Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota Lynx frustrated with Game 4 loss

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cheryl Reeve's jacket doesn't have its own Twitter account, but it probably should. While Sunday night's exhibition might not have reached the standard of Sean Rodriguez and the Gatorade cooler -- and fell short of Game 2 of the 2012 WNBA Finals when Reeve threw her suit coat so hard after a technical foul that she later had to have her right shoulder evaluated -- this one wasn't too shabby.

The frustrated Minnesota Lynx coach, whose team attempted just nine free throws to 29 by the victorious Indiana Fever, and who saw her star center Sylvia Fowles handcuffed by fouls and attempt just two shots on the night, ripped off and flung her jacket Sunday in the third quarter of the Lynx's eventual 75-69 loss in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Rewarded in the end, however, are WNBA fans who get to see the first Finals Game 5 since 2009 and only the fourth since the championship round was expanded to a best-of-five format in 2005. And even Reeve could appreciate that.

"Why not go to a Game 5? It's been that good of a series," the coach said of a championship series that will conclude in Minneapolis on Wednesday (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET). "It's good to have eyes on our product right now because there are a lot of great things to watch and a lot of great people putting it all out there."

Except that on Sunday, Fowles was one of them for only 4 minutes, 12 seconds of the first half after being called for her third foul early in the second quarter. Fowles, who played just 18 minutes, picked up her fourth midway through the third quarter and her fifth foul midway through the fourth, limiting her effectiveness.

"I'll state the obvious," Reeve said when asked about Fowles. "Sylvia being in foul trouble affected our ability to defend the paint."

The Fever broke open the game in that jacket-throwing third quarter with a 22-6 run that led to a 14-point lead, establishing momentum that would sustain them during a rocky fourth.

The Lynx clamped down in the final quarter, holding the Fever to 1-of-7 shooting. But a necessary barrage of Minnesota fouls down the stretch resulted in 15-of-18 foul shooting by Indiana, which held off a late Lynx flurry and 15 combined points by Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen that closed the gap to four with 16 seconds left in regulation.

In the end, it simply wasn't enough.

"The game was busted open with that 14-point deficit and we didn't have enough to recover from that run," said Moore, who followed her Game 3 heroics -- when she sank the game-winning shot -- with 20 points, eight rebounds in 40 minutes, her ninth consecutive game with double-figure points in this postseason. "That ended up being the difference in the game."

Fowles attempted zero shots in the first half with only one rebound, and had two points apiece in the third and fourth quarters. She revealed only a bit of frustration over the officiating when questioned whether she asked herself "Why did I do that?" after her fourth foul on a drive by Briann January.

"I wasn't thinking, 'Why did I do that?' because I stopped on purpose not to foul," she said. "But you can't put it in the referee's hands. You have to be smarter than that.

"It's definitely a learning experience. I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm going to go watch film and see how to help my teammates out better and get some good looks and how can I play defense."

If nothing else, Fowles was in good company these Finals as Fever star Tamika Catching was in foul trouble for much of Game 2 and Moore in Game 3.

"I feel like every game, both teams has been without a star player," Minnesota guard Renee Montgomery said. "It's kind of been a theme of this series."

The Lynx can only hope now to continue a theme of the decade as they attempt to win their third title in five seasons.

"We didn't want to have a Game 5," Montgomery said, "but Game 5 is great for women's basketball and I'm just glad we have it on our home court."

Added Reeve: "This is the epitome. You're seeing passion on display. You're seeing great athleticism and teamwork and all that good stuff. It's only fitting that we go to five games."

"You're seeing passion on display. You're seeing great athleticism and teamwork and all that good stuff. It's only fitting that we go to five games." Coach Cheryl Reeve on how well the WNBA Finals have been played

Asked if a Game 5 was neat, Moore stifled a grin.

"I don't know if 'neat' is how we feel but ... this series has been a fun one to watch," she said. "[There] are a lot of great things happening. ... [But] sometimes you can have all the schemes and sets in the world, [and] it comes down to players making plays. You've seen a lot of that in this series.

"One more game to see which players do that more."