Indiana vs Washington, Game 1, Eastern Conference Semifinals
Date:Thursday, August 21, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Television - ESPN2
Radio - 107.5FM/1070AM
Webcast - Live webcast and stats can be accessed via ESPN3
The Fever are back in the playoffs. Indiana opens its 10th consecutive postseason by hosting the Washington Mystics in Game 1 of a best-of-three conference semifinal series.
On paper, the Fever and Mystics are remarkably even. The two teams finished with identical records (16-18) and split four games during the regular season, with each team winning twice on the opposition's floor. Indiana got the second seed and homecourt advantage in the series by virtue of a slightly better conference record (12-10 vs. 11-11).
Statistically, the Mystics are remarkably balanced and play excellent team defense. All-Star point guard Ivory Latta leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points per game, but four other players average between 9.0 and 10.1 points per contest. As a team, Washington ranks first in the WNBA in points allowed and second in opponent field goal percentage.
SERIES PREVIEW (INFOGRAPHIC): Fever-Mystics by the Numbers »
In the two teams' last meeting on Aug. 8 in Indianapolis, Washington pulled away in the third quarter to cruise to a 74-61 win. Center Kia Vaughn scored 12 of her game-high 22 points in the third.
Immediately after that contest, however, the Fever reeled off three convincing wins to clinch both a playoff spot and homecourt advantage. It should come as no surprise that Indiana's strongest stretch of the season coincided with exceptional play from perennial All-Star Tamika Catchings, who averaged 23 points per game on 53.8 percent shooting in those three victories.
Storylines & Promotions
• Returning to the WNBA Playoffs for a 10th consecutive season in 2014, and for the 11th time in the franchise’s 15-year history, the Indiana Fever hopes for a return to the WNBA Finals for the third time since 2009.
• Indiana meets the Washington Mystics in the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Fever andMystics split the regular season series, 2-2, with the road team taking all four matchups.
• The Fever and Mystics have met once previously in the postseason, as Indiana swept Washington, 2-0, in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals on the way to the franchise’s first WNBA Finals appearance.
• Tamika Catchings needs just 45 points and six rebounds to become the WNBA’s career postseason leader in both categories. Catchings has appeared in every playoff game (51) in Fever franchise history, and ranks 8th all-time in WNBA history in playoff games played
• Making the playoffs for the seventh straight season, Lin Dunn has set the WNBA coaching record for consecutive postseason appearances. She is currently tied for fourth in WNBA history with 20 playoff wins and will move into sole possession of third place with two wins this postseason. Dunn already has more playoff wins than any female head coach in WNBA history.
• Entering the 2014 playoffs, Indiana’s 51 playoff games ranks third in WNBA history in terms of total playoff games, trailing Los Angeles (60) and New York (55).
• Indiana has earned at least one playoff win in seven consecutive seasons - the best streak in WNBA Playoffs history. Indiana’s 26 playoff wins are the third-most wins by any franchise in WNBA Playoffs history.
• Rebounding ace Erlana Larkins set a new Fever regular season frnachise record for rebounds in a season. She finished with 303 boards in 33 games, passing Tamika Catchings’ old mark of 276 in 2002. Larkins set a new franchise record by averaging a career-best 9.2 rebounds per game. The previous Fever record for a season average was 9.0 RPG by Catchings in 2007. She also set a franchise record with 14 games with 10 or more rebounds during the regular season.
• Going 9-8 on the road in the regular season, the Fever tied the franchise record for road wins in a single season (9 in 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2012).
• This is Lin Dunn’s final season in coaching. Inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on June 14, she intends to continue consulting and mentoring with pro and college coaches, and will remain an advisor with the Fever in 2015. A star pupil who she once recruited to Purdue, Stephanie White will take over the coaching reigns next year as part of Indiana’s succession plan.
Fever: F- Tamika Catchings, F- Marissa Coleman, C- Erlana Larkins, G- Shavonte Zellous, G- Briann January
Mystics: F- Monique Currie, C- Kia Vaughn, C- Emma Meesseman, G- Ivory Latta, G- Kara Lawson
August 8, 2014: Kia Vaughn scored 22 points and Ivory Latta added 14 for the Mystics to help them beat Indiana 74-61 on Friday night. It was Indiana's 17th loss of this season. The Fever, honoring Breast Cancer awareness and breast cancer survivors in attendance at Friday's game, donned all pink uniforms. Washington and Indiana went back and forth for much of the first half trading leads. The Mystics led by two points at the end of the first quarter, but that's as close as the gap would close for the Fever. The Mystics closed out the second quarter on a 13-2 run to take control and led by as many as 26 in the second half. Shavonte Zellous scored 13 points and Tamika Catchings added 11 to lead the Fever. Fowles answered with a layup before Coleman made both free throws to tie it again.
Fever: Plenette Pierson scored 15 points and Anna Cruz added 10 to help the Liberty beat the Fever 73-61 on Sunday night, closing out the regular season for both teams. Rookie Maggie Lucas scored a season-high 17 points to lead the Fever. New York led from the opening minutes. Indiana got within 59-55 with 6:31 left before New York scored six straight to restore its double-digit lead and seal the win.
Mystics: Plenette Pierson scored 20 points to help the New York Liberty snap a three-game losing streak and hamper the Washington Mystics' playoff seeding with a 73-61 victory Saturday night. Ivory Latta scored 15 points for the Mystics (16-18). The Liberty did not commit a turnover in the first half, led by 16 at halftime and 60-40 in the third quarter. New York shot 51 percent from the field and never let its lead dip below 11 points in the second half. Pierson made all six of her field-goal attempts for 16 points before halftime. New York outscored Washington 26-12 in the second quarter. Swin Cash added 12 points for the Liberty. Though outrebounded 39-24, including 16-1 on the offensive boards, New York held Washington to 36.1 percent shooting from the field. Tianna Hawkins scored 11 points for the Mystics.
Indiana meets the Washington Mystics in the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Fever and Mystics split the regular season series, 2-2, with the road team taking all four matchups. The two have met once previously in the postseason, as Indiana swept Washington, 2-0, in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals on the way to the franchise’s first WNBA Finals appearance.