Fever looking ahead at tough June schedule

June 9, 2009 | By Ericka Sanders

Frank McGrath / PS&E Photo
The first week of June has not been kind to the Indiana Fever.

Not only have they played three games in four days to start the season, resulting in a 1-2 start (thanks to a 73-66 victory over the Seattle Storm), the rest of the month they will be battling against the Los Angeles Sparks and have to play the Detroit Shock and the New York Liberty twice. The Sparks are the early favorite to win the WNBA title; Detroit recently received its championship rings for winning it all last season; and the Liberty was one game away from the WNBA Finals last year.

Sound tough?

“Our schedule doesn’t give us any breaks,” Fever coach Lin Dunn said. “But everybody has a tough schedule, and there is nothing else. Everybody is good.”

Good is how Indiana played in the preseason, winning all three games and looking as if they were clicking on all cylinders. Even the season-opening double overtime loss to the Atlanta Dream was a hard fought effort, but against Minnesota the Fever fell apart, allowing the Lynx to shoot 63 percent from the field and losing 96-74.

“I didn’t recognize that team,” Dunn said. “I was embarrassed by our effort.”

This Fever team, however, doesn’t dwell on past games – win or loss. They’re about improving for the next game.

Fever guard Katie Douglas says the WNBA has too many good teams to look ahead. After the Minnesota loss she told her teammates that the Finals – even the Eastern Conference Finals – was looking too far ahead.

“There needs to be a sense of urgency, but we have to take it one game at a time,” she said. “We have goals for each game. We need to focus on those goals and not so much on the big prize at the end.”

All-Star Tamika Catchings agrees.

“The ultimate goal is to win a championship, but everyone has that goal,” she said. “We have the pieces to get it done, but there are too many good players to overlook any team.”

The good news is that the Fever will get a short rest in June. After playing Los Angeles on Friday, June 12, they have a week off before they face Detroit June 19 and 21, and another short rest before visiting New York on June 26.

“We’ll get to have some quality practice time, get our legs back and adjust what we need to adjust,” Dunn said. “It’s kind of an odd schedule, but in some ways it’s good. We go hard for a week and then have a break then go hard again.”