Indiana Fever have claimed their first WNBA championship by dethroning Minnesota Lynx 87-78 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and winning the series 3-1.
Three-time Olympic gold medallist and NCAA championship winner Tamika Catchings grabbed the Finals MVP honours by leading her side with 25 points on the night and averging 22.3 points in the series, solidifying her status as one of women’s basketball’s greats.
Erin Phillips supported Catchings with 18 points in a fantastic team performance as they held Minnesota to below 40 percent shooting throughout the series. Lindsay Whalen led the Lynx with 22 points.
In a first quarter dominated by free throw shooting, an Erlana Larkins turnaround with 26 seconds remaining gave Fever a 25-18 lead at the end of the first but the visitors hit back, Semone Augustus, who has had a difficult series away from Minnesota showed a rare flash as her drivinng lay-up narrowed the gap to 37-36 mid-way through the second as the home crowd in Indiana started getting a little nervous.
Catchings though led Indiana through the tough spell and they led 47-42 at the half.
A three from Australian Philliips extended the lead to 50-42 to start the third and the sense that Indiana would hang on was evident. They extended their lead in the fourth quarter as the fans began to sense it too. A three from Shavonte Zellous in the left-hand corner gave the hosts a 75-67 lead with 4:58 remaining.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve as called for technical with under a minute remaining and the MVP herself stepped up to knock the foul shot home as the fans started celebrating.