For the third time in five years, the Minnesota Lynx are WNBA champions after a 69-52 Game 5 victory over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday night.
The WNBA sent out a congratulatory tweet after the final buzzer:
It's officially a dynasty for the Lynx, who have proved to be the most successful professional franchise in the state of Minnesota with their third championship. The Twins have two World Series wins, while the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild have all come up empty.
Minnesota's defense clinched the title in the decisive game, holding the Fever to a mere 12 total points in the second and third quarters. Indiana shot just 36 percent from the field on the night as its star, Tamika Catchings, led her side with 18 points.
Like it's been doing for most of the season, Minnesota made it a priority to go down low and find the likes of Sylvia Fowles, who dominated under the basket throughout the WNBA Finals.
The Lynx utilized her in order to steady things after a hot Indiana start—especially since Maya Moore had another slow start. This time, though, she didn't need to heat up, as the Lynx won easily, despite last year's league MVP scoring five points.
Moore has shown time and time again throughout her career that she is the epitome of a winner, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out:
Fowles was steady as usual, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds in capturing her first WNBA championship. It's her first year with the Lynx after seven seasons with the Chicago Sky, and she arrived in style as she took home Finals MVP. She spoke about her award after the game, per ESPN W News:
Even her opponent, Catchings, was happy for her, per ESPN W's Mechelle Voepel:
Former WNBA player Tammy Sutton-Brown loved what she saw from Fowles all series, including Wednesday night:
Indiana wasn't doing itself any favors all night with its careless ball-handling. It was never more evident than during a three-minute span to start the second quarter, when the Fever committed five turnovers, allowing Minnesota to go on an 8-0 run. The Fever finished the night with 19 giveaways.
On top of that, the Fever scored only four points in the entire second quarter—a WNBA Finals record low, per the Indianapolis Star's David Woods. Yet, they only trailed by six at halftime, thanks to their defense.
Both teams' defensive efforts throughout the matchup impressed Hoopism's Sue Favor, as the 27-21 halftime score indicated:
The defense was so good that the 48 points combined for the lowest-scoring first half in WNBA Finals history, per Lynx Radio Network's John Focke.
It was a bit of an anticlimactic ending for a series that saw each game won by no more than six points, but Indiana just couldn't find a way through Minnesota's defense. Its first basket of the third quarter came halfway through the period as the Lynx's lead swelled to double digits.
For CBS' Tricia Whitaker, it was tough to watch:
Indiana didn't even reach 30 points through three, as the beginning of the fourth quarter felt more like a coronation with the Lynx leading, 48-29. It was the second straight quarter Minnesota held the Fever to single digits.
"The way we grinded together, a lot of things happen throughout the season that people don't even know," Lynx guard Seimone Augustus said, per the Associated Press' Jon Krawczynski (via ABC News). "We kept grinding and working despite everything that we've been through."
Augustus was second on the team with 16 points on Wednesday night.
Indiana finally arrived in the fourth quarter, using a combination of Catchings getting hot and Minnesota's complacency to cut the lead to as little as 11. But it was far too little, too late.
The WNBA showed the Lynx on the floor just moments after securing their win:
With Minnesota receiving contributions from all corners of the bench, the Lynx showed a complete-team effort is overwhelming for any opponent regardless of what point in the season it is. Touting a core of players that can carry the team on any given night, Minnesota's dynasty has officially been crowned.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.