Fever reaching high during 10th season

June 7, 2009 | By Ericka Sanders
Celebrating 10 years of doing anything is a great feat. Whether you’re toasting to a marriage, career or a clean driving record, 10 years is a pretty long time.

And surviving a decade in a league many thought would not survive half that time is special. The Indiana Fever as a franchise is special.

A lot of memories are created in 10 years, and as the Fever opens its anniversary season at home against a young and thriving Minnesota Lynx team, many fans vividly remember 2001 when the team drafted its “face,” Tamika Catchings.

“Every year has gotten better and better,” said Catchings, the longest tenure player on the team. “So far it’s been a great ride.”

Drafted out of Tennessee, Catchings didn’t play her rookie season due to injury, but since she first stepped on the court Tamika Catchings and Indiana Fever have gone hand in hand.

“I didn’t know when I was drafted (that I would be the face of the franchise). I just wanted to play in the WNBA,” she said. “The fan support I’ve had, the support of the organization, my teammates; everyone has been great.”

So what to expect of this anniversary season? A championship perhaps?

“The potential talent that we have and being able to put it all together, I really feel we have the pieces to put it all together,” Catchings said.

Forward Ebony Hoffman, who won last season’s Most Improved Player award, believes a later start to the season, allowing players to finish up their overseas games, will benefit the team greatly.

“It was a big change for me because last year I was (in Indianapolis) less than 24 hours before the game started,” she said. “It has helped our chemistry, helped us get a little bit of rest, and it helped on overall health and well being. Any rest we get we’ll take.”

Now that the resting is over, the Fever has a pretty heavy June ahead of it.

After going 3-0 in the preseason, the team fell short, 87-86 in double overtime, in its first game to a new-look Atlanta Dream team that includes veterans Chamique Holdsclaw, Nikki Teasley and Michelle Snow. The Fever was also unable to overcome the Lynx in its home opener, losing 96-74. Coming up, they face the Seattle Storm, Los Angeles Sparks and two games against the Detroit Shock and the New York Liberty.

Coach Lin Dunn says that while the Fever is shooting for a ring, it’s important to remember that so are 12 other teams, meaning it’s not going to be easy but their hopes are high.

“We feel like this is the most talented team we’ve had," she said. "We had a good draft; we really like our rookie point guard, so we’re excited, but we know everybody is going to be good."