21-13, 1st in Eastern Conference
No, that’s not a typo directly above. When asked what the top needs were for the Indiana Fever heading into the 2012 WNBA Draft, Head Coach Lin Dunn did not shy away from redundancy. “Rebounds. Rebounds. Rebounds,” said Dunn. “We were one game away from the WNBA Finals last season and let’s face it, we were not a good enough rebounding team. So, while first and foremost our goal going into the draft is to get the best player we can get, when you look at our roster, and that need, we are going to look long and hard at acquiring a young post player who can rebound and defend.”
Dunn and her staff have already attempted to bolster their low-post presence this off-season, adding Center Jenna Smith and Forward Erlana Larkins to a roster already boasting veteran Tammy Sutton-Brown. Players available for selection in the draft on Monday, April 16 at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut who intrigue Indiana include centers Sasha Goodlett (Georgia Tech), Lynetta Kizer ( Maryland) and Chay Shegog (North Carolina) and forwards Cierra Bravard (Florida State), Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame) and Kayla Standish (Gonzaga).
In addition to the draft, the Fever may also try and find even more for 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player and perennial All-Defensive Team stalwart Tamika Catchings to do in 2012.
“We’re also probably going to use Tamika Catchings at the power forward spot more this season, get her closer to the basket,” said Dunn. “She is such a great rebounder we know she can be effective down there. And the great thing about Catchings is she does some many things from the 3 (small forward) and the 4 (power forward). If we move her to the 4 she will more involved in the two-man game from that spot and either way she can defend 3’s and 4’s and sometimes even the 2. We will take advantage of her versatility.”
Provided Indiana gets that coveted post player at No. 11, a perimeter player with shooting range will be a good bet at the 34th pick.
Looking ahead to the 2012 season, Dunn thinks if she can keep her core players out of the training room another run at the WNBA Finals is within reach. “A big thing right now is we are healthy. Catchings is back to full strength after being slowed by injury in the conference finals and Briann (January) is recovered from injury and (Shavonte) Zellous and Erin Phillips are all healthy now,” said Dunn. “Make no mistake, we are not rebuilding here. We’re reloading. We’re going for the championship, we’re trying to bring that banner home to our fans this year.”
--Jim Reilly, WNBA.com
Recent Draft History
9. Jeanette Pohlen|
33. Jori Davis
11. Jene Morris|
35. Joy Cheek
6. Briann January|
19. Christina Wirth
32. Danielle Campbell