The Indiana Fever don’t grab the attention of the general public the way the Indianapolis Colts do. There were no wear-red days at Hoosier businesses during the WNBA playoffs.
But this lack of public fascination doesn’t diminish the fact that the basketball team came within one game of capturing a second league championship. It was an almost magical season, as the team began slowly, adjusting to the style and game plan of their rookie head coach, Stephanie White, a native Hoosier, Miss Indiana Basketball and former Purdue and Fever player.
As the team coalesced, the Fever players were playing their best basketball of the season when the playoffs began. Indiana eventually pushed the Minnesota Lynx to a fifth and deciding game in the final series.
“This was a team that was on a mission and they played like it,” said White, the first rookie coach to guide a team into the finals. “They’ve been one of the premier teams in our league for a long time, and tonight you saw a reason why.”
The heart and soul of the Fever, though, is Tamika Catchings. The 36-year-old has said she plans to play just one more season. She spurred the Fever to an upset of the Lynx in 2012, giving the organization its first championship. And she desperately wanted another one.
“One thing I told (my teammates) in the huddle, there’s nothing to hang your head about,” Catchings said. “We played, and we fought, and we did every single thing that we possibly could. Every single thing the coaches asked of us, we did. So I’m proud of this group.”
In a true testament to sportsmanship, Catchings walked into the boisterous Lynx locker room after the final game to congratulate them.
She said later: “It’s tough. It’s tough to lose at any point, especially with us being this close. But I’m not disappointed. I’m not sad. I’m not angry. We put ourselves in a great position, and at the end of the day, we didn’t play our best game. They made plays and we didn’t.”
White said of Catchings: “I’m just really proud of the way she’s approached this team. I don’t have enough positive adjectives to use. She’s a once-in-a-lifetime player.”
Catchings has played all 14 of her WNBA seasons with the Fever. We’ll have one more year to watch and appreciate her talents. She’s the kind of dedicated, unselfish player all young basketball players can look up to.
We congratulate the Fever on their excellent season. They continue to represent Indiana with talent and character.
The Indiana Fever professional basketball team often plays outside the public spotlight.
The team’s runner-up finish in the WNBA finals is a major accomplishment that reflects well on the players and their leaders.