Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

WNBA’s Catchings, powerhouse on both sides of the court, ‘fights’ for first championship

Tamika Catchings is arguably the most efficient player in the WNBA on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. But she’s never won a WNBA championship.

She has won five WNBA Defensive Player of the Year awards since entering the league in 2001 and joining the Indiana Fever. She was the league MVP in 2011 and has been named to seven All-Star teams while also being the WNBA’s all-time leader in steals and free throws made.

The former Tennessee Volunteer has won every championship possible for any basketball player, with her latest title being her third Olympic gold medal.

“When you look at it from a standpoint of having all the individual accomplishments but looking at it in the big picture and wanting a team accomplishment, this is it,” Catchings said in a Sports Illustrated interview.

The road to the 2012 WNBA finals has not been easy for the Fever, who are returning to the championship for the first time since 2009. The team beat the defending Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream in the first round of the playoffs before going on to beat the Connecticut Sun in an exciting series in the conference championship.

After earning the eastern conference title, Catchings shared her thoughts on going into the finals.

“Thursday night [against Connecticut] was the first time we’ve won an elimination game on the road in eight consecutive years in the playoffs,” Catchings wrote on an ESPNW blog. “We’re definitely all about firsts this time around.”

The Fever shocked many WNBA fans as they defeated defending champions the Minnesota Lynx in the first game of this year’s finals. Catchings led her team with 20 points and six rebounds.

The team was without leading scorer Katie Douglas who is nursing a sprained ankle, but Catchings and the Fever still have a championship to win.

“We are not here to just be in the finals,” Catchings said. “We are here for a great opportunity, and both teams, we both want it bad. So every game is going to be just like this game. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be hard-nosed.”

The Lynx are considered the favorite to defend their title, but that task will not be easy with Catchings leading the other team. Head coach Lin Dunn called Catchings a “marked woman” during the eastern conference finals, and teammates realize the baggage that comes along with being an elite player in the WNBA.

“She’s Tamika Catchings; everyone knows she’s Tamika Catchings,” Fever point guard Briann January said. “They’re not going to make anything easy for her. That’s what it is.”

Catchings is focused, and her desire is impeccable. There’s not much else the team needs from its star player as it gears up to fight for the ultimate prize.


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