Lin Dunn Q&A part 2

October 22
Part 1

After three straight seasons with matching 21-13 records, the Indiana Fever took a new head coach and seven new players into its 2008 season. Indiana qualified for its fourth consecutive playoff berth, but its 17-17 record and fourth-place Eastern Conference finish fell below its preseason expectations.

Were those expectations too high? What were the effects of new coach Lin Dunn? And what was the impact of a blockbuster trade bringing Indianapolis native Katie Douglas into the Fever lineup?

Dunn, herself, answers those questions and more in a two-part Q&A that looks back on the í08 season, and ahead to the Feverís 10th season in 2009. Part II is below. I think most peopleís view would be that Ebony Hoffman was the Feverís most consistent and perhaps most valuable player last season. Is there another player whose play really stood out above the rest? And why?
Lin Dunn: Overall from start to finish Ebony had the most consistent season, no doubt. I do think Katie Douglas really helped us early when she first joined our team and she and Tan helped us win some early games, before Catch could play, over L.A. and Connecticut. I also thought Tammy Sutton-Brown improved her play and expanded her game and got more physical. Khadijah Whittington made great progress in her rookie year and Catchings was playing some of her best basketball ever by the end of the season. She had such a tough journey trying to come back from the Achilles'. I was amazed at her work ethic and relentless attitude to return.

FB: What do you anticipate with regard to the future of Tully Bevilaqua?
LD: We know Tully is nearing the end of her WNBA career and we will be having serious talks with her about her plans. When we know something definite we will let all the Fever fans, and Tully fans, know.

FB: What are plans for a backup point guard? Or the addition of any new perimeter players?
LD: We will continue to evaluate our point guard position as well as our other perimeter players. No decisions in that area have been made.

FB: Who are Indianaís key free agents that need to be re-signed?
LD: You will have to ask Kelly (Krauskopf) that question. I really haven't studied the free agent list that closely. But, I believe most of our key players are currently under contract;

FB: Any thoughts on the Katie Douglas trade?
LD: Anytime you can secure a player of Katie's caliber, you have to do it. She is a key part of our offensive plan to use the two-man game as a key offensive weapon. Due to injuries and the Olympic break, etc., Katie was asked to play three positions for us her first season without a training camp, in a new system with new teammates and new coaches. She did a great job! I'm looking forward to her second season and her playing only her position--the two guard spot. The other plus from the trade was the growth and development of Ebony Hoffman. It was extraordinary and would never have happened had we not made the trade.

FB: Did it hurt Indiana not having a first-round draft pick in the 2008 draft?
LD: You always look back and see who got drafted at the spot you traded away and then you look back a few years down the road and see how they developed. Itís hard to say now, Connecticut drafted Ketia Swanier in that spot. Could she have beaten out Bond, Baker or Lewis, had we taken her? There are lots of unknowns.

FB: What will be the status of reserves such as LaToya Bond, Sherill Baker, Bernadette Ngoyisa and Kristen Mann?
LD: All of the reserves will be carefully evaluated by our staff. As I said earlier, there will not be a lot of changes as we had after 2007. Will there be some? Yes, there always are.

FB: Kristen Mann seemed to play well with greater minutes during the playoffs. Why didnít she see more time prior to that?
LD: Kristen helped us down the stretch even before the playoffs; we brought her in and asked her to learn two positions, the small forward and the power forward. That's not easy on the fly. As she got more confident we started using her in both spots.

FB: Ngoyisa seemed to make a big splash in her first game against the Sparks, then seemed to fade. What does she need to do to improve? How much of her obstacles are related to her communication barrier?
LD: Bernie definitely helped us in our first L.A. game. She does have communication obstacles that affect her on both the offensive and defensive end. We love her size and physicalness and will carefully evaluate her future.

FB: Baker had a bit of a mysterious wrist injury during the last half of the season. She was a very efficient player when she was active, but what can you anticipate with regard to her future?
LD: It really hurt us to lose Baker halfway through the season. She was a key defensive specialist for us off the bench. She was backing up the one and two spot and she was leading our team in free throw attempts. We missed her energy, effort, defense and penetrating ability. We still don't know exactly what her future holds, as she is still recovering from a deep bone bruise that just doesn't seem to want to heal. Itís wait-and-see with her.