Pettis Ready to Retire

Fever News Release
Indianapolis, May 18, 2004
Former Indiana Fever guard Bridget Pettis has announced her retirement from the Women’s National Basketball Association after appearing in 217 out of 220 games in seven seasons.

One of the most durable players in the WNBA’s brief history, Pettis entered the 2003 season as one of just four players to have appeared in every WNBA game since the league originated in 1997. She played in 31 out of 34 games for the Fever during 2003.

Between five seasons with the Phoenix Mercury and her final two years with Indiana, Pettis is tied for fifth in WNBA history in games played. Her string of 203 consecutive games played was matched by only three players (Janeth Arcain, Andrea Stinson, Teresa Weatherspoon) when she missed the first game of her WNBA career last season, July 16 vs. Detroit.

Pettis, and former teammate Coquese Washington who announced her retirement in January, will be honored as part of a ceremony during the Fever’s June 5 game vs. Charlotte. The game is highlighted by the team’s celebration of five seasons in the WNBA. Pettis and Washington, who both joined the Fever in 2002, were instrumental in adding veteran leadership to the Indiana playoff run late that season.

“I have had the opportunity to play for two great organizations in the WNBA,” said Pettis, “and I enjoyed it to the fullest. I experienced some great things - going to the Finals with Phoenix, and going to playoffs for first time with the Fever. I have been with two top-class organizations and I’ve played with some of the game’s top players - Tamika Catchings, Michelle Timms and Jennifer Gillom among them. It has been a dream come true and I have really enjoyed it.”

A native of East Chicago, Ind., and a 1993 graduate of the University of Florida, Pettis helped lead the Gators to the first NCAA Tournament appearance in that program’s history. After her first five WNBA seasons in Phoenix, she came to the Fever during a pre-draft trade in March 2002 and helped guide Indiana to the first playoff appearance in its history. While playing in 63 out of 66 games in two Fever seasons, she was widely regarded as a respected veteran player who was valuable on and off the court.

A reserve player during her two seasons with Indiana, Pettis has assembled a playing career over the past 10 years that is rivaled by few women anywhere. Including a starring role during her early WNBA years in Phoenix, she has played professionally since the 1993-94 winter, including the past eight seasons in the Italian women’s pro league. Her current seven-year streak with Cari Chieti in Italy matches the longest stay with the same team of any foreign player in the Italian League’s history. Pettis, though retiring from the WNBA, has been a perennial star in Italy and will return to Chieti for her record-breaking eighth season in 2004-05.

“I appreciate everything Bridget did for our franchise,” said Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. “She provided veteran leadership both on and off the playing floor. She has had a tremendous WNBA career and has epitomized the qualities of a true professional. I wish her continued success in her European career and hope that she will stay close to the WNBA in the future.”

In her first three seasons after college, she played professionally in Turkey, before opening her WNBA career with Phoenix in 1997. She started every game during the Mercury’s inaugural season while averaging 12.6 points per game. She was also a starter in 1998 while averaging 11.3 ppg. She played five seasons in Phoenix that included trips to the WNBA Playoffs in 1997, 1998 and 2000. She led the Mercury with 11 steals and averaged 12.8 ppg during a six-game playoff run to the WNBA Finals in 1998.

The Indiana Fever opens the 2004 WNBA regular season this weekend - Friday against the New York Liberty (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday against the Washington Mystics (7:00 p.m.).