Column: Fever championship due to entire team

The Tribune

The Indiana Fever made it their mission to get Tamika Catchings a WNBA championship.

Catchings, star of the Indiana Fever basketball team, had won three Olympic gold medals to go along with an NCAA championship at Tennessee in 1998.

As a pro, she had been a league MVP and its best defensive player. But she never had won a team title in the WNBA.

She scored 25 points to help the Indiana Fever win their first WNBA title with an 87-78 victory against the Minnesota Lynx on Oct. 21. It was Indianapolis’ first professional basketball title since the ABA Indiana Pacers won their last one in 1973.

“Everybody talks about the missing piece in Tamika Catchings’ career, and our players took that personally,” Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. “I really believe that was an incentive.”

Catchings took home the title with Pat Summitt, her coach at Tennessee, in the stands. The two shared a long hug after the victory. Catchings shed a lot of tears in the post-game celebration.

“When you come into this league, your goal and dream is to win a WNBA championship,” Catchings said. “Twelve years later, it’s so sweet right now.”

The Fever won the game in almost classic Hoosier Hysteria fashion. While Catchings was impressive, Erin Phillips and Erlana Larkins played the best basketball of their careers in the WNBA Finals.

The Fever won even though No. 2 scorer Katie Douglas missed most of the series with a severely sprained left ankle.

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