Minnesota’s combined roster had appeared in 348 playoff games as compared to Indiana’s 12 players’ 317 games. Final cumulative scoring — Minnesota 364, Indiana 350.
The Lynx’s final game victory kept intact its 2015 postseason pattern of winning the next game after a loss. The Fever, however, dropped to 5-1 in elimination games this season, but as a franchise won more postseason elimination games in WNBA history. They were 4-0 in 2012 when Indiana won the league title.
Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson tied with teammate Lindsay Whalen in most Finals appearances (six): four with Minnesota and two with Sacramento, where she played on the Monarchs’ 2005 champions. The 6-2 rebounding machine — the only Lynx player to play all 34 games and 10 playoff games — posted her 11th career postseason double-double in the deciding Game 5 (10 points, 14 rebounds).
Brunson told the MSR, “We knew it would come down to rebounding, and I know that is something I can contribute. It is something I do best and I am good at [it] to help this team get a win.”
Thrice a champion
Seimone Augustus finished her 10th season in a Lynx uniform, most of any current team player — she was the league’s overall pick by Minnesota in 2006. “I knew it would take some time to build a team,” she recalled. “We didn’t know Connecticut would trade [Lindsay] Whalen, and a dispersal draft [which brought Rebekkah Brunson] and Maya [Moore] being the number one pick [via the Whalen trade]. Things fell into place and I was able to stay and stick it out. I’m happy that I stayed.”
Augustus says this year’s title ranks with 2011, the team’s first league championship when she was named MVP. “We’ve opened people’s minds not just on women in sports, but starting to gain that trust that we need — [women’s] soccer leagues and basketball leagues to be successful,” she noted.
No one-woman band
Maya Moore’s five points in Game 5 was a playoff career low, but said afterwards, it really didn’t matter. “In the final game when I couldn’t find my shots, Seimone stepped up; she and Sylvia carried us.
“It was amazing. We know we care about each other but you can’t say it too much,”said Moore. “This is a team that really cares about each other. We want to be there for each other. It shows when we play.”
“I don’t think people paid a lot of attention [to] the stuff we had to go through,” said Minnesota forward Devereaux Peters. “It was a hard season. We had to go through a lot of stuff, a lot of injuries, a lot of changes. Just being able to fight through all of that.”
She said the team’s resiliency is often overlooked: “A lot of teams can’t do that — players turn on each other and be divided [when adversity hits]. We are so close that we can endure all of that and come out with the championship,” said the fourth year forward.
Age is but a number
Six Minnesota players are age 30 or older: Augustus, Brunson, Whalen, Asjha Jones and Sylvia Fowles. Augustus, in midst of the post-game celebration, quickly admonished a local television reporter who brought this up: “The San Antonio Spurs are old, but they are still ticking along,” she said reminding him of the NBA Spurs’ nucleus. “I don’t want to hear at media day [next year] on how old we are.”
Up next — Our WNBA 2015 season wrap-up.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.