Overcoming The Odds, Fever Win 2012 WNBA ChampionshipOctober 22, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- In a WNBA Finals that could be categorized from anywhere between woulda coulda shoulda to what the heck, the Indiana Fever prevailed over the Minnesota Lynx, 87-78, in front of a sold out Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd to take the 2012 WNBA championship three games to one.
The Fever’s Tamika Catchings led all scorers with 25 points with three other teammates, Erin Phillips, Briann January and Shavonte Zellous, scoring in double figures as well. Erlana Larkins, who was out of the league the past two seasons, once again came up big in the paint in the series, grabbing 13 rebounds.
For a team that was the underdog the entire championship series, not a bad night’s work. Lose All-Star Katie Douglas to an ankle sprain? No problem. Just give the ball to Erin Phillips. Phillips only had 18 points and eight rebounds. Regular sub Jeanette Pohlen tears her left acl in Game Two? Let’s go with Karima Christmas, who had a dozen DNP-Coach's Decision to her line since being traded to Indiana July 2. Christmas came up with seven points and five rebounds in 14:29 worth of work.
Let’s not forget January and Zellous were questionable at the end of the regular season after suffering concussions at, of all places, Minnesota.
For the Lynx, it was clearly a search for answers. 2011 Championship MVP and 2012 Olympian Seimone Augustus was held to eight points on three for 21 shooting. The bright spot for the defending champs was Lindsay Whalen, who led her team with 22 points. In fact, Minnesota outshot Indiana 42.7% to 37.3%; but rebounding was nearly even, with Indiana having only a 39-35 advantage.
Sunday’s Game Four was a climax of four days of extraordinary social media chatter and old fashioned trash talking taking place everywhere from the keyboards of experts on various message boards to the mouths of the coaches themselves. Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve commented she did not “Give a hoot what Lin Dunn thought of her” and stated “the pressure was on Indiana” and had her words immediately broadcasted on Twitter and other outlets.
Both the respective teams’s media representatives and fans alike fueled the fire with retweets and editorial comments of their own.
Reeve carried over her Game Two belligerence into Sunday’s game, taunting the crowd after the Fever fans started calling for a technical on the coach early in the game. The partisan home team fans got their wish at the 57-second mark in the fourth quarter when the officials had enough of Reeve’s antics and issued the technical.
The Lynx sealed their fate after a foul called on Rebekkah Brunson created a meltdown in performance they could not overcome. Augustus lost the ball out of bounds after dribbling it off her leg; Whalen passed the ball to the lower arena seats and then missed an easy layup.
Indiana head coach Lin Dunn sent the already giddy crowd into a frenzy when she inserted Douglas into the game at the three second mark. Douglas then waited for the clock to wind down and then exploded into a group celebration with her teammates.
Zellous best summed up the feelings of the series in the locker-room following the game:
“We’ve fought through adversity all season long. Even in the playoffs, we dealt with injury after injury, but through it all we stuck together and now we’re WNBA Champions. We’re just happy and grateful. We worked all summer for this time.”
n As it was noted on several message boards, this was the first time a team won the WNBA championship without a Connecticut grad on the roster.
n Indiana finished the season with a 22-12 record and Minnesota finished 27-7
n Fever fans will have the opportunity to celebrate with Fever Tuesday, October 23 at noon in downtown Indianapolis. A parade will start at Monument Circle and finish in front of Bankers Life Fieldhouse
n Tamika Catchings Day is scheduled for October 27
n And, for what it’s worth, Tamika Catchings finally got her championship ring.