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Rescue Warriors: Teammates step up in Moore's 'absence' in Game 5

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After averaging more than 20 points per game in the first four games of the WNBA Finals, Lynx forward Maya Moore was held to just five points in Game 5. But it was the rest of the team that stepped up to give the Lynx their third WNBA title in five years.

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Minneapolis, MN -- Lynx forward Maya Moore has been an integral piece to the team's success throughout the WNBA finals. There is no doubt about it.

Moore averaged 22.5 points per game through the first four games of the final series, and hit a game winning 3-point shot in game three.

Yet in game five, Moore was held to just five points. But it didn't matter. The Lynx still defeated the Indiana Fever 69-52, winning their third WNBA Championship in five years.

"What a testament to this team," said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. "I think Game 5 tells our story. First and foremost, we didn't do anything easy. This was not an easy year for us by any stretch. [It was] just finding a way and having people step up for us."

Reeve said Wednesday that if she had seen Moore with only five points in the final box score before the game, she would have thought that the Lynx lost by 20 points.

But Moore didn't see it that way.

"I didn't feel like I was struggling when I was playing," Moore said. "I was just playing in the moment, whatever the right decision called for at the time, I was just trying to make. [I] didn't hit the shots that I took, but [I was] just still trying to be involved and active in my team's success."

Reeve said she felt the same way, saying that she saw Moore stepping up in other areas of her game.

"Maya is about winning," Reeve said. "If you know Maya, Maya is one of the best people you ever come around. She's a tremendous teammate...Obviously she wanted to play better, but I thought that her activity on defense was really important."

The Lynx had several players step up in Maya's ‘absence'. Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and simply dominated inside the paint.

Forward Rebekkah Brunson also had a double-double Wednesday with 10 points and 14 rebounds, and guard Seimone Augustus added 16 points to the mix.

"It was so rewarding to watch my teammates step up and hit shots," Moore said. "Seimone was unbelievable, she was vintage Seimone. She was like a video game out there the way she was just attacking. Sylvia was just so clutch for us, the heart and soul of those big moments where if we needed something we know we could count on [Fowles]. And Brunson just playing her heart out, getting loose balls, running around.

"Bench players [were really] stepping up and making big plays."

And while the Fever did succeeded in shutting down Moore, there wasn't much else they could do to slow the rest of the Lynx. This, Fever coach Stephanie White said, is what a championship team is all about.

"You know, that's the great thing about a balanced team," White said. "You have a great player, and when they need her to rise, she does. Tonight, she didn't have to because contributions were coming from other players. That's what it's about at championship time."