Tamika Catchings scored a game high 25 points, Erin Phillips added 18 points, Briann January & Shavonte Zellous dropped in 15 points each as the Indiana Fever captured their first WNBA Championship. Catchings earned the Finals MVP award after averaging 24.8 points in the best-of-five series. “This definitely is a dream come true.” Catchings said during her press conference.
For the defending champion Minnesota Lynx, it was an offensive struggle for the second straight game. Lindsey Whalen scored a team-high 22 points and second year forward Maya Moore had 16 points. After a six point performance in game 3, Minnesota all-star guard Seimone Augustus, last year’s finals MVP, scored only 8 points Minnesota’s win-or-go-home game.
Indiana Fever look to close out series at home; Lynx try to force a game 5 in Minnesota
The Indiana Fever are one win away from their first WNBA Championship but it won’t be easy to close out the defending champion Lynx who this season were 11-6 away from the Target Center and are playing with their backs against the wall. “I don’t like being in [this] situation. Lynx guard Seimone Augustus said. “I’d rather be up right now in the series instead of being down one game to two.” she continued. “But we’re going to play it out, give it everything we have and try to bring it back to Minnesota.”
“It’s a little bit of pressure both ways.” Minnesota Coach Cheryl Green said when asked if Indiana might have more pressure entering game 4. “Of course, we’ve got the obvious pressure: if we don’t play these next 40 minutes as best we can, our season is over.” she continued. “And for them, being in this situation in 2009 and being in a similar situation now, to have to relive that would be disappointing for them.”
Minnesota look to bounce back from an un-Lynx like performance in game 3, while the Fever want to continue their aggressive play. “We have to come out and continue to be in attack mode. noted Fever Forward Erlana Larkins. “We have to rebound most importantly and then, secondly, continue to take care of the ball.”
“I think that, for us, it’s going to be a 40 minute game.” added Fever Forward Tamika Catchings. “We’re going to have to come out and play Fever basketball for 40 minutes.” she continued. “I know that we kind of let-up down the stretch in that fourth quarter, but we can’t afford to do that. We talked about that as a team, just not getting content with where we’re at. We’re 40 minutes away [from a WNBA Championship], so we have to come out and stay focused and stay ready.”
Game 4 is Sunday, October 21 at 8pm on ESPN2.
A ‘Zellous’ Performance – Fever Crush Lynx 76-59, Lead Series 2-1
There was another outburst on Friday night, but this time, it was by the Indiana Fever team. The Fever took early control of game 3 and never looked back. Their lead of 70-33 with 1:58 left in the third quarter was the largest lead by any team in WNBA Finals history.
Shavonte Zellous scored a career-high 30 points and Tamika Catchings dropped in 17 points and Erlana Larkins added 10 points and 15 rebounds as the Fever took a 2-1 series lead and can win their first WNBA title.
”You know, I was fired up for this game,” Zellous said. ”That Game 2 left a bad taste in our mouth. You know, we could have done a better job in a lot of different things, and I think today, we made a conscious effort to do things better.”
Indiana’s offensive eruption did not overshadow their dominant defensive performance. The Fever held Minnesota’s game 2 heroes Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore to single digit scoring, 6 and 8 points respectively. The only Lynx to score in double digits? Rebekka Brunson with 12.
”I think Indiana played the way Indiana always plays,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ”They defend. You defend, you have a chance to win a championship. That’s it.”
And that’s exactly what the Fever will be looking to do. Game 4 is Sunday night as they again play host to the defending champs.
Augustus, Moore Have Huge Second Half as Lynx Tie Series
Game Recap: We have a tied up series! The Lynx evened up the WNBA Finals with a 83-71 victory on Wednesday over the Fever. Catch all the postgame interviews, highlights and analysis at LynxBasketball.com!
Fever Shock Lynx, Take Game 1, 76-70
Erlana Larkins scored 16 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, one shy of a WNBA record for rebounds in a finals games and Tamika Catchings (pictured above) tallied 20 points and six rebounds as the visiting Fever stun the Lynx at the Target Center.
Showing true grit and determination, Indiana went into Minnesota and stole game 1 from the defending champs.
Fever Players Postgame ~ Tamika Catchings and Erin Phillips talks with the media following the Fever’s Game 1 win in the WNBA Finals.
Fever to face Defending Champion Lynx
Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun Recap
Catchings lead Fever into Target Center for Finals Showdown
Last season, her 10th in the WNBA, Tamika Catchings finally won an MVP Trophy. This season, the seven-time all-star, five-time WNBA Defensive Player and five-time Olympic gold medalist and her teammates look to add the one thing that eluded them two seasons ago, a WNBA Championship. “For all of us, it’s that one thing you come in[to the league] and aspire to and dream about – being a champion on every single level that you play in.” Catchings said when asked about winning a championship. “We have an opportunity; we had one in 2009 and we weren’t able to follow through with it. Now we have another opportunity. For us, it’s just a matter of coming out and being the best that we can be.”
In a very exciting 2009 WNBA Finals, the Fever faced an uptempo Mercury team that featured Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi. The dynamic duo combined for 50 points in the fifth and deciding game 5 in Phoenix. “We look back on that series and we know that we just missed open shots.” Fever coach Lin Dunn recalls. “We had every opportunity to win a title in ’09, but you have to knock down your open shots. We didn’t take care of business at home; we just missed too many shots. That really ended up costing us a championship.” she added. “This year, some different faces, but we also have the leadership of the players that have been there. We’re excited about being in the Finals.”
In this trip to the finals the Fever will face the defending champion Minnesota Lynx, a team that features three 2012 Olympians in Seimone Augusuts, Maya Moore and Lindsey Whalen. A very strong post presence in Rebekkah Brunson and a solid bench with the likes of sharp-shooters Candice Wiggins and Monica Wright and an outstanding rookie in defensive/rebounding minded Devereaux Peters. And lets not forget about the intangibles of savvy veteran Taj McWillimams-Franklin.
“They’re the reigning champions and such a great team with so much talent, but I think we’re kind of similar in our styles.” Fever center Tammy Sutton-Brown said. Sutton-Brown who scored 22 points as a starter for the Fever in game 5 of the 2009 WNBA Finals, now anchors a solid Indiana bench. “We have talent at every position. It’s going to be a fun series and it’s going to be a great battle.”
Minnesota Lynx vs Los Angeles Sparks – Game 2 Recap