Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White has gone to the drawing board twice this postseason to gameplan for two incredibly talented opponents. First, it was Elena Delle Donne and the Chicago Sky in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Then it was Tina Charles, Epiphanny Prince and the New York Liberty.
For her efforts, an ever larger task lies ahead. White and her coaching staff have to gameplan for Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx in the upcoming WNBA Finals 2015 presented by Boost Mobile. The Lynx bested the Fever during the regular season, but if the postseason has shown us anything, it’s that the regular season means nothing at this stage of the schedule.
The Fever got the looks they wanted on the offensive end against the Sky and even managed to find ways to slow Delle Donne for parts of the series. Against the Liberty, Indiana rode Tamika Catchings’ back, locked in defensively and bested the No. 1 overall seed.
Starting this Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ABC), the Fever will compete for the right to be called the WNBA champs, but before they get to that point they’ll have to first find a way to stop a Lynx team that has plowed through the postseason. They’ve yet to lose a game in the Playoffs, and Minnesota will surely be looking to exact revenge against Indiana for that 2012 WNBA Finals loss.
In fact, much of the two teams feature the same players as those 2012 squads. With that being the case, WNBA.com recently caught up with some players from the Fever and asked them just how hard it is to beat the Lynx and how well the Fever matchup.
Shenise Johnson: “Maya Moore and the Lynx. You’ve got Sylvia Fowles, though, of course. But we’re going to go to the drawing board and we’re going to focus on the Indiana Fever. We know they’re a good team, otherwise they wouldn’t be where they are right now. You’ve got Seimone Augustus – she’s back healthy. So, they’re going to have that one-two punch that they’ve had in the past. But they’re kind of similar to New York, I feel like, because they have those offensive rebounders, but we’re going to have to limit them to one shot. But our coaches are going to come up with a great game plan and we’re going to try to execute it.”
Layshia Clarendon: “I think we match up really well. We’ve always played them tough. I mean, that’s who they beat in the [2012 WNBA Finals], so it’s going to be a rematch, but there’s always kind of been a rivalry between the two teams. We match up really well. They have big guards, so they try to force a lot of switching. I think it’s always a battle in the paint, and we know Maya is Maya, so it’s going to kind of be that battle. But I think we matchup really well.”
Tamika Catchings: “It’s going to be a fun series. Obviously, they’re a great team. All-Stars, Olympians, first pick – you get a little bit of everything with them. I think for us, that’s the cool thing about our team, is none of us, I’m not even a first pick. We’re kind of a team that was thrown together. But we have that passion, we have that love. We have that desire and will, and we understand that it does take all 12 of us to win. I think sometimes, rather than having four or five players you can rely on to do everything, when you have 12 players you can rely on, sometimes it’s better.”
Briann January: “Like New York, they’re super athletic, they pound the boards, they play physical, they get up and down the court. They have one through 12 All-Americans on their team. It’s going to be tough. They are very talented. They do a great job of moving the ball, sharing the ball and playing together. They have great pieces and we’re going to have to come together as a team to win.”