Catchings Re-signed Through 2007
INDIANAPOLIS – All-Star forward and Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings has been signed to a contract extension through the 2007 season, it has been announced by Indiana Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. Catchings, the WNBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and a top candidate for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors again in 2006, will remain at the league’s maximum salary.
The length of Catchings’ contract coincides with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2007 season. Per team policy, terms of the contract are not disclosed.
“Signing Tamika to an extension has been a top priority for me and this franchise,” said Krauskopf. “She is truly a franchise player who represents this organization, both on and off the court, in a first-class manner. Her hard work and determination inspires those around her. I look forward to the years to come."
Drafted out of the University of Tennessee in 2001, Catchings has been the face of the Fever franchise since her arrival in Indianapolis – despite missing the 2001 campaign due to injury. She was named the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2002, and in each of the past three seasons has finished among the top three vote-getters for the league’s MVP award. She won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 as a starter with the U.S. Olympic Team, and last year was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Catchings led the WNBA in steals in 2005, and this season is on pace to duplicate the feat. She currently averages 15.7 points per game (11th in WNBA), 9.4 rebounds (5th), 1.57 assists (7th), 2.38 steals (1st), and a career-high pace with 1.38 blocks (6th). She is the only player to rank among WNBA Top 12 leaders in all five categories.
“I am excited to come back and have another great year,” said Catchings, the leading vote-getter in the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game. “We should have pretty much the same team next year, and I expect everybody to come together and win again. I pretty much have made Indy my home. All of the programs I’ve established in my Foundation are based here. Indy has been like home since I got here, and all the people have really treated me like family.”
Catchings has been as important to the Fever franchise off the court, as she has been on it. In addition to her Catch the Stars Foundation, Inc., which is dedicated to assisting disadvantaged youth, she has become a fixture in the Indianapolis community as a volunteer, mentor, role model and leader. Invited to the 2004 State of the Union Address by President George W. Bush as a female athlete who exhibited outstanding citizenship and character, she joined Donovan McNabb and John Smoltz as finalists for the 2005 Wooden Citizenship Cup – an annual award presented to the nation’s top professional citizen-athlete. She has received the WNBA’s Community Assist Award on five occasions.
In another signing, Krauskopf has inked a seven-day contract with 3-point shooting specialist Lenae Williams. Williams, a 5-11 guard out of DePaul, was waived late in the Fever’s training camp in May.
The Fever continues a five-game homestand with the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, July 22 (7:00 p.m.). Individual tickets for all Fever home games can be purchased at the Conseco Fieldhouse Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, the Internet (www.Ticketmaster.com or www.ConsecoFieldhouse.com) or by phone at (877) WNBA-TIX. For season or group ticket information, call (317) 917-2500.