MINNEAPOLIS -- With a suffocating defense and a yearning to celebrate in front of its loyal fans, the Minnesota Lynx turned a tense WNBA Finals into a runaway.
Sylvia Fowles had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Lynx captured its third championship in five years with a 69-52 victory over the Indiana Fever in Game 5 last night.
Seimone Augustus added 16 points and Rebekkah Brunson grabbed 14 rebounds for the Lynx, who also won it all in 2011 and 2013. Maya Moore scored just five points on 1-for-8 shooting, but the Lynx defense forced 19 turnovers and held Indiana to 35.7 percent shooting in the league's first Game 5 since 2009.
"This never gets old," Champagne-soaked Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Tamika Catchings had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Fever, which was looking for its second championship.
Finally, the Lynx got to celebrate on its home court.
Minnesota won its first two titles on the road in Atlanta, forcing the success-starved Twin Cities sports fans to revel from afar. When the final buzzer sounded, a franchise-record 18,933 fans waved white towels while singer Prince watched from a suite above Target Center's lower bowl.
And celebrate they did.
Augustus shed tears of joy after a throwback performance. Owner Glen Taylor hugged Reeve, and Moore leaped on to the scorer's table and pumped her fists toward the crowd.
"We kept grinding and working despite everything that we've been through," Augustus said.
It was a stunning collapse for the previously unflappable Fever, who had staved off elimination five straight times in these playoffs leading into Game 5.
January and Catchings helped turn Indiana into a tough, confident bunch that erased an 18-point deficit to beat the Liberty in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, but finally ran into a wall it couldn't break through at the boisterous Target Center.
In the second and third quarters, the Fever scored 12 points total and turned the ball over 17 times.
Star guard Briann January scored six points in the first quarter for Indiana, but didn't get her next bucket until six minutes were gone in the third. She finished with 13 points on 6-for-15 shooting.
"They just outplayed us in every single way," Fever coach Stephanie White said. "They looked like a team that was on a mission and they played like it."