January Savors Title and Resumes Her Role as Fever Floor Leader

May 29, 2013

January Savors Title and Resumes Her Role as Fever Floor Leader

Briann January has been an integral part of the Indiana Fever’s WNBA Finals appearances both in 2009 and 2012. As a rookie in ’09, she was a double-figure scorer in the playoffs as Indiana nearly won its first title. Three years later she had assumed her role as the club’s starting point guard and succeeded in capturing the league’s elusive crown, again averaging double-figure scoring throughout the playoffs.

A former first-round draft pick out of Arizona State, she has battled injury and expectations during her short four-year career in Indiana. But throughout her stay, she has exhibited a leadership presence and exceptional resilience and athleticism while taking a firm grasp of Lin Dunn’s offensive and defensive systems. Before the Fever hosts its 2013 home opener, she spent time with FeverBasketball.com’s Ethan Armour.

FeverBasketball.com: Coming into the 2013 season, do you feel as if this is your team now?

Briann January: “Yeah, this is kind of the first year that I have come in injury free. I know Lin’s system, I know what she expects from me and I know what kind of personnel we have on the team. I came in the year I tore my ACL (2011) and I had the same feeling and was ready to take this team over and be the point guard for this team. Now it’s nice to be here, injury free, strong and ready to take on the season.”

FB: How has the game changed since you have been in the WNBA? Has it slowed down? Is it easier?

BJ: “Yeah, you know with an understanding of the game, the pace, the personnel and just becoming accustomed to the speed and physicality of the game. I have become more comfortable with it and that makes the game easier for me.”

FB: Talking about Coach Dunn, have you adapted to her coaching style?

BJ: “Most definitely. She is a lot different than my college coach. Over the years, it definitely took me some time to adjust but our relationship has developed every year. Now I know what she expects and that makes it easier to perform and be a player under her and to relay her message better.”

FB: What is it like to play with Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas?

BJ: “It makes my job a whole lot easier playing with those two. I can just get them the ball and I trust them. They are two of the best leaders in the league and they are all you can ask for in a veteran on a team. They work hard every day, they are positive, and they set the tone for everybody else to follow. They are just great teammates to have.”

FB: To reflect on winning the title last year, when did it hit you that you had won the championship?

BJ: “I think it’s going to hit me Friday when we get the rings. We had the season ticket holder get-together the other day and recapping the whole year just kind of gave me goose bumps all over again … it was awesome. I was able to go to the Final Four and just to have people recognize me and have people come up to me and offer congratulations … I thought to myself, ‘yeah, that’s what we did!’ It was a good feeling but we have to leave that behind and we are going to try and get another one this year. We know what it takes, so we are going to try and do it.”

FB: What were you feeling last week during the parade?

BJ: “We finally got our parade and it didn’t get rained out – that was my initial thought! It was awesome just to see all of the Fever fans in the crowd with their shirts, flags and hats. All of the people showing their support and cheering when they announced us. Everybody just accepts us and that’s the great thing about Indianapolis. We just have the best fan base and the best support from our city. It was nice to be out there and be recognized for what we did.”

FB: Was there a signature moment last year when you won title that you realized that you were the champion … one specific moment?

BJ: “Oh boy, I don’t know… it hasn’t sunk in yet. When we won I stood there for a second and I was like wait, we won the game. I was happy that we won the game, but I didn’t really understand the magnitude of that single game, being world champions. That was everything I have worked for since I was a kid. So just to have people continuing to recognize us is helping it set in more.”