Date: Friday, May 31, 2013
Time: Championship Celebration begins at 6:40 p.m.
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Television - Fox Sports Indiana
Radio - The Fan 1070 AM / 107.5 FM
Webcast - Live webcast and stats can be accessed via WNBA Live Access on FeverBasketball.com
Storylines & Promotions
• The Indiana Fever welcomes the Atlanta Dream to Bankers Life Fieldhouse while celebrating its 2012 WNBA championship with a pregame banner-raising and ring ceremony. The Championship Celebration and Ring Ceremony presented by Herff Jones begins at 6:40 p.m. All fans entering Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Fever’s 2013 home opener will receive a replica championship ring courtesy of Kroger.
• This Friday’s contest will be the second game for both the Fever and the Dream, who each opened the 2013 campaigns with wins last weekend. Indiana topped San Antonio 79-64 last Friday. Atlanta beat Tulsa 98-81 on Saturday.
• The last time the Fever stepped onto the hardwood at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, other than preseason, Indiana was crowned the WNBA champion after a 3-1 Finals victory over the Minnesota Lynx. It was the first championship in franchise history and the first pro basketball title for the city of Indianapolis since the 1973 Indiana Pacers won a title in the ABA.
• The Fever and Dream have engaged in playoff matchups the past two seasons – Indiana winning a conference semifinal matchup in 2012 and the Dream capturing a conference finals battle in 2011.
• Either the Fever or Dream has captured the Eastern Conference championship in each of the past four seasons. After Indiana represented the East in the 2009 WNBA Finals, Atlanta advanced to the Finals in each of 2010 and 2011. In the Finals, Indiana fell 3-2 to Phoenix for the WNBA title in 2009, and won the 2012 crown, sporting a 5-4 Finals record overall. Atlanta, by comparison, was swept by Seattle and Minnesota in consecutive Finals appearances, owning a 0-6 mark in Finals competition.
• Rookie first-round draft pick Layshia Clarendon makes her Fever debut against Atlanta, returning from her college graduation in Berkeley last weekend, causing her to miss the Fever’s opening game.
• The Fever enters the season more short-handed than anticipated. While returning 10 players off its championship roster of 2012, the club has been hit with a recent rash of injuries. Jeanette Pohlen continues rehabilitation after the torn left ACL she sustained in Game 2 of last year’s WNBA finals. She had surgery in December and hopes to return near midseason. Jessica Davenport was diagnosed in training camp with a stress fracture of her left tibia, which was originally sustained while playing in Turkey. She also hopes to return near midseason. Erin Phillips has nursed a torn meniscus in her right knee and underwent surgery on May 22. She, too, hopes to return near the All-Star break.
• Shavonte Zellous matched Tamika Catchings for game scoring honors in the win at San Antonio, becoming the fourth player on the Fever roster (Catchings, Douglas, Davenport) with 1,000 points in her career. Zellous enters the Atlanta game with 1,016 points in her fifth pro season. Erin Phillips (926) and Briann January (862) should reach 1,000 later this season.
• With just 10 more steals, Katie Douglas will join Catchings, Teicha Penicheiro and Sheryl Swoopes as the only players with at least 600 in her WNBA career.
• Playing with a depleted roster, Indiana will rely heavily on the play of its starting lineup. It is the same lineup that defeated Minnesota in last year’s WNBA Finals, but with returning All-Star Katie Douglas replacing injured combo guard Erin Phillips. At San Antonio, Indiana starters scored 71 of 79 points.
• Indiana is 9-4 all time in home openers, including a 92-84 home win over the Dream to begin last year’s championship season. Indiana has won its last two home opening games and 9 of 11 counting back-to-back losses in 2009 and 2010.
• Atlanta brings a pair of very familiar faces back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse this weekend. Prior to her recent head coaching gig at Washington and her new post as Fred Williams’ assistant with the Dream, Julie Plank was a Fever assistant during the first eight seasons of the franchise (2000-07). During her tenure, Indiana reached the playoffs four times with trips to the conference finals in 2005 and 2007. Alex Bentley, the 13th overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft, has Fever ties a little more recent – like last season. It was just last summer that Bentley, then entering her senior year at Penn State, interned with the Indiana franchise in its video scouting department. Bentley played in Big Ten Tournaments at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2009, 2010 and 2011, leading the Nittany Lions to the tournament final as a junior while being named to the all-tournament team. Coincidentally, her college coach was former Fever guard Coquese Washington. Bentley starred locally at Ben Davis High School.
Fever: F - Tamika Catchings, C - Erlana Larkins, G - Katie Douglas, G - Shavonte Zellous, G - Briann January
Dream: F - Angel McCoughtry, F - Sancho Lyttle, C - Erika d Souza, G - Jasmine Thomas, G - Armintie Harrington
2012 Postseason The last time these two teams met was for the third game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on October 2, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Fever beat the Dream 75-64. Katie Douglas led the Fever with 24 points. Erlana Larkins had 20 rebounds, which ties for the most rebounds in Fever franchise playoff records and is the 2nd most in WNBA playoff history.
The Fever defeated the Dream 2-1 in the First Round of the 2012 WNBA Playoffs on their way to the championship. Atlanta stole home court advantage in the series by grabbing Game 1 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 75-64. The Fever responded by taking Games 2 and 3 to advance to the Conference Finals versus the Connecticut Sun.
Fever: Indiana beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 79-64 in last Friday’s season opener at San Antonio. After shooting 5-of-16 in the opening quarter, Indiana responded to shoot 55 percent (27-of-49) the rest of the game. The Fever led by as many as 20 points, 75-55, in the final moments. Indiana got 19 points from Tamika Catchings and Shavonte Zellous, and 18 from Katie Douglas. The Fever outscored the Silver Stars 46-19 inside the lane, buoyed by the inside presence of Erlana Larkins who contributed eight points and a regular-season career-high 12 rebounds.
Dream: The Atlanta Dream topped the Tulsa Shock 98-81.The Dream began a 21-6 run late in the first quarter to take a 16-point lead on Tiffany Hayes’ fast-break layup early in the second. They also scored 12 points off Tulsa’s 10 turnovers in the third quarter. Forward Sancho Lyttle hit an 18-footer early in the period, helping Atlanta lead by double digits for the rest of the game. Lyttle led the starters with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Hayes came off the bench to give the Dream 21 points. Guard Armintie Herrington had a career high (5) steals for the Dream.
Indiana boasts an 11-10 series advantage over the Dream, counting three wins in five meetings last season. Counting the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Fever beat the Dream in 5 of 8 contests last year. The Fever was 3-1 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last year against Atlanta, and 8-3 against the Dream since Atlanta entered the WNBA in 2008.