During the Lynx’s many recent postseason appearances, the WNBA has held news conferences in an anteroom across from the team locker room in a rarely used portion of Target Center.
The last time Maya Moore celebrated a grand achievement in that room was 2014, when she was named the league’s regular-season most valuable player. She was effusive that day, thrilled to add the trophy to a collection that must require its own security detail.
Wednesday night, the Lynx beat Indiana 69-52 before a franchise-record crowd of 18,933 at Target Center. For the first time the Lynx won a title at home and for the first time the Lynx won a title with Moore imitating a mortal on offense.
Moore made one of eight shots. She scored five points. She managed zero steals. She had only four rebounds. Two things stood out about her night:
She happily passed to open teammates, giving her a team-high five assists.
She even more happily passed out hugs when the Lynx won its third title in five years.
Moore walked into the anteroom after Sylvia Fowles was named the series MVP and had begun her news conference. Moore threw an arm around Fowles’ neck and kissed her on the cheek.
It is often folly to believe athletes when they say they don’t care about statistics. You tended to believe Moore on Wednesday night.
“I didn’t feel like I was struggling when I was playing,” she said. “I was just playing in the moment. Whatever the right decision at that time was, that was the decision I was trying to make.
‘‘I just didn’t hit the shots. It was so rewarding to see my teammates step up and hit shots.”
Moore is 26. She has been a multiple champion at every level of basketball. She has won a regular-season and a finals MVP award. She was the rookie of the year. You could watch a documentary detailing all of her accomplishments, or you could save time and watch every Hobbit movie ever made.
Her coaches and teammates have always cited her unselfishness. That trait was put to the test Wednesday, when she chose elation over her team’s accomplishment over frustration with one badly-timed off night.
“Maya is about winning,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Maya is one of the best people you’ll ever come around. She is a tremendous teammate. At no point did she think of her individual statistics.
“Now, she wanted to play better. But I thought that her activity on defense was very important. I thought she moved the ball when necessary.”
During their championship era, the Lynx became known for beautiful ball movement and often effortless scoring.
Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Moore made picturesque basketball plays, from prescient bounce passes to improbable spinning layups.
They won together again on Wednesday with grit, wearing down Indiana physically, holding the Fever to 36 percent shooting.
It might have been the ugliest basketball the Lynx have played in five years, and it might have been the most rewarding basketball this group has ever played, as it led to a first title won in front of the Lynx’s highly enthusiastic fans.
It also the first title won with Augustus and Whalen having reason to contemplate their career mortality.
Asked how her team took Moore out of the Lynx offense, Indiana coach Stephanie White shrugged and said, “Does anybody take Maya out of her rhythm? We did as good a job as we could.
“But that’s the great thing about the balance of their team. She didn’t have to score.”
Moore won her first title as an athlete who played off of Whalen and Augustus.
She won her second while emerging as one of the world’s great players.
She won her third without making a single two-point basket in the deciding game.
Her signature moment in the series was the shot that won Game 3.
Her teammates might remember just as fondly the way she shared the ball and the stage.