Catch the Fever: Indiana wins WNBA title
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The Indiana Fever captured their first WNBA title on Sunday by knocking off the defending champion Minnesota Lynx with a balanced scoring attack.
Four Fever players reached double figures in Game 4's 87-78 victory as Indiana completed its memorable championship run.
Despite losing their second-leading scorer, Katie Douglas, to an ankle injury while upending top-seeded Connecticut in the East Conference finals, the Fever had all the answers in solving the Lynx's deep roster.
Tamika Catchings recorded 25 points and eight assists in the clincher, Erin Phillips netted 18 points and Shavonte Zellous and Briann January each chipped in 15 for Indiana, which forced 12 turnovers and shut down Seimone Augustus.
Augustus, last year's Finals MVP, shot a woeful 3-of-21 from the floor and finished with eight points.
"I'm so thankful for our players. They've worked so hard," Fever head coach Lin Dunn said. "And I can't say enough about the crowd. ... When you talk about Hoosier basketball, this is exactly what you think of."
Minnesota, which was trying to become the first team to repeat since the Los Angeles Sparks accomplished the feat in 2001-02, was led by Lindsay Whalen's 22 points and eight assists.
"They played good defense, contended shots and made it tough for us to get in the lane," Whalen said. "We give them credit for the way they played."
The Fever controlled the tempo throughout, never trailed after the first quarter and brought a 63-58 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Maya Moore hit a turnaround jumper off an offensive rebound to cut the deficit to 70-67 with 6:26 remaining, but the Lynx went the next four minutes without scoring.
Phillips extended the margin with a driving layup, and on the next possession penetrated and kicked to Zellous for an open 3-pointer and an eight-point cushion.
Moore, who finished with 16 points, drained a 3-pointer a little later to pull Minnesota within 77-72, but traveled on the next possession.
January countered with a make from behind the arc, and the Fever made enough free throws down the stretch to seal the biggest win in franchise history.
Douglas was on the court when the buzzer sounded after being subbed in with 3.2 seconds remaining. The capacity crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse gave the fan favorite a standing ovation, and again erupted when Catchings was awarded the Finals MVP award.
"This journey has been full of ups-and-downs...but today we stand with happy faces," said a joyous Catchings. "Everyone contributed and it has ended on such a surreal note."
10/22 00:22:23 ET