Breaking at midway point of season, Fever regroups for hopeful second-half surge
The Indiana Fever is exactly halfway through its season; 17 games down and 17 to go.
In a normal season, this time would be the time that the team might take the weekend off for the WNBA All-Star Break. Instead, this season the WNBA has a month-long break as it sends many of its best players – representing several countries – to London to participate in the 2012 Olympics.
In a few short days, Tamika Catchings will join the U.S. Olympic Team to start her quest for her third Olympic gold medal.
As she catches her flight on Saturday, the rest of her Fever teammates will have already left to start enjoying their time off.
Katie Douglas will be heading to Florida, Erin Phillips to her home in Dallas and Jeanette Pohlen to see her family in California.
Regardless of where everyone will be, the theme for the entire team is rest and a brief moment for relaxation.
Most of these athletes play basketball year-round – combining the summer WNBA calendar with the rigors of overseas play the remaining 6 to 8 months of the year. After the WNBA season is over, they’ll head overseas again. It takes a toll on their bodies.
“Playing 11 months out of the year is a lot,” Douglas said. “This month off will give me a chance to rest and get my legs back.”
It is a physical game and midway through the season, the injuries become more common. Erin Phillips is just coming back from a concussion and almost everyone is icing something in the locker room after the game – if not bones or muscles, sometimes just egos following a deflating loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
“First and foremost during the break is rest and recuperation,” said Pohlen. “We all have some bumps and bruises, but they’re nothing that a little rest can’t cure.”
While the team may have a month break in its schedule – its next game will not be until August 16 when Indiana takes on the Washington Mystics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – the break from basketball is a mere eight days before players and coaches return to The Fieldhouse.
Everyone gets eight days off and then it is back to business as usual. The team, minus Catchings, will regroup for its first practice again on Sunday, July 22.
Head Coach Lin Dunn said her team is going to use the time to get better and improve on the little things.
“It’s a great time to work on individual skills and get better,” Dunn said. “The goal is to go into the second part of the season ready to go.”
Briann January plans on using the time to get in the weight room and get ready for the rest of the season.
“I can’t get in the weight room and really lift a lot during the season,” January said. “This is a good time to rest and get in there to really work on the things you want to work on.”
Dunn understands the importance however, of not letting her team get burnt out during the break. “We have to figure out ways to mix it up and make it fun so that we’re fresh and ready for the second round,” Dunn said.
One way the team will be doing that is with its annual Fever bowling tournament on July 25, at Pinheads in Fishers, Ind. The team will be bowling and raising money for the Be YOUnique Fund of the Pacers Foundation.
And, of course, it is guaranteed that you will find them watching and cheering as Catchings and the rest of Team USA pursues a fifth straight gold medal.