MINNEAPOLIS – The little things always seem to add up. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. For Indiana, the taking care of the little things is what gave them a 75-69 Game 1 win in the WNBA Finals 2015 presented by Boost Mobile.
The Fever did numerous “little things” that ended up looming large Sunday afternoon. Tamika Catchings and a host of other players helped keep Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson off the offensive glass. Brunson, the WNBA’s all-time playoff leader in offensive rebounds, didn’t record a single offensive board. That task alone was something both Catchings and Fever head coach Stephanie White harped on ahead of the series opener.
But what proved to be the difference Sunday afternoon was the Fever’s accuracy from the charity stripe. Indiana went a perfect 16-of-16 from the free-throw line.
“It’s huge,” said guard Briann Janury, who had a season-high 19 points. “It’s the small things that we’ve emphasized this entire playoff run, and against a team like them, there’s no margin for error. I think we did a great job, and those free throws come in crucial. It’s every box out, every free throw, every three throw that we need to capitalize on. Those little things we did today, and we need to continue to do that, because they come up big at the end of the game.”
In a game where Catchings – the heart and soul of the Fever – struggled from the floor, Indiana simply had to pay attention to detail in order to get a win and flip homecourt advantage in the series.
“It’s really important, just focusing in on every shot,” Catchings said. “For a period of time, it was like nobody could make it. So, really, for us it was just about getting to the free throw line and attacking and attacking and knocking down free throws. For us, to go 16-of-16, that’s a big thing looking at the difference between the game, and that’s probably the biggest difference.”
That Indiana was able to get to the line as often as it did — especially given the large frontcourt presence on the other end of the floor — was huge. Sylvia Fowles set the tone early with a few blocks on the interior, but Indiana kept attacking, kept taking it to the bodies of the Lynx players. And it paid off.
“It’s extremely important,” said Marissa Coleman. “We always talk about –no matter what game it is — going into the game that we need to not settle for jumpshots, and attack the rim and get to the free-throw line.
“I think that just shows our mentality. We weren’t intimidated by [the Lynx frontcourt] and we kept get getting to the basket and the free throw line.”