The Indiana Fever’s bid for a WNBA championship ended in Auburn Hills, Mich. this weekend, as the team was swept by the Detroit Shock in two consecutive games.
Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings was knocked to the deck and rendered unconscious briefly during the second game of the playoffs, which the Shock won, 98-83.
Despite not making the conference championships, the Fever learned several things during the season. They learned that rebuilding can lead to more wins. The Fever won a franchise-high number of games despite numerous offseason moves made last year.
And they learned that Tamika Whitmore is one hell of a player. She scored 41 points, a WNBA playoff record, in Game Two, almost singlehandedly carrying the team during the game’s final two quarters.
More than that, her scrappy play and leadership on and off the court have re-established her as one of the dominant forces in the league. She finished second in the voting for the league’s Most Improved Player, but could easily have won the award.
The Fever had a chance to advance in the playoffs, but committing a league-record 35 fouls didn’t help their cause, nor did the four technical fouls they received in the decisive Game Two.
Catchings returned to the game in the fourth quarter but was a non-factor.
The focus now shifts to the league’s conference finals, where favorites Connecticut will take on Detroit. By far the league’s best team, the Sun should have little problem dispatching Detroit.
“Everybody at the start of the year was looking at a Detroit-Connecticut matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals. We're there, we'll see what happens in the other series,” Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer said after Saturday’s game.
Meanwhile, the Fever look to build upon their successes this year, possibly upgrade the squad’s few weaknesses and hope to overcome the playoff obstacle for the 2007 season.
As always, the official source for news and information about the team can be found at wnba.com/fever.