Oct 18 2012 3:51PM
Erlana Larkins, Briann January, Shavonte Zellous and Erin Phillips helped propel the Fever to the WNBA title.
You would have never guess it prior to the season, but Indiana's Erlana Larkins, Briann January, Shavonte Zellous and Erin Phillips all played a major role in leading the Fever to their first WNBA championship. The quartet fueled the Fever's magical run.
The city of Indianapolis honored the Fever on Tuesday.
Hundreds of fans packed into the Indiana University Health Pavilion at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to honor the 2012 WNBA Champion Indiana Fever. Among those in attendance were Indianapolis Mayor Ballard, Congressman Andre Carson, and Pacers Sports and Entertainment C.E.O. Herb Simon.
Tamika Catchings has now done it all on the basketball court.
The Indiana Fever defeated the Minnesota Lynx in four games giving both the Fever franchise and Tamika Catchings their first ever WNBA title. And, that distinction was the only thing missing in Catchings' storied career.
Video: Trophy Presentation
To the victor go the spoils.
Video: Game 4 Highlights
Indiana defeated Minnesota, 87-78, to clinch a WNBA championship.
Indiana wins its first-ever WNBA championship.
Tamika Catchings (25 points) and the Indiana Fever have won their first WNBA championship, defeating the defending champion Minnesota Lynx 87-78 in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Lindsay Whalen had 22 points for the Lynx.
Game 4 Halftime Report
Indiana is 20 minutes away from a title.
A 5-0 run in the last minute of the first half gave the Fever a 47-42 lead at halftime, their fourth halftime lead in as many games in this series.
Tamika Catchings has 13 points, four assists and four rebounds to lead the Fever. Erin Phillips has also provided a spark, scoring 13 points, including seven of the team's first 11 points. Shavonte Zellous, 10 points, rounds out the Fever players in double figures.
For Minnesota, it has been all Lindsay Whalen. She has a game-high 14 points and she has not missed a shot attempt -- she's made all five of her shots from the floor and all four from the free-throw line. She's also set up her teammates with some easy buckets as she has four assists.
Seimone Augustus, who missed her first seven shots, finished the half with six points on 2-for-13 shooting.
Fouls will likely play a factor in the second half. Catchings has three for Indiana and Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson have three for Minnesota.
It's going to be an exciting 20 minutes here in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Stay tuned!
The Final Word
Game 4 of the WNBA Finals will tip off shortly.
Here are tonight's starting lineups.
|INDIANA FEVER||MINNESOTA LYNX|
|G. Briann January||G. Lindsay Whalen|
|G. Erin Phillips||G. Seimone Augustus|
|G. Shavonte Zellous||F. Maya Moore|
|F. Tamika Catchings||F. Rebekkah Brunson|
|F. Erlana Larkins||F/C. Taj McWilliams-Franklin|
We are just minutes away from tip off of Game 4 of the WNBA Finals here at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Here is what some players and coaches had to say leading up to the game.
Fever coach Lin Dunn on how Indiana is approaching Game 4: "We have to play the game tomorrow night as if we lost. We have to have that same sense of urgency that we had after we lost Game 2. That�s how we have to approach tomorrow because they are going to come in with an enormous amount of intensity. Just like they did after we stole Game 1. So we have to be ready for that � they are not going to go away.�
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve on Indiana's toughness: "I'm not calling Indiana not talented. I think if you line up our team and you line up Indiana�s team, most people are going to pick our team if you�re going to go to battle. I think what Indiana has shown is just that, that hard work can overcome talent."
Minnesota's Maya Moore on what the Lynx not losing back-to-back games often can be attributed to: �The toughness of this team and us not wanting to go down without a fight. Just playing as who we are and getting back to that. That is who we�ve tried to be all season and we�ve got leaders that won�t let this team fall and get into that habit. It is a good thing for us. It is one game, we put ourselves in a position for an elimination game but the season isn�t over, we still have an opportunity to win and all we�re thinking about is tomorrow.�
Minnesota's Candice Wiggins is beginning to truly identify with who she really is.
Who is Candice Wiggins? A Basketball player? A Stanford grad? An insightful thinker? All these are true. But, as she's starting to realize, the most important layer of Wiggins may be that she is the daughter of Alan Wiggins.
Video: Lindsay Whalen Shootaround Interview
Ever wonder what Lindsay Whalen eats for breakfast the day of a big game?At WNBA.com, we do.
After a surprising Game 3, what are the teams saying as they prepare for Game 4?
At practice on Saturday afternoon, the Fever discussed their mindset now that they are only 40 minutes away from a title and also gave updates on their injured players.
Video: Tammy Sutton-Brown Practice Report
Hear directly from the 12-year vet looking for her first title.
Facts From Last Night: Game 3
Here are three things we learned from Indiana's impressive 76-59 victory in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.
