Team Liberty (168301)
Credit: Bill Moore photo

The 2015 WNBA championship was decided Wednesday night with a fifth and final game. At press time, the series was tied at two games apiece, as the Minnesota Lynx and Indiana Fever have both shown brilliance and frustration. Game four, which was won by the Fever, was the only game where one team held more than a 10-point lead, but even that was eroded by the final buzzer as the Lynx made improbable shot after shot to draw close to a tie.

“That’s just the heart and soul of this organization,” said Fever guard-forward Marissa Coleman about how the team evened the series in game four. “That’s the standards that are set here. We had a lot of confidence coming into this game knowing that we’ve had our backs against the wall this entire playoffs. We’ve responded well and have been able to come away with wins.”

Every time the Fever faced elimination during the playoffs—against the Chicago Sky in round one and the New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference finals—the team has elevated its games and come out victorious. With the end of Tamika Catchings’ WNBA career in sight—Catchings announced she would retire after the 2016 WNBA season—the Fever incorporated her sense of urgency.

“Tamika Catchings has a heart of a champion, and Tamika Catchings refuses to lose,” said the Fever’s first-year head coach, Stephanie White. “This team really took on that identity. Every single player on this team improved dramatically during the season and the playoffs.”

Cathings has been characteristically modest, but she did say she helped instill a championship mentality in her teammates, particularly the ones who were new to the team and faced the pressures of WNBA championship play.

Frustrated throughout game four, the two-time WNBA championship-winning Lynx were intent to close the deal in game five, which was played on home court.

“It’s absolutely been a great series,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “You saw passion on display. You saw great athleticism and teamwork and all that good stuff. It was only fitting that we went to five games.”

The New York Liberty’s 2015 season had a final positive note as Tina Charles and Epiphanny Prince both received postseason honors. Charles was named All-WNBA First Team and Prince was named All-WNBA Second Team.