the indiana fever defeated the minnesota lynx 87-78 to win their first wnba championship title before a raucous sellout home crowd in indianapolis, indiana. the fever won the best of five series three games to one in a brilliant display of team defense, offensive rebounding & clutch shooting. the defending champion lynx sought to become the first team to repeat since los angeles in 2001 & 2002.
first-team all-star forward tamika catchings led four fever women who scored in double figures. catchings was named most valuable player of the finals, averaging almost 25 points per game. the 2011 wnba mvp & 2012 wnba defensive player of the year added the one caveat missing from her illustrious basketball resume. "when you come into this league, your goal & dream is to win a wnba championship...twelve years later, it's so sweet right now," said catchings.
catchings had won three olympic gold medals & an ncaa championship at tennessee in 1988, but never a wnba crown. her fever team lost to the phoenix mercury in 2009, despite being up two games to one. this time, she had her father in the crowd cheering her on - along with legendary volunteers coach pat summit. fever no. 2 scorer katie douglas missed most of the series with a severely sprained knee, but with 3.2 seconds left in the game, she checked in to a loud ovation.
indiana held minnesota below 40 percent field goal shooting in all three of their wins. lynx all-star point guard lindsey whalen said, "they played tough defense. they contested shots & they made it tough for us to get in the lane a little bit. i think that was the theme of the whole series. they were just tough & give them credit for the way they played."
seimone augustus, minnesota's all-star guard & leading scorer in the playoffs, was held to eight points on just 3-of-21 shooting from the floor sunday. augustus shot 6-for-30 in the last two games of the series after the fever switched guard briann january over to guard her. catchings said january, who was on the wnba first team all-defense squad, did her job. "she set the tone...all her (augustus') baskets were hard...she used up all her energy in the first quarter," said catchings.
whalen scored 22 points & dished out eight assists. ironically, the lynx were 25-0 this year when whalen had seven or more assists in a game. lynx all-star forward maya moore - 2011 wnba rookie-of-the-year - finished with 16 points. said the lynx's fiery coach cheryl reeve, "it was hard being the hunted, as we all know. there's a reason this hasn't been done in over ten years. i really felt like if there was a team that could do it, it was our team."
fever guard erin phillips scored 18 points, while teammates shavonte zellous & january had 15 points each. said zellous, "coming into halftime, we said we have 20 minutes & we're not going back to minnesota to close this thing out." phillips said, "they made some huge runs at us & gave it everything at us & i'm just relieved more than anything because we deserve this. we've been through so much as a team, we've lost in crucial times & we've stuck together. i'm just so proud right now."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.