Minny�s Big Three Came Up Small
It goes without saying that Minnesota, if it is going to stave off elimination on Sunday, it's going to need more out of their three Olympians � Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen. A trio with that much firepower has got to carry this team and on Friday night they combined for just 21 points on 8-for-24 shooting � they combined to average over 44 points a night in the regular season � and neither of them scored in double digits.
On the contrary, in Minnesota�s Game 2 victory, the Olympians combined for 64 points.
Did Indiana do anything different defensively?
�They just played hard,� Moore said of the Fever. �They were aggressive. They pretty much had the same game plan. I think it was more us not playing like we should have. They played exactly how they should have and we didn�t.�
Indiana knows that with experienced superstars like these three, that Game 3 on Sunday will be their toughest test yet and they will have to be even more prepared defensively.
�It all starts on the defensive end and that�s what we have to do,� Fever coach Lin Dunn said. �We have to be prepared to pick it up a notch or two. They have got three Olympians, Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, tremendous leadership, so they are not going to let this team give up.�
Reeve Motivates Again
During Game 2, Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve motivated her team by earning one of the most talked about technicals in the WNBA history.
After the game, she indirectly helped motivate the Fever post players as she was quoted as saying, �Obviously, we owned them on the glass,� in the postgame press conference.
For a response, the Fever outrebounded the Lynx, 39-30, in Game 3, including 15 more rebounds from Erlana Larkins.
�What I will say is that Coach Reeve�s comment about them owning us kind of upset me and it kind of motivated me a little bit,� Larkins said.
Dunn � who has rarely stopped talking about rebounding this week � had high praise for Larkins� performance.
�I think she was a little embarrassed that she got shoved around a bit in the second game in Minneapolis,� Dunn said of Larkins. �We just challenged her to use her strength and to use her power and just get on those boards. If she scored, great. If she didn�t that was fine, too. But just get those rebounds for us, and she did a super job, and she defended at a high level, too."
Indiana Can Pack An Arena, Too
In Minnesota, there was a lot of talk about the Target Center crowd and how it energized the Lynx.
On Friday, it seemed like the whole city of Indianapolis � including the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers � rallied around the team as over 18,000 fans, mostly dressed in red, packed the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
�I can�t say enough about the fans,� Dunn said. �The fans were super, screaming, hollering, all that red, I was getting dizzy. I loved it. It was wonderful.�
Three Indianapolis Colts players, including wide receiver Reggie Wayne, were seen at the game which essentially turned into a celebration for the Fever in the second half. It all amounted to what was a fun night for the Fever.
�We had a blast out there and I think you could see it,� Indiana guard Briann January. �The fans were just fueling us then entire night. We have the best fans in the league, by far, and it�s great to be on this stage and have them behind our backs and making this house go crazy.�
Video: Game 3 Recap
NBA TV gives a comprehensive look at Indiana's Game 3 victory.
Shavonte Zellous had fun on Friday night -- she also scored 30 points.
Thanks in large part to Shavonte Zellous' career-high 30 points on Friday night, the Fever are only 40 minutes away from a WNBA title.
Video: Game 3 Highlights
Watch how the Fever pulled off a runaway victory over the Lynx in Game 3 of the 2012 WNBA Finals.
Shavonte Zellous led the Fever to a dominating Game 3 victory on Friday.
Shavonte Zellous erupted for 30 points to lead the Fever to a 76-59 home victory over the Lynx in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals on Friday. Rebekkah Brunson led the Lynx with 12 points. The Fever hold a decisive 2-1 series lead and look to win the championship on Sunday at home.
Game 3 Halftime Report
Indiana has raced to a large lead in the first half.
For the third straight game the Lynx came out stagnant on offense, struggled shooting and turned the ball over too much, but this time the Fever didn't let them back in the game late in the second quarter. Behind 15 points from Shavonte Zellous and 13 from Tamika Catchings, the Fever have remarkably stormed out to a 45-27 lead in front of a raucous crowd here in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Name a stat and the Fever have dominated. 24-12 points in the paint. 12-6 fast break points. Three turnovers to Minnesota's nine.
Oh, and the Lynx are only shooting 33 percent from the field.
Down by 18, the Lynx may need more than a few emotional technicals to get them going in the second half this time. Save a last-second 3-pointer by Maya Moore before the halftime buzzer, the Lynx have not had any highlights, whereas the Fever have had many moments to energize this crowd, which is mostly wearing red.
We're 20 minutes away from one team having a 2-1 advantage in this series. Stay tuned and watch on ESPN2 or follow via live stats
Conference Semi Finals
Gm 1: MIN 78, SEA 70
Recap | Box | Video
Gm 2: SEA 86, MIN 79
Recap | Box | Video
Gm 3: MIN 73, SEA 72
Recap | Box | Video
Gm 1: Sun 76, Fever 64
Recap | Box
Gm 2: Fever 78, Sun 76
Recap | Box
Gm 3: Fever 87, Sun 71
Recap | Box