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More Than Words: A Statistical Look at Tamika Catchings

Just two days after she played in her ninth WNBA All-Star Game (and scored the game-winning bucket) this past July, Tamika Catchings turned 35 years old. She had missed the season's first 17 games with a sore back, and it'd stand to reason that after already accomplishing just about everything you can on a basketball court, that she could have spent the rest of the season on cruise control. Not Tamika Catchings.

The second half of the WNBA season -- and now the postseason -- has been anything but a swan song for the 13-year vet. In fact, it's been her inspired play that has kept the Fever alive and has them eyeing their second trip to WNBA Finals in three years.

There are a lot of words used to describe Catchings: Tenacious. Relentless. Legend. And all would be accurate. But now it's time to look at some of the numbers -- both from her career and from this season -- that prove her continued greatness.


In Game 2 of the Conference Semifinals against Washington, Tamika Catchings became the WNBA's all-time leader in Playoff scoring, passing Lisa Leslie. The historic bucket was on a clutch 3-pointer in overtime, no less. (Watch it here).

Catchings isn't known as a pure scorer -- likely because she also does everything else so well -- but this scoring milestone this season is coupled with her moving into third place all-time in regular season WNBA scoring history with 6,554 carer points.


Catchings provided some history in Game 1 of the Conference Semifinals as well when she also became the WNBA's all-time leader in Playoff rebounds, again surpassing Lisa Leslie. In the game, Catchings pulled down 10 rebounds, to go along with 22 points and seven steals in 28 minutes. It's worth noting, that Catchings was already the all-time leader in Playoff steals.

The fact that Catchings holds these marquee Playoff records speaks not only to her talent, but to her longevity and ability to win. In all, Catchings has played in 53 Playoff games (fourth all time) and won one WNBA title. She has led the Fever to the Eastern Conference Finals four straight years.


Tamika Catchings finished fourth in the league in Usage Percentage* (29.7) behind only 2014 MVP Maya Moore (30.4), Angel McCoughtry (30.1) and Elena Delle Donne (29.8).

To put this in perspective, Catchings NBA counterpart in this category would be Portlands LaMarcus Aldridge who finished the 2013-14 season with a Usage Rate of 29.8 (MVP Kevin Durant led the league with 33.0).

*Usage Rate is an estimate of the percentage of a teams plays that are used by a player while she was on the floor. A possession can end in three ways: 1) a field goal attempt; 2) a Free throws; and 3) a Turnover. The formula looks at a players combination of field goal attempts, free throw attempts, and turnovers and finds the percentage of the team totals she uses in those same categories.


Cathchings also finished fourth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating* (26.0) behind only Moore (29.4), Delle Donne (28.4) and Candace Parker (26.1).

Catchings NBA equivalent would be Sacramentos DeMarcus Cousins who finished the 2013-14 season with a Player Efficiency Rating of 26.1 (MVP Kevin Durant led the NBA with a 29.8 PER).

*The Player Efficiency Rating is a per-minute rating that was originally developed by former columnist, current Memphis Grizzlies exec, John Hollinger. The Rating attempts to give a per minute rating of a players performance by summing up a players positive on-court accomplishments (FGs, FTs, 3s, assists, etc.) while subtracting the negative on-court accomplishments (Missed FGs, turnovers, fouls, etc).