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Defense wins WNBA Championship for Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx held the Indiana Fever to just 12 points in 20 minutes in Wednesday's Game 5 of the WNBA Finals, and they took advantage. The Lynx, led by MVP Sylvia Fowles' 20 points and 11 rebounds, topped the Fever 69-52, giving them their third WNBA title in five years.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minneapolis, MN -- The Minnesota Lynx entered through the doors of the Target Center in Minneapolis Wednesday with a goal to win their third WNBA title in five years.

They knew it wasn't going to be easy. They were facing an Indiana Fever team that had gone head-to-head with them in the first four games of the series.

Yet when it was all said and done, the Minnesota Lynx found themselves holding the championship trophy. Led by finals MVP Sylvia Fowles' 20 points and 11 rebounds, the Lynx topped the Fever handily 69-52.

"It is an unbelievable experience," said Lynx forward Maya Moore. "I don't really have words for that feeling. I mean, the way we came out and just executed and started pushing that lead, and the crowd was just so into it, and it just built and built. That last minute, when we were up 15 or so, I just lost it."

While Wednesday night's game started out close, it certainly didn't end that way.

At the peak of their run, the Lynx were able to hold a 23 point lead in the fourth quarter. And after four very close games in the early part of the series - all of which were decided by 10 points or less - a comfortable double-digit lead wasn't something many expected.

"[I was] a little surprised," said Fever coach Stephanie White. "You're never really shocked because Minnesota is so good. But at the same time, it seemed like we couldn't quite get a handle on the ball. They were moving us around a lot on the defensive end and really getting great shots."

The Fever's troubles truly began in the second quarter. While they led 17-15 after the opening quarter, they scored just a combined 12 points in the second and third quarters. In fact, their four points in the second quarter was the lowest point total by an individual team in WNBA Finals history.

The Lynx took advantage, too. By the time the third quarter had ended, Minnesota was up 48-29.

"We kind of got away from what was working for us," said Fever guard Briann January. "It allowed them to get some easy buckets, allowed them to get on a run, and then we were playing catch-up. So we put ourselves in a tough situation."

Turnovers also plagued the Fever Wednesday night. After just three turnovers in the first quarter, the Fever combined for 15 total turnovers in the second and third quarters - several of which were unforced.

And while it was the final game of the final series, the Fever seemed out of energy at times. White, while she may not understand it, saw it at some points, too.

"I don't know really, I don't know how you can get tired in an environment like this," White said. "The fans were awesome - they have been all season long. It's what you dream of playing for. But at the same, I feel like some of our decision making showed a little bit of fatigue."

The Fever were able to make a slight comeback in the fourth quarter, but the damage was already done. The Lynx's lead was too great.

And at the moment, the Lynx aren't concerned with how they won the series. All that matters to them is that they won it at home.

"I know when it got towards the end, it was just really, really special," said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. "Our fans requested that we win one at home, and I don't necessarily know that that was our plan, but it worked out in a way that - I mean, how more exciting do you get than a Game 5 in front of your home fans with the turnout that we had and they were incredibly engaged?

"To stand there as a group in front of our fans, I just think that both groups deserved it."