Finals Timeline: the intertwined history of the 2019 WNBA finalists

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5/21/04 – Former University of MN Gopher star Lindsey Whalen makes the transition to the pros, training with the Connecticut Sun in preparation for her first WNBA season, which opens Saturday against Phoenix. THIS PHOTO: While wiping the sweat from her face during practice, Lindsey Whalen, left, listens to instructions from Connecicut Suns head coach Mike Thibault. Thibaut is one of the primary reasons the Suns drafted Whalen, as he really admires her game and her attitude. (Photo by JUDY GRIESEDIECK/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

How the Sun and Mystics got here, a macro look

For the first time since the conference-less WNBA Playoffs format was introduced for the 2016 season, the Finals will feature two East Coast teams, and for the first time since 2011, two title-less teams will battle for their first ring. Not only have the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun each yet to win a WNBA championship, neither head coach has a ring, and the only player left in the postseason with a title is Kristi Toliver.

The remaining three to five games center around two rosters who have been carefully assembled and honed over the last several years. While many analysts and fans could have envisioned the Mystics and Sun in this position when the season began, it’s never just about winning 26 games or sweeping through the Semifinals.

Every player, coach, and team has a history that propelled them to their current position, and 2019’s finalists have stories replete with ups, downs, trades, awards, almosts, success, and failures. Their storied histories cross paths at multiple points and as with any major story, include moments that altered each of their courses significantly.

So, let’s take a look back at just how they got here, starting at the beginning.

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