MINNEAPOLIS – The Indiana Fever prides itself in a lot of things. Defense. The ability to get the looks it wants offensively. Attention to detail. Oh, and its bench. The Indiana Fever boast a bench laden with players that can contribute when called upon.
They wouldn’t have gotten to the WNBA Finals without a solid rotation. If you ask Tamika Catchings, she’ll be the first to state a mantra that has been a theme all season for Indiana.
“Twelve deep,” said the Fever forward. “Everybody that comes in has to be all in. Everybody that comes in, you have to give everything that you have. And the fact that all season long, everybody has been playing, so it’s not like all of the sudden you’re sitting on the bench and now we need you to play. [Coach White] has done a really good job making sure everybody is incorporated in whatever we have going on. And so now you’ve been put in a position to be successful.”
That bench is comprised of a combination of experience and youth. Shavonte Zellous and Jeannette Pohlen were both members of the Fever’s 2012 championship squad that knocked off the Lynx in four games. They’re joined by guard Layshia Clarendon, forward Natasha Howard, rookie center Natalie Achonwa, guard Maggie Lucas and forward Lynetta Kizer.
That unit prides itself in its role – both on the court and in practice. They understand that they are the players responsible for helping get the starters prepared for their next opponent. In fact, they’ve embraced their role so much that they’ve coined a nickname for themselves — “the white mob” — based on the white jerseys they wear in practice.
“We just want to get them as prepared as possible for whatever they’re going to come up against,” said Pohlen, “and that’s kind of our M.O. We kind of just take on those roles of the team that we’re playing and just run to the best of our abilities.”
“It’s huge,” January said of the unit. “Luckily for us, we’ve played our bench the whole season. They have the experience. Everybody’s come in a game and won a game for us throughout the course of this season, so everybody has the confidence — one through 12 — to come in, do what they do and do it well. We know everybody has the ability to come in and take us up to the next level; it just depends on whose day it is.”