Indiana Fever (16-18, 2-0), Atlanta Dream (17-17, 2-1)
Date: Thursday, September 26
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Site: Philips Arena (Atlanta, Ga.)
Television - ESPN2
Radio - The Fan 1070 & 107.5 FM
Webcast - Live webcast and stats can be accessed via ESPN 3.
Storylines & Promotions
• Indiana (16-18, 2-0) meets the Atlanta Dream (17-17, 2-1) in Game 1 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. It is the third straight season the Dream and Fever have met in the playoffs – Indiana winning a conference semifinals matchup last season and the Dream capturing a conference finals series in 2011.
• The Eastern Conference representative in the WNBA Finals is guaranteed to be either Atlanta or Indiana for a fifth straight season. The Fever reached the Finals in 2009 and won the WNBA crown in 2012. The Dream represented the East in 2010 and 2011.
• Indiana has reached the conference finals in three consecutive years, and six of the past nine. Indiana continues its ninth consecutive playoffs schedule, and 10th overall.
• With last Sunday’s win, Indiana is the third-winningest franchise (26 wins) in WNBA Playoffs history, winning at least one playoff game every year since 2007. The 7-year streak with at least one playoff win is the longest in league history.
• The Fever advanced to the East Finals with a pair of blowout victories over the top-seeded Chicago Sky – 85-72 and 79-57. The combined 35-point margin of victory was the fifth largest of any series in WNBA Playoffs history.
• The defending WNBA champion, Indiana is 9-2 in its last 11 playoff games – since Game 2 of last year’s East Semifinals at Philips Arena. Since that time, the Fever beat the Dream twice, knocked off the East’s top seed Connecticut (2-1), then dispatched the previous champion, Minnesota, 3-to-1 in the WNBA Finals. The 2013 playoffs opened with a 2-0 sweep of Chicago.
• A Fever win over the Dream would represent the Fever’s second straight playoff win at Philips Arena and its franchise-record fifth straight playoff win dating to last year’s Finals. It would be Indiana’s 10th win in 12 playoff games since a 103-88 playoff win at Atlanta last season.
• Tamika Catchings continue her assault on the WNBA’s list of all-time playoff statistical leaders. Entering Thursday’s game, Catchings is the all-time leader in playoff double-doubles, steals and free throws. She is second in all-time playoff rebounds and third in points.
• Tamika Catchings (343) needs 2 defensive rebounds to pass Lisa Leslie (344) with the most defensive boards in WNBA Playoffs history.
• Tamika Catchings (453) needs 10 rebounds to pass Lisa Leslie (471) as the all-time playoffs leader in rebounds.
Fever: F-Tamika Catchings, C- Erlana Larkins, G- Karima Christmas, G-Shavonte Zellous, G-Briann January
Dream: F-Angel McCoughtry, F-Le’coe Willingham, C-Erika de Souza, G-Jasmine Thomas, G-Alex Bentley
(Sept. 4): Angel McCoughtry scored 30 points and added nine rebounds to pace the Atlanta Dream to an 89-80 overtime win over the Indiana Fever. Atlanta scored four consecutive fast-break layups in overtime to lead the Dream to a nip-and-tuck win over the Fever. Tamika Catchings paced Indiana with 22 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Shavonte Zellous added 15 and Erlana Larkins contributed 10 points while tying a franchise record with 17 rebounds. Overall, the Dream outshot (42.5% to 35.5%) and outrebounded (47-40) the Fever, but nine Indiana 3-pointers helped curb the difference. Catchings, Zellous, Christmas and Erin Phillips – who started in place of January – each had a pair.
Fever vs Sky (Sept. 22): Tamika Catchings had 18 points and 12 rebounds and the Indiana Fever advanced to the WNBA's Eastern Conference finals by completing a best-of-three series sweep of the Chicago Sky with a 79-57 victory. Erlana Larkins added 14 points and Shavonte Zellous scored 10. Indiana took advantage of Chicago's poor shooting to defeat the Sky for the fifth consecutive time. The Sky missed their first six shots from the field but took an early 6-3 lead by hitting 6-of-6 free throws. But Catchings scored six consecutive points for the Fever to give Indiana a lead it would never relinquish. Sylvia Fowles led the Sky with 14 points. Epiphanny Prince scored 10 points, and Elena Delle Donne, the WNBA rookie of the year, added 10 points but was scoreless in the second half.
Dream vs Mystics (Sept. 23): Erika de Souza scored 10 of her 18 points during a decisive fourth quarter and the Atlanta Dream eliminated the Washington Mystics with an 80-72 win in the decisive game of their WNBA first-round series. Angel McCoughtry struggled again from the field, hitting just four of 19 shots, but the WNBA's leading scorer found other ways to help her team win, handing out five of her seven assists in the fourth quarter. The Dream trailed 57-55 after three quarters, but a 15-2 run early in the fourth quarter put Atlanta in position to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Tiffany Hayes had 18 points and Armintie Herrington added 14 points for the Dream, while Monique Currie led the Mystics with 22 points.
Atlanta leads the regular season series with Indiana, 13-12, following an overtime win on Sept. 4. Atlanta won three of four meetings in 2013, while Indiana had three wins in five meetings last season. The clubs are deadlocked at 3-3 in two playoffs series – Indiana winning 2 of 3 in 2012, the Dream taking 2 of 3 in 2011.