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The Lynx look for one more win for the WNBA crown

When training camp opened six months ago, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve talked openly about the dynasty a championship this season would create. After winning WNBA championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015, the Lynx set their sites this season on becoming t...

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Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen (3) is fouled by Los Angeles Sparks guard Chelsea Gray (12) during the second quarter in game four of the WNBA Finals. at Staples Center. The Minnesota Lynx won 85-79. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

When training camp opened six months ago, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve talked openly about the dynasty a championship this season would create.

After winning WNBA championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015, the Lynx set their sites this season on becoming the league’s first back-to-back champs in 14 years.

In April, Reeve was open with such talk. Now? Not so much.

“She laid it all out on the line: what our goal is, what history we could make, how we could fulfill our legacy,” forward Seimone Augustus said. “And then she bottled it up and put it to the side.”

So where does the Lynx’s five-year run rank all time? That will depend on what happens Thursday night in Game 5 on the WNBA Finals, when the Lynx play host to the Los Angeles Sparks at Target Center.

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“I’d rather talk about how meaningful it is after we do it,” Reeve said Wednesday. “At the beginning with this group, we set it out there as a goal. But we’re not at the end yet. Once we get to the end, we can look up and see how we did.”

To return the best-of-five series to Minnesota, the Lynx had to survive Game 4, overcoming a 2-1 series deficit with an 85-79 victory in Los Angeles on Sunday.

While this Lynx core has won three championships together, an inexperienced Sparks team squandered a chance on its home court to win its first championship since 2002. Coach Brian Agler attributed Sunday’s loss to a lack of experience and losing focus.

“Everybody like you guys were asking the players what it’s going to be like to win a championship,” Agler said. “And then all of a sudden it’s easy to get distracted by that, especially when you haven’t experienced it before. It’s something that we’ve learned, and we addressed it and we talked about it. I told them that was my observation.”

The Lynx quickly sold out the lower bowl of Target Center for Thursday’s game and are hoping for a crowd that rivals the 18,993 that attended the Lynx’s championship-clinching Game 5 victory over Indiana last year.

“They were a part of us earning home-court advantage,” Reeve said of the Lynx’s fans.

While Reeve has tried all season to limit talk of what another championship would mean to her team, it still came out “a little bit” the past couple of days, Lynx forward Maya Moore said.

“It’s definitely something that we talked about because it’s a possibility,” Moore said. “We want to accomplish everything that we can and squeeze every drop out of this season and this time we have together.”

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“We know what’s at stake, but at the same time we’re trying to stay poised,” center Sylvia Fowles said. “Once tip-off comes, who knows what’s going to happen. But I think we’ve got a good chance to win it all.”

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