Thank you, Indiana, for extending the WNBA season for fans (even though you gave’em all agita in the last 7 minutes.)
Marissa Coleman and Shenise Johnson weren’t along on the drive to the Indiana Fever’s 2012 WNBA championship. If the Fever add another title, those two will have supplied much of the fuel.
Johnson scored 15 points and Coleman 14, and the Fever defeated the Minnesota Lynx 75-69 Sunday night to even the WNBA Finals at two wins apiece.
Attendance was 10,582 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Before the game, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve told her team. Warned them, basically. If you don’t play defense this series won’t end Sunday night.
They didn’t. And it didn’t.
See you Wednesday.
More Kent: Lynx lose a game and an opportunity
Cheryl Reeve begged and pleaded and flailed her arms. The Lynx coach shed her jacket in frustration and had a constant expression of bewilderment.
She probably didn’t recognize the team on the floor, not for much of the night anyway.
The two-time champions looked frazzled in a way that felt unusual in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.
As I grow older, I do see the connection — that ability to refocus,” the Indiana Fever point guard said. “Especially when you’re in tense situations, to be able to calm yourself. When it comes to toughness, focus, discipline … there’s a lot of things I’ve learned through martial arts that I’ve carried through to basketball.”
OK, that explains January’s mindset. But how exactly is this entire Indiana Fever franchise able to keep on doing this crazy “you can’t kill us” thing? Because Sunday night, on the brink of elimination, the Fever won. Again. How do they do it? Hey, it’s just the Fever way.
Melissa Issacson (welcome to the fold!): Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota Lynx frustrated with Game 4 loss
Cheryl Reeve’s jacket doesn’t have its own Twitter account [WHB: I could have sworn it did], but it probably should. While Sunday night’s exhibition might not have reached the standard of Sean Rodriguez and the Gatorade cooler — and fell short of Game 2 of the 2012 WNBA Finals when Reeve threw her suit coat so hard after a technical foul that she later had to have her right shoulder evaluated — this one wasn’t too shabby.
Shenise Johnson scored 15 points and Marissa Coleman added 14 to help the Fever beat the Minnesota Lynx 75-69 on Sunday night, forcing a decisive Game 5 in the WNBA Finals. Indiana is 5-0 in elimination games this postseason.
“Every single person that had gotten in, we’ve played for each other,” Catchings said. “We don’t want it to be done yet.”
“We’ve had our backs against the wall this entire playoffs, we’ve responded well and have been able to come away with wins,” said Marissa Coleman, who scored 14 points for the Fever.
Indiana is 9-2 in elimination games starting with its run to the 2012 championship when the Fever beat Minnesota.
“We have the heart of a champion — and Tamika Catchings,” Fever coach Stephanie White said. “I really love this team.”
“It’s our focus, we always come together at the right time,” Catchings said. “We’re inspired by one another, every single person who has gotten in, we play for each other. One thing people talk about is how many points people score, and I talk about the little things, and it’s great to pass the torch. If every single day you have the mentality you are great, then nobody will stop you. You continue to see the confidence of the team get higher and higher, we have a lot of first timers, and you want to build off of that.”
Bob Kravitz: Catchings refuses to let the Fever lose — again
Tamika Catchings knows the clock is ticking on her Hall of Fame career, knows this kind of opportunity to win a WNBA title may never come around again after Wednesday’s much-anticipated Game 5 at the Target Center.(And how appropriate that this classic series should be coming down to a Game 5?) So, one day after being down in the dumps after what she described as one of her worst games ever in a Game 3 loss, she showed up at Bankers Life the next day with her spirit and his smile fully intact. And she made it clear to her teammates:
“We’re going to win this one,’’ she said. “We’re going to win.’’
When it was over, the speakers were playing “Celebration” and the Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd of 10,582 was screaming happily and Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings was waving goodbye to the crowd, goodbye until next season anyway, and repeating these two words:
No, the crowd was shrieking in return.
No, Tamika. Thank you.
More than that, though, she’s contagious. Catchings’s tenacity inspires and galvanizes her teammates, launching her Indiana Fever past better-known and more heralded teams into the WNBA Finals this season. It’s not so much that the Fever play as one as it is that they all play like Catchings: they are infused with the spirit of the moment. Double teams are rushed toward like they are salvation; every shot and every pass is contested, always. There is a reason why Catchings’s teams are 9-2 in elimination games following Sunday night’s 75-69 win to force a decisive Game 5 in the WNBA Finals against the Minnesota Lynx.
After Game 1 of the 2015 WNBA Finals series, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve reminded people that it was the first 40 minutes of a 200 minute series. Her words were prophetic as the Indiana Fever staved off a late charge by the visiting Minnesota Lynx, winning Game 4 by a score of 75-69 in front of an announced crowd of 10,582 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday, to push the series to a decisive Game 5.
Foul trouble was the name of the game again in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.
Sylvia Fowles battled foul trouble from go, and the Fever executed a textbook strategy, claiming a 75-69 win.
Both teams struggled with foul trouble in Game 3, but this time Tamika Catchings remained on the floor with no fouls. And that could have been the key for the Fever to keep their championship hopes alive.
Tamika Catchings, Briann January, Erlana Larkins and Shavonte Zellous had the spotlight in the 2012 WNBA Finals against the Minnesota Lynx.
Three years later, Shenise Johnson and Marissa Coleman will join the champions and enter the light.
“[Last night] I’m looking to Catch. I’m looking to Bri. I’m looking to Steph. And they do a great job of putting us in position to make good decisions,” said Johnson. “We have good relationships with each other. And when you have that, the trust is unlimited.”
The most eye-catching problem has to start with Sylvia Fowles’ foul trouble. Fowles played less than twenty minutes in the game after picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter, then lasting only a couple of minutes in each of the second and third quarters before picking up more fouls. She finished the game with five points and five rebounds, and was a complete non-factor.
Friendly Bounce: Last night in the WNBA Playoffs
The outcome was not what Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve desired in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals 2015 presented by Boost Mobile, but the significance of what lies ahead is not lost on her.
Even with Sunday’s loss, she still has her team on the brink of a WNBA championship. But so does Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White. Both coaches have brilliantly guided their teams throughout this postseason, and now it’s set to culminate in a winner-take-all Game 5 in the Target Center Wednesday night (8PM ET, ESPN).
Poll: Who ya got?
This story makes me wish we’d had a Lib-Minny Finals – Who wouldn’t want to see a dance off between the Timeless Torches and the Senior Dancers? Senior Dancers are a crowd favorite at Lynx, Wolves games – The wildly popular Senior Dancers help attract fans to Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves games.
And sure, I’d love to advocate for a “Best of 3,” Best of 5,” “Best of 7” format – as soon as the stands are full enough to convince the arenas that the WNBA playoffs are more lucrative than “Disney on Ice.”