Gm 1: at Indiana, Thu., 8/17, 8p.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 2: at Detroit., Sat., 8/19, 6p.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 3*: at Detroit., Mon., 8/21, 8 p.m. ET. NBA TV
The Indiana Fever return to the Playoffs for the second straight season after tying for their best record in franchise history with 21 wins. Five-year veteran and perennial M.V.P. candidate Tamika Catchings has once again led the Fever in just about every major statistical category while averaging team-high's in scoring (16.6 ppg), rebounding (7.7 rpg), assists (4.0 apg) and steals (3.0 spg). After being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Connecticut Sun in 2005, Indiana went to work on their roster, adding forward Tamika Whitmore, guard Anna DeForge and a list of others. Catchings and Whitmore, an All-Star for the first time, gave the Fever a strong one-two punch for the Fever while the entire team continues to buy into the defensive mentality. Meanwhile, Detroit is hungry to win another championship as many believe they have underachieved since winning in 2003. The Shock were eliminated in the first round in each of the past two seasons, but a healthy Swin Cash and a full year of Katie Smith makes the Shock a tough out. Led by Cheryl Ford's averages of 14.5 points and league-leading 11.5 rebounds, the Shock finished the season with the second best record in the Eastern Conference. These two teams split their regular season series, each winning both games at home.

2006 Regular Season: Indiana Fever 2 - Detroit Shock 2
Some fast facts about the Fever-Shock first-round matchup:

Ford
The best defensive team in the regular season, Indiana was the only team to hold its opponents to under 70 points per game (67.5). Tamika Catchings and Tully Bevilaqua are the first teammates in WNBA history to lead the league in steals. They ranked 1-2 in the WNBA in total steals this season.
Shock forward Cheryl Ford entered the season ranked first all-time in rebounds per game with a career average of 9.9 rpg. She led the WNBA again this season in that department, pulling in 11.3 rebounds per game, the only player to average in double figures.
Eight players on the Indiana Fever's 12-women roster were either drafted, traded for or signed by Indiana in 2006. The only holdovers from last season have been Tully Bevilaqua, Tamika Catchings, Ebony Hoffman and Tan White.
How important was getting home court advantage for the Shock? Detroit finished with a 14-3 record at home this season, but only 9-8 on the road.

Catchings

Saturday, May 20, Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN: Fever 67, Shock 60 | Box score

Indiana Leaders: Tamika Catchings (16 pts., 14 reb), Ebony Hoffman (13 pts., 13 reb)
Detroit Leaders: Cheryl Ford (10 pts., 8 reb), Katie Smith (19 pts., 3 reb)
NBA TV highlights: Play

Friday, June 16, Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI: Shock 71, Fever 63 | Box score
Indiana Leaders: Tamika Whitmore (19 pts., 4 ast), Anna DeForge (15 pts., 4 reb)
Detroit Leaders: Cheryl Ford (15 pts., 18 reb), Deanna Nolan (11 pts., 8 reb)
NBA TV highlights: Play

Thursday, June 29, Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN: Fever 66, Shock 56 | Box score
Detroit Leaders: Deanna Nolan (12 pts., 3 ast), Ruth Riley (14 pts., 7 reb)
Indiana Leaders: Tamika Catchings (17 pts., 13 reb), Tamika Whitmore (22 pts., 5 reb)
NBA TV highlights: Play

Tuesday August 1, Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI: Shock 70, Fever 66 | Box score
Detroit Leaders: Kara Braxton (16 pts., 5 reb), Katie Smith (12 pts., 6 ast)
Indiana Leaders: Tamika Catchings (22 pts., 7 reb), Tamika Whitmore (21 pts., 9 reb)
NBA TV highlights: Play