complete a sweep of Los Angeles to get back to the finals.
The Fever rallied for 16-point win at Connecticut in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals despite losing star scorer Katie Douglas early in the game to a left ankle injury. It is uncertain if Douglas, who scored 51 points in the first two games of the series, will be able to play on Sunday night.