One of the signature franchises in the WNBA, the Indiana Fever have made franchise history by earning their tenth consecutive playoff berth. A must-win against the New York Liberty saw Briann January lead the way with 16 points, contributing seven in the first quarter. All-Star Tamika Catchings posted 15 in the Fever’s 76-63 victory. Of note, the Liberty were led by league legend Tina Charles with a 15 point output.
A key factor in the win was attributed to the Fever’s strong defense. Holding the Liberty to a measly 39 percent shooting percentage, the Fever managed a 46-21 advantage at halftime. In addition, New York had committed 13 turnovers in the first half.
Despite finishing the regular season with a losing record, the past few years in sport have proven that upsets are highly possible. While the first round playoff matchup (presented by Boost Mobile) involves a tilt versus the , the Fever cannot be taken lightly.
For the last three years, the Fever qualified for the Eastern Conference Finals, including a Finals victory in 2012 against Minnesota. Catchings, one of five Fever players from the 2012 championship team, has played in every playoff game in Fever history. As the league’s all-time leader in postseason steals and free throws (her postseason rebounds rank second all-time), she will likely emerge as another factor in this year’s postseason, making the Fever a dark horse.
Taking into account that head coach Lin Dunn (a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame) will likely retire at season’s end; there is a strong emotional component to the squad’s playoff run. Her 20 career playoff victories rank first among WNBA female head coaches. On the all-time career playoff wins list, she ranks fourth. Ironically, New York head coach Bill Laimbeer is the all-time leader with 28 wins.
Regardless of the postseason outcome, the Fever’s tenth consecutive playoff berth matches a league record set by the Seattle Storm from 2004-13. In their 15-year history, the club has managed 11 postseason berths and two trips to the WNBA Finals (2009 and 2012).