The Minnesota Lynx defeated the Indiana Fever last night in game 5 of the WNBA Finals and at the end of the day, the biggest difference between these two teams came down to one thing ... Finals experience and the ability to handle the pressure on the big stage.
This is the third time in the past five years that the Lynx have won the coveted title and the fourth time they have competed for it. This team brings the same veteran feel as the Spurs do in the finals, except they are led by players like Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore, who are still very much in their prime. That's a dangerous combination that ultimately proved to be too much for the Fever.
Indiana did not go out with a lack of effort. The fact that they even forced a Game 5 against this stacked team full of Olympians, who now will go down in history as a WNBA dynasty, is impressive in itself. They honestly just did not look like they were ready for the big stage and to continue to perform at the level they have been throughout this series in front of Minnesota's packed arena full of fans with all of the marbles on the line.
Their defense was definitely commendable, and you could tell the effort was there. Any time you hold Maya Moore to five points you know you are doing something right, because that woman can SCORE! Everyone had difficulty getting the ball through the net, though, unfortunately, resulting in the lowest-scoring first half of a WNBA finals game ever at just 21-27 Minnesota.
Turnovers were also another huge downfall in the death of the Fever's championship hopes. Check this out; they committed 14 turnovers compared to making eight field goals in the first half. If that isn't an ugly stat, I don't know what is. Here's another one.
They scored just 12 points in the second and third quarters combined. The team that had the best three-point percentage in the league and was shooting almost 40 percent from the trey line during the playoffs was 3 for 13 deep into the third quarter. Head Coach Stephanie White honestly looked perplexed as to what in the world was happening to her team.
Sylvia Fowles was also just way too much to handle for Indiana. She notched a double-double on the night with 20 points and 11 rebounds that looked easy. She was a grown woman playing with little girls out there and despite their best efforts, the Fever just did not have an answer for her. Fowles went on to win Finals MVP for her impressive performance.
Indiana, with credit to their effort, fought to the bitter end in the last few minutes to make the loss at least respectable with a final score of 69-52. Tamika Catchings was truly inspirational during this series and finished the night with 18 points. She put up a real valiant effort at the age of 36 and will go down as one of the best and classiest players in WNBA history. She is set to retire in 2016.
However, what everyone will be talking about for now was the history made tonight and the dominance of Minnesota. Is this the makings of a dynasty a la 90's Chicago Bulls? Can anyone stop them? Stay tuned.