Fever Hopes Continued and Consistent Success Can Lead to Championship
It was just another night of records and milestones for the Indiana Fever in its 89-83 win over the Phoenix Mercury.
Already the first team in WNBA history to record 10 or more home wins in 11 consecutive seasons, the Fever added its 11th of 2012 while keeping pace with the Connecticut Sun in the Eastern Conference standings.
That was just one of many records currently being tracked for the Fever. Indiana has been breaking franchise and league records all year, in addition to the fact that the Fever secured a place in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
Also on Sunday night? The win was the 100th of Lin Dunn’s career as Fever coach; Indiana surpassed its season record for 3-point field goals; and Katie Douglas’ season-high 30 points contributed to becoming just the 10th player in league history with 5,000 points.
Oh, and were it not for a couple of late turnovers with less than a minute to play, Indiana nearly set WNBA and franchise marks for fewest turnovers in a game. Indiana finished with six turnovers compared to 23 by the Mercury. The league mark is four, the Fever mark is five.
The single-game numbers are a snapshot of the many season marks being chased by the club. With just one more victory, Indiana will establish itself as the only WNBA franchise ever to post 20 wins, seven times in an eight-year span. Only the Fever and Los Angeles Sparks will have won 20 or more games in seven different seasons.
The Fever, with its remarkably consistent success being reflected in consecutive playoff berths and its string of 20-win seasons, is on the cusp of reaching status never before achieved in the W. It is all a credit to Kelly Krauskopf, the Fever’s general manager and chief operating officer. In her 13th season with the team, she has been here since the beginning. She has orchestrated the club’s rise on the court and off, literally, from Day One.
Krauskopf said that she expects a lot of her team now because of the history of success. Success has become a tradition for Indiana.
“I always expect us to be in the playoffs,” Krauskopf said. “Having a successful model to build off of has always been important to me because of what it says to our fans and to other players in the league.” Two big parts of that model are Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, who have become the foundation of the Fever’s development. Catchings is in her 12th year with the franchise, Douglas her fifth after returning to her hometown team in a 2008 trade.
“One good game doesn’t make you a great player,” Krauskopf said of her star players. “The consistency is what makes you that great player and it’s something I see in both of them year in and year out.”
Add Dunn’s 10 seasons since joining the Fever as a scout in 2003 and Indiana boasts a remarkable continuity over the past decade.
Catchings, the 2011 WNBA MVP is leading Indiana in points (17.9), rebounds (7.5) and steals (2.0) with numbers better than during her MVP season one summer ago. Douglas, with a 16.5-point scoring clip, is leading the WNBA in 3-pointers and eclipsed 20 points for the ninth time on Sunday.
There is only one person in WNBA history to amass 500 3-point field goals and 500 steals. That is Douglas, ranking in the top five in league history in both categories. Who will be the second? Probably Catchings and possibly as early as Wednesday night when the Fever continues its three-game homestand against Seattle.
Individual honors and milestones aside, the statistics are a reflection of consistent and continued excellence. As Catchings and Douglas extend their careers into their mid-30s, they are continuing to guide the Fever to more and more 20-win campaigns.
Despite all of the accomplishments and accolades that are being racked up by the Fever the end goal remains the same. The Indiana Fever is still working towards its first WNBA championship, one of the only accomplishments that have eluded the franchise.
“While it’s all great to have success during the regular season and to have it for as long as we have, it would mean a lot more if that would help us raise a banner,” Krauskopf said.
Another 20-win season may materialize on Wednesday when 19-win Indiana battles the Storm. More important though, a win could also secure homecourt advantage in the opening round of the playoffs which contributes to the one thing that would mean the most for Krauskopf, Catchings, Douglas, Dunn and the entire franchise – a championship.