All-Star Starters: Catchings and DeForge
Catchings and DeForge have helped guide the Fever (11-4) to a first place tie with defending champion Detroit in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. Catchings, DeForge and the rest of the East and West All-Stars will participate in the annual All-Star Game which takes place Sunday, July 15, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The game will be televised nationally on ABC-TV, with tipoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Catchings is putting up MVP-type numbers again in 2007 – she leads the league in steals (3.07 spg) and is among the WNBA’s top 12 in points (9th, 16.6 ppg), rebounds (2nd, 8.9 rpg), assists (12th, 3.9 apg) and blocks (9th, 1.13 bpg). She is the only player in WNBA history ever to rank among the WNBA’s top 10 in all five categories, having done so in both 2002 and 2006.
“It never stops making me smile,” Catchings said of her fifth straight selection by the fans. “It will be my first time starting with another Fever player, though! We want to continue building on a good season so far, and also have a good time in D.C.!”
DeForge joins Detroit center Kara Braxton as the East’s other first-time starter, finishing second in balloting among guards to the Shock’s Deanna Nolan. Detroit forward Cheryl Ford was selected as the East’s other forward, rounding out an all Detroit and Indiana starting lineup.
Prior to being acquired by Indiana in a 2005 trade with Phoenix, DeForge was chosen as a member of the WNBA Select Team for an exhibition with the U.S. Olympic Team, in a game which took the place of the 2004 All-Star Game. That was the closest she has been to earning All-Star status.
“It was a big shock, a big surprise,” said DeForge, who was fifth in balloting returns announced just three days before voting concluded. “It’s a fan-oriented weekend and a fan vote and I’m honored to have received their votes. I’m obviously excited, and I have to thank the fans who voted for me – especially all the fans in Poland who probably voted for me on the Internet, and who have always supported me!”
A former MVP in Poland who has led her team to back-to-back Polish titles, DeForge currently averages 8.3 points for the Fever. Regarded as one of the league’s top 3-point shooting threats, her 37.8 percent 3-point clip leads Indiana, and she is perfect on 18 free throw attempts.
DeForge added, “This says a lot about our team, how far we have come and where we are going. We’re in first place in the East, we’re playing well as a team. Whenever you have the Defensive Player of the Year on your team, it says a lot, too,” referring to Catchings as the league’s top defender in 2005 and 2006. “Tamika ignites everybody and always keeps us playing hard. I’m honored to play with her, and to be selected alongside her.”
Reserves for each conference will be named on Monday, July 9.
The Fever has four games remaining before the All-Star break, including home dates with Chicago (July 8) and New York (July 12). Single-game tickets for all Fever home games may be purchased at the Conseco Fieldhouse Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations or FeverBasketball.com. For season ticket information, call (317) 917-2500.