During this challenging time, she found solace in cycling. She was a year removed from hip surgery, and cycling was a way to stay in shape and decompress. The Lynx deal was finalized in late July, and Fowles played only 18 regular-season games in her first season in Minnesota.
Rebekkah Brunson, a former Lynx forward, remembered Fowles fitting into the Lynx culture seamlessly. “I mean, first of all, she’s dominant, so I think we probably catered our game to her,” Brunson said with a laugh.
That is high praise from a five-time W.N.B.A champion, especially since Minnesota was already stacked with elite players, such as Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Brunson.
“The culture that we try to breed is one of selflessness because, at the end of the day, yeah, you got to be a great player individually, but selflessness is going to allow you to be successful,” Brunson said.
It worked. The Lynx went to three W.N.B.A finals and won two championships in the four seasons before Fowles arrived. Minnesota finished the 2015 season 22-12 and earned the top seed in the Western Conference. The Lynx played another 10 postseason games en route to the third championship in franchise history.
Fowles scored 20 points in the decisive Game 5 of the finals to give the Lynx a 69-52 win over the Indiana Fever and won her first finals M.V.P. award. When Fowles won her second, in 2017, she donated a portion of her $15,000 M.V.P. bonus to a local organization that helped children of color and low-income youths have access to bikes. At the time, she described cycling as “a great way for me to release a lot of my stress.”
She has been involved in the cycling community since. That inspired the Syl’s Final Ride campaign, which is both a celebration of Fowles’s career and an effort to honor her commitment to improving access to cycling for others.
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