Date: Friday, September 28, 2012 Time: 7:00 p.m. ET Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.) Radio: 1070 The Fan Television: ESPN2 Webcast: Live on FeverBasketball.com
Storylines & Promotions
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream marks the sixth time the two teams will face each other this season. Indiana led the regular season series 3-2.
Friday night will begin a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The Dream defeated the Fever 2-1 in the three-game series after Tamika Catchings was injured in Game 2. Atlanta eventually fell to the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Finals.
This marks the eighth straight playoff appearance for the Fever, and the ninth in 13 years. The Fever has won its first-round series in all but three seasons.
Indiana is on a two-game winning streak, defeating the Washington Mystics and Tulsa Shock last week, 66-53 and 91-58 respectively.
The Fever played the final week of the regular season without its starting backcourt in Briann January and Shavonte Zellous, both of whom suffered head injuries in the Sept. 17 game against Minnesota. It is hoped that they will return for Friday’s playoff opener. Katie Douglas also missed the last two games due to illness, but has been practicing with the team again. In their absence Erin Phillips and Jeanette Pohlen have taken over guard duties. Phillips matched her career-high scoring mark of 21 points against Tulsa on Sept. 23.
Atlanta has won seven of its last nine games since firing coach and general manager Marynell Meadors and promoting assistant coach Fred Williams to the position.
Atlanta is fifth in the league in scoring with a 78.6 points per game average. Indiana is sixth with a 78.3 average.
Indiana shoots 40 percent as a team from the 3-point range; the best in the league. Atlanta is 11th at 29.6 percent.
Katie Douglas is averaging three more points a game (18.1) in the second half than she did in the first half (15.1).
Players To Watch
Fever Tamika Catchings
Catchings, in her usual MVP fashion has continued to be a consistent leader for the Indiana Fever. In just over 22 minutes of play against Tulsa, Sept. 23, she shot 7-for-10 from the field and finished with 20 points. Catchings made it a double-double performance adding 10 a team-high 10 rebounds. She dished out two assists and had three thefts. Indiana is 6-2 when Catchings scores more than 20 points. She is eighth in the WNBA, averaging 17.4 points per game.
Dream Angel McCoughtry
McCoughtry has experienced some turmoil following the Olympic Break, missing several games and serving a short suspension following the firing of former coach Marynell Meadors. After serving a short suspension McCoughtry came off the bench in five straight games, still leading her team in scoring in three of those games. She has started the past three games. She is the WNBA leader in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game and shooting 44.7 percent from the field.
Fever vs. Tulsa - Erin Phillips scored 21 points, while Tamika Catchings tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Indiana Fever's 91-58 rout of the Tulsa Shock. Jessica Davenport netted 18 points off the bench for Indiana (22-12), which matched its franchise record for wins in a season. Ivory Latta had 16 points to lead the Shock (9-25), who dropped six of their last nine contests to close the season. Scholanda Dorrell registered 14 points and Amber Holt had 10 in the loss. Indiana shot 52.6 percent (30-of-57), while Tulsa was 32.1 percent (18-of-56) from the field.
Dream vs. Connecticut - Kara Lawson scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds, as the Connecticut Sun wrapped up their regular-season slate with a 92-72 rout of the Atlanta Dream on Sunday. Tina Charles added 17 points and nine boards, while Kalana Greene chipped in 12 points for the Sun, who enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Lindsey Harding led the way for Atlanta with 16 points, but the Dream had their season-high four-game winning streak snapped. The Sun jumped out to an 18-8 lead after the first 10 minutes and never looked back. They never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 20. The Sun will begin the playoffs at home Thursday against New York, while No. 3 seed Atlanta opens at Indiana on Friday.
The Fever is 3-2 against the Dream this season and 1-2 all-time in the playoffs. The Fever won the first game of the playoff series against Atlanta last season, at home, before dropping the next two.