"But after the sweeping and butt-whooping we've given," Patterson said to a roar, "this team, by far, is the best team, the most coachable team."
The Lynx had the second-youngest roster in the league this season and extended the contracts of Whalen and star shooting guard Seimone Augustus, so they will be well-positioned to defend their title next season. The last time they were in this position, the Lynx lost to the Indiana Fever in the finals last year. Now they'll be the defending champions again.
"I think we're going to embrace that idea," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "People have been gunning for us for three years. As long as we're healthy and have that core group back, we're equipped to handle it."
Augustus is the longest-tenured Lynx player, and she has been through the lows of her first few seasons in the organization, when the franchise was one of the perennial doormats in the Western Conference. That all feels so long ago to her now, and she is enjoying being the team that every other team wants to beat.
"The (bull's eye) is probably going to be huge next year," Augustus said. "A lot of other teams want to be in this position. We've been here, fortunately, for the last three years. People are probably getting tired of hearing about the Lynx. But you're going to have to deal with it."