After sloppy play Sunday forced a Game 5, the Lynx answered the fans' question "Whose House" with a resounding 69-52 win over the Indiana Fever at the Target Center Wednesday night. Sylvia Fowles led the team with 20 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Seimone Augustus who added 16 points. Following the win, Fowles was named the game's MVP.
This may have been Fowles' first WNBA Championship, but her veteran mentality came through as she helped Minnesota to its third title in just five years.
In a first half where both teams played irresponsibly and the Lynx couldn't seem to get their motor running, Fowles made her presence known and kept her team in the ball game. She recorded seven points and four rebounds in a first quarter that looked much like the previous four games of the series, each team grabbing a few consecutive buckets and exchanging marginal leads. There wasn't much scoring aside from Fowles, however, as both Indiana and Minnesota hit a dead stretch midway through the second quarter; it seemed neither squad could get a shot to fall.
Fortunately for Minnesota fans, the Lynx snapped out of it; the Fever did not.
Minnesota held its opponents to just 28.2 percent from the field for three quarters, and even 18 and 13 points from Tamika Catchings and Briann January, respectively, didn't help the Fever's case. In the second and third quarters, Indiana scored just 12 points, while committing an unforgivable 17 turnovers.
The Lynx entered the locker room at halftime leading 27-21. While the first half proved more of a defensive contest, they hit an offensive groove in the second. Minnesota took a 19-point lead in the third quarter; Fowles and Augustus, former college teammates, led the pack.
''We kept grinding and working despite everything that we've been through,'' Augustus said following the game.
The guard referenced a particularly challenging season for Minnesota, as the team fought injuries, lineup adjustments and an incredibly rough August record. In the end, the Lynx proved to the league they are still the team to beat.
''They just outplayed us in every single way,'' said first-year Fever coach Stephanie White.''They looked like a team that was on a mission, and they played like it.''
Augustus' 16 points were a series high for her, and the Lynx also welcomed a big night for reliable forward Rebekkah Brunson, who finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Renee Montgomery bagged a good amount of time on the floor, adding nine points, four assists and three steals in 19 minutes. In a fashion most would not have expected, veteran Lindsay Whalen and All-Star Maya Moore combined for only seven total points.
A clearly emotional head coach Cheryl Reeve spoke to ESPN following the win, thanking the 18,000+ fans who packed the stands and giving credit to the incredible effort and tenacity of her players.
"We had great leaders, and we had a great bench," she said.
Reeve took the reigns in Minnesota in 2010, turning the franchise around. After winning championships in both 2011 and 2013, this season proved to be the most difficult of the three title trips. When asked in-arena postgame about the rocky road and how she got the Lynx to this place once again, Reeve smiled before answering.
"It was a piece of cake."