Winning a championship in professional sports is always a daunting task, as you need talent, determination and certainly good health. The Indiana Fever had the first two ingredients as they entered the fray of defending their WNBA title recently with a road victory over San Antonio without the services of three of their regulars.
The list of players injured includes veteran center Jessica Davenport who is out with a tibia stress fracture, as well as guards Erin Phillips and Jeanette Pohlen. Phillips, who was instrumental in the championship run had arthroscopic surgery recently for a torn meniscus in her knee. Pohlen also underwent went knee surgery, limiting the Fever to just nine players dressed in the triumph over the Silver Stars in their season opener.
While veterans Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, and Shavonte Zellous return for the title defense, Indiana is indeed under pressure to do the job initially without all of their resources. Despite the injuries, the Fever brass is expecting good results.
“It’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish it,” offered Fever President and General Manager, Kelly Krauskopf.
Head coach Lin Dunn echoed the same sentiment. “We will play the hand we are dealt,” said Dunn, offering no excuses and adding the level of expectations for success remains the same.
For the Fever to remain the hunted, they will have to have contributions each and every night from their entire roster, and not simply rely on their stars as many teams might attempt to do. Veterans Erlana Larkins and Briann January will join rookie Layshia Clarendon as part of an integral group that will ultimately be looked upon to hold down the fort while those on the injured list fully recover.
Notes: The Fever received big time performances from three of their starters in their 79-64 season opening victory at San Antonio. Tamika Catchings picked up from where she left off last season and scored 19 points. Katie Douglas matched that total and Shavonte Zellous added 18 as Indiana dominated the second half.
As you may recall, the “Ladies Of Summer” were unable to have a championship parade due to weather conditions. They made that up in part when they served as the Grand Marshall for the 2013 IPL 500 Festival Parade last week. They wore championship shirts and received numerous standing ovations all along the parade route.
Fever players and coaches recently participated in local efforts to benefit Habitat For Humanity, helping to construct two barns and painting the entire interior of a home in a single day.
The team will receive their well deserved championship rings prior to their home opener on May 31 in a special pre game ceremony that begin at 6:40 p.m. There are still some remaining tickets available and can be obtained at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office or at Ticketmaster.com
The Fever again will offer special family night promotions on selected games this season, which for just $19 you will receive a game ticket, T-shirt and food and drinks. Log on to Fever.com to learn more about the details and specific dates.
Danny Bridges can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd.com.