Fresh From WNBA Title, Dunn Serves Up Southern Fried Wisdom

December 17, 2012 -- After leading the Indiana Fever to the WNBA Championship in October, Lin Dunn had one last play to run on behalf of the Fever and their rabid Indiana fans heading into the holidays. This play, however, wasn’t drawn up in a locker room, but was cooked up in her kitchen, as Dunn made good on a pledge to cook an authentic Southern Fried Meal for Fever fans who won a charity auction benefiting Breast Health Awareness.

Dunn and Fran Robinson spent upwards of five hours prepping the dinner in her kitchen before packing it up – Top Chef-style – and heading over to Carmel, Indiana where winning fans Barb Siwy and Lisa Baker were presented with a Southern Extravaganza courtesy of 2012 WNBA Champion/Chef Lin Dunn.

Dunn
Dunn met role model Billie Jean King last week.
“We went all out,” said Dunn, recounting the menu. “Fried chicken, fried okra, fried corn, fried cabbage, fried green tomatoes, fried black-eyed pea cornbread, real country ham, pecan pie, you name it, we cooked it. We’ve been doing this for a few years now to give back to fans who support important charities and we had ourselves a great night.”

Since most of the prep work was done in Dunn’s kitchen, Siwy, Baker and friends could just sit back and enjoy a great meal, all in the name of a worthy charity.

“We cooked up the fried green tomatoes and fried okra in their kitchen as fresh appetizers, but the rest we just warmed up and served, so we didn’t leave any mess in their kitchen,” said Dunn. “I tell you, if you’ve never had a nice glass of red wine and fried green tomatoes, you just haven’t lived.”

Many Fever fans weren’t alive -- or can’t remember -- the last time an Indianapolis-based professional basketball team won a league championship (Pacers, ABA title in 1973) and Dunn was instrumental in leading Tamika Catchings and the Fever to the WNBA championship over the defending champion Minnesota Lynx in October.

Despite crucial injuries to Katie Douglas and Jeanette Pohlen, Indiana was able to reach down the bench and topple the Lynx, thanks in large part to vocal, enthusiastic fan support.

“Well, home-court advantage started up in Minnesota, where they had terrific fan support and sold out their building,” said Dunn. “But, when we came back to Indiana, we sold out our place and it was truly a case of having the Sixth Man. The energy of the fans was so important, it drove us, especially late in games, in crunch time. We had some injuries to key players and were low in numbers and needed that energy, and our fans were there to provide it. “

If you’ve never had a nice glass of red wine and fried green tomatoes, you just haven’t lived. -- Lin Dunn

After over 30 years of coaching, Dunn was philosophical about reaching the pinnacle of her profession, and was honored to meet one of her biggest role models growing up in the world of women’s sports, when introducing Billie Jean King at a Women’s Fund of Central Indiana last week.

“I grew up in the 50s and 60s playing sports before Title IX, when it was illegal for women or girls to play sports in Alabama, so someone like Billie Jean King is a true role model. I had other role models, of course, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher, but that was politics, so to have Billie Jean King in 1973 beat Bobbie Riggs and show the world that women can compete and win, I will never, ever forget that,” said Dunn, who has championed the groundbreaking Title IX legislation which celebrated it’s 40th Anniversary in 2012. “It showed me, I can do it, I can fight this discrimination and compete and win. To then meet her, was just so special. She is truly a wonderful woman and to hear her speak and say, ‘it’s not about he, or she, it’s about we’ . . . I tell you, we could use Billie Jean King in Congress, she would help us get over this fiscal cliff.”

Ever the competitor, Dunn quickly pivoted from the subject of social justice back to the court, where she expressed a keen desire to savor her championship accomplishment and attempt to parlay it from a title into a dynasty.

“Any time you can be the first to do something, like we did here, it’s something that can never be taken away from you. We will always be the first WNBA Championship team in Indiana,” said Dunn, whose Fever rode the spectacular effort of 12-year veteran Tamika Catchings to knock off the Lynx in the 2012 WNBA Finals. “But, any time you win a championship, the big question is: Can you do it again? We got one, can we get two? Can we repeat? I do know one thing, it’s really, really hard to win a championship. It’s TEN TIMES HARDER to win another one. “

Difficult though it may be, Dunn will be hungry for the fight come tip-off in 2013.

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