Fever Keep Nucleus of Championship Team Intact
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Fever President and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf has announced the signing of three-time Olympic gold medalist, 2011 WNBA MVP and 2012 WNBA Finals MVP Tamika Catchings to a multi-year contract. Also announced are multi-year deals for guards Briann January and Shavonte Zellous who combined with Catchings to lead Indiana to the 2012 WNBA championship. Per team policy, contract terms were not disclosed. Catchings, an unrestricted free agent, will begin her 13th year of service in the WNBA – all with the Fever. January and Zellous both begin their fifth pro seasons.
“Re-signing our own free agents was a top priority for me this offseason,” said Krauskopf, whose front office leadership has engineered nine playoff appearances in the franchise’s 13 seasons. “I wanted to keep our nucleus of players intact from the championship team.”
“Tamika has been the cornerstone of the franchise,” Krauskopf added. “I would like for her to finish her career – whenever that may be – in a Fever uniform. Re-signing Tamika was obviously a high priority, along with Bri and Shavonte who were so vital to winning the championship last year.”
The Fever owns a remarkable run of eight consecutive WNBA playoff appearances, five trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and a pair of visits to the WNBA Finals. Catchings has been a part of all of them, with January a vital cog since her rookie season in 2009. Zellous, acquired in a trade with Tulsa in 2010, averaged 17.0 points per game during the 2012 WNBA Finals including a career-high of 30 points in a Game 3 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Catchings added a WNBA championship and a third Olympic gold medal during her 2012 summer, while averaging Fever team highs of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. She paced Indiana with a 22.3-point average in the Finals and a 19.0 clip through its 10-game run in the WNBA Playoffs. January, the club’s point guard who was instrumental in both of Indiana’s Finals appearances the past four years, was a model of consistency in 2012 – averaging 10.0 points and 3.8 assists through the regular season; and 11.5 points and 3.8 assists in the playoffs. Zellous averaged 10.6 points during the playoffs and stepped into the starting lineup midway through the conference finals series against Atlanta.