You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

July 12, 2008 | by Ericka Sanders

I’ve been around this Indiana Fever franchise for five seasons, which is why I believe I’m pretty qualified to give my opinions on a number of things: trades, draft picks, winning seasons, losing seasons, etc.

For those who know me, they’ll say I’m qualified because I’m truly a fan of the Fever, which is why I often have to remind myself that I’m supposed to a be a journalist first, fan second. But it gets hard sometimes because I love this team. I’m happy when they’re winning and depressed when they’re losing. Regardless, I wouldn’t miss the Fever play one game and you shouldn’t either.

If you haven’t caught the girls of summer, shame on you! Below (in no particular order) are 10 amazing things you’re missing.

Ebony Hoffman
Watching “Big Eb” or “Big Dog” as fans affectionately call Hoffman, has been one of the highlights of the season. Through the first 19 games of the season, she is – in my opinion – the most improved player in the league.

She’s lighter on her feet (thanks to continuous weight loss) and is having a career year averaging 10.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists (thanks to a lot of hard work during the offseason).

The New Girls
When training camp starts each year, there are always new faces and a handful usually make the final roster. However, I can’t remember a group of new girls making as much impact. Sherill Baker, LaToya Bond, Bernadette Ngoyisa and of course, Katie Douglas have fit in very well making big-time plays, last-second shots and great defensive stops.

Competition
Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn talks about the amount of talent in the WNBA often, and league President Donna Orender loves what she’s seeing. She hopes to add two teams within the next five years.

No WNBA team is without at least six losses and, at 10-9, Indiana is only four games back from claiming the top spot in the East.

The competition is so tough, last year’s champions, the Phoenix Mercury, is currently 9-10.

Playing Hard
There is no such thing as letting a loose ball roll out of bounds with the Fever.

Every player has battled for a loose ball, participated in a jump ball or blocked a shot at least once – maybe even twice. There is no lack of effort with these ladies and whether it’s climbing back from 18 down or playing in triple overtime -- they usually fight until the final buzzer goes off.

Olympic Talent
Like the Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury and a few other WNBA teams, the Fever has multiple players making the trek to Beijing for the Olympics in August: Tamika Catchings (USA) and Tully Bevilaqua (Australia).

The Fans
Indiana has some of the most enthusiastic fans in basketball and if you catch at least one game this summer you’ll be hard pressed not to get caught up in the excitement.

Affordability
During these hard economic times, there are not many events a family of four can enjoy for $68. Well, I have one for you. A family of four can indulge in a Fever game with food and T-shirts for $68. If you find a better deal than that, a Fever game will be on me.

Indiana Basketball
This state is synonymous with basketball, which is why I’m amazed that more people haven’t supported this team. The Fever has everything a Indiana is supposed to have: a franchise player (Catchings), defense, a winning team (two appearance in the East Finals in the last three seasons) and scorers. They also a rivalry with the Detroit Shock, which is one of the most intense games each time they play.

Come on! You’re missing out!

Fun
When you have a team filled with personality it’s hard not to enjoy them play. Add their hustle and obvious love of the game, you find yourself out of your seat clapping your hands, waving cheer sticks and screaming DEFENSE throughout the entire game. You also find yourself smiling you had the best time you’d had all summer, at a price you can't find anyplace else for a family's worth of entertainment.

There are my 10 amazing things about the Indiana Fever. If you've been to games, you know what I mean. If you haven't made it to a game yet this summer, there are two more chances just this week. C'mon out to The Fieldhouse and join the Fever fun!