Jim Souhan
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You know the WNBA is increasing in popularity when social media becomes outraged by a list snub.

You know what list snubs are — all-time-greatest compilations that elicit more rage than joy.

The league on Sunday released its W25 — its list of the 25 greatest players in WNBA history.

The Lynx produced an impressive list of players, and the greatest obvious snub.

Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen made it after winning four titles. Current Lynx star Sylvia Fowles made it for winning two titles with Minnesota and remaining one of the league's dominant players with an entirely new set of teammates.

Current Lynx assistant coach and former Lynx player Katie Smith made the list as well.

The most obvious list snub? Current Lynx assistant coach and former Lynx star Rebekkah Brunson.

Brunson is the only player in WNBA history to win five championships. She was the league's all-time leading rebounder before Fowles passed her, and she remains second on that list.

Leaving Brunson off the top 25 is like leaving Bill Russell off the NBA's all-time top 25. It is an insult to winners and rebounders everywhere.

For Minnesotans, the list provided context to the Lynx's current success. The Lynx won four titles in seven years, from 2011 through 2017. Moore left to pursue justice reform, Brunson and Whalen retired, and Augustus left to play her last season for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Of the Lynx's championship-team starters, only Fowles remains, yet Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs for an 11th straight time and, in a year of late arrivals, injuries and constant roster and lineup shuffling, is surging with five regular-season games to go.

What makes this month so fascinating is that the Lynx are not surging alone.

Connecticut is 21-6 and has opened a 1.5-game lead over second-place Las Vegas, while winning nine of its past 10 games. Connecticut is athletic and physical and has won its past two games against the Lynx.

Las Vegas lost to Chicago on Sunday and will face Minnesota in Vegas on Wednesday in an important game. In the WNBA playoffs, the top two seeds receive byes through the first two rounds of one-game playoffs. The third and fourth seeds receive one bye. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve says the top two seeds have a marked advantage, and now those seeds are within reach.

The Lynx have moved into third place by percentage points over defending WNBA champion Seattle, which features future Hall of Famers Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart and Olympian Jewell Loyd. Perhaps because those three played so many minutes in Tokyo, Seattle is the only one of the top five teams in the standings that hasn't won at least seven of its past 10 games — the Storm is 6-4.

Seattle has won two of the past three league titles.

Phoenix surged after the Olympics and now is a half-game game behind Minnesota and Seattle, as Brittney Griner, perhaps the most dominant U.S. player in Tokyo, has continued her excellent play.

Those five teams will jockey for seedings over the next two weeks, and the Lynx's schedule gives them an opportunity to make a move.

Their toughest matchup is Wednesday in Vegas. Then they play three straight — including two at home — against last-place Indiana. They finish the regular season at Washington. The Mystics won the title in 2019 but are 10-17 and have lost eight of their past 10.

The Lynx have won five straight, but that's merely the third-longest winning streak in the league right now. Connecticut and Phoenix have won nine straight.

The most talent-saturated professional sports league in North America is headed toward a frantic stretch run and a playoff bracket featuring a slew of W25 honorees, Olympians and future Hall of Famers.

Connecticut looks like the best team right now, and Phoenix has become the new sleeper.

The Lynx have a chance to enter the playoffs healthy and with a 10-game winning streak, with Brunson, Fowles, Reeve and Smith lugging a jewelry store's display of rings into October.