Fever vs. Liberty: Changing Sides

May 28, 2006
In a nationally televised game (ESPN2, 7:00 p.m.) Tuesday, the Indiana Fever will face the team they have played against more than any other team. That team is the New York Liberty, which the Fever has played 26 times in the team’s history. Oddly, the won-loss record between the teams is tied at 13.

Their record isn’t the only similarity between them. The Fever and Liberty have met in playoff meetings each of the two times the Fever has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs. Tuesday, no less then six players who participated in that first playoff series in 2002, will grace the floor during their first meeting of 2006. Only two players, though – Tamika Catchings and Becky Hammon – have remained on the same teams that battled in Indiana’s first playoff series in history.

When the Fever and Liberty tip off Tuesday night in Conseco Fieldhouse, Catchings and Hammon will lead their respective teams. Joining them are a host of teammates who also appeared in that 2002 series – though most have switched sides!

  • Starting beside Hammon will be former Fever star Kelly Schumacher, whose 159 games played are the most ever in a Fever uniform. She was part of a sign-and-trade deal that landed her in New York, and allowed Indiana to move up in last year’s draft.
  • Starting alongside Catchings is former New York and L.A. power forward Tamika Whitmore, who inked a free agent deal with the Fever in March. Whitmore’s best season was in 2002, including a 12.7 points per game average overall, and 16.1 in the playoffs. She averaged 19.7 points and shot 65.9 percent from the floor during the three-game series against the Fever.
  • Another former Liberty star from the 2002 playoffs, now with Indiana, is Linda Fröhlich, who was a rookie enjoying her first appearance in the playoffs, just like the Fever.
  • A sixth star returning from the 2002 playoff series is Olympia Scott, who has only played with the Fever. Scott’s playoff run as Indiana’s starting center were her last games with Indiana prior to her return this year. Scott played the past two seasons in Charlotte and Sacramento.

    The Fever won the first game of the 2002 playoff series, but the WNBA Finals-bound Liberty won the final two games at Madison Square Garden. Roles have reversed since, then, though, as Indiana swept New York in a 2-0 playoff series last fall. Entering Tuesday’s bout, the Fever remains the WNBA’s only unbeaten team while New York is one of three clubs still winless.

    Momentum, just as many of the players themselves, has changed sides in the Fever/Liberty series.