Whitmore, Fever Prepares To Host Eastern Conference Rivals
Indiana is off to its best start in franchise history, currently 11-5 with the 2006 All-Star break just around the corner. The Fever has enjoyed its early success this season thanks in large part to a number of key offseason acquisitions now surrounding star forward Tamika Catchings. Namely the club’s other Tamika, Tamika Whitmore.
Whitmore was signed as a free agent in March after previous stints in New York and Los Angeles. Whitmore is enjoying her best season in the WNBA, averaging career highs in points (16.2), rebounds (4.6), assists (2.0) and steals (1.63) thus far in her first season with the Fever.
Since Catchings put on a Fever uniform in 2001, no other Indiana player has led the team in scoring average, until now. Whitmore averages a career-best 16.2 points - ninth in the WNBA. Catchings averages 16.1 points - 10th in the WNBA. Whitmore’s previous high for a season was in 2002 when she averaged 12.7 ppg.
Whitmore has scored 19 or more points in seven games this season, including a career-high 29 points against Charlotte, June 18. She has led the Fever in scoring in five out of its past six games, and seven times overall.
Indiana is coming off a three-game road trip having picked up a pair of wins over Phoenix, June 23, and Washington, June 27. The Fever has won six out of its past eight games, and is currently 8-2 versus Eastern Conference opponents.
Unbeaten at home (6-0), Indiana continues its stretch of six games in 11 days by hosting a pair of crucial Eastern Conference matchups with Detroit (June 29, 7 p.m.) and Connecticut (July 1, 7 p.m.) at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Connecticut (11-4), the same team Indiana faced in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, is atop the East standings and is winners of four out of its past five games. Detroit (10-4) is the league’s hottest team, currently riding a six-game winning steak. Both Indiana and Detroit find themselves just a half game behind the Sun in the WNBA's Eastern Conference as the season’s mid-point approaches.
The next three days will see the Eastern Conference’s top three teams go head-to-head, with Detroit playing at Indiana on Thursday before playing at Connecticut on Friday in the second of a back-to-back. Indiana then hosts Connecticut Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Fever has entered an important stretch of the season as the top teams in both conferences begin jockeying for its playoff position. Indiana helped its cause on Tuesday, knocking off the Mystics in Washington. With the win, the Fever has guaranteed itself ownership of a potential tie-breaker, having won two consecutive games over Washington with just one game left in the season series. The Fever also handed Washington its first home loss of the season Tuesday night.
Following home games Thursday and Saturday, Indiana has four days off before traveling to Los Angeles (July 7) and Seattle (July 9), then breaking for the All-Star Game (at New York, July 12). The Fever opens its post-All Star schedule at Charlotte (July 15), before opening a five-game homestand on July 16.