Print and Go Back ESPN.com: espnW [Print without images]

Friday, October 12, 2012
It’s time to focus on Minnesota

By Tamika Catchings

Tamika Catchings
Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever advanced to the Finals on Thursday.

There’s nothing better than celebrating a big win at Bobby’s Burger Palace! Just kidding … but when you’re looking for a place to eat at midnight, your options are slim. Of course, we were so thankful to have something to celebrate that any kind of food sounded good to us!

Just before our triumphant trip to the Burger Palace, we clinched our place in the WNBA Finals after a really great series against Connecticut. We don’t often get to look at a loss as a good thing, but after falling to Atlanta in the first game of the conference semis, it turns out we were that much more prepared to come back from a one-game deficit against the Suns.

When Katie [Douglas] went down with an ankle injury early in that final game, each player on the team -- from one all the way to 11 -- stepped up big-time. At this point, we don’t know anything about her prognosis, so we’ll just continue to lift up prayers. Knowing the person that she is, I have no doubt she’ll be ready to go come game time.

As far as my play goes, I really credit my teammates for helping my find my rhythm after a slow start in the playoffs. When you constantly have people telling you to forget the last shot and focus on the next one, you start to believe you can turn things around. I also had my shooting coach, Marvin Harvey (aka Doc), come into town between Games 1 and 2. After working with me for six years, he definitely knows how to help me make adjustments.

Now it’s time to focus on Minnesota. The Lynx may be the defending champions, but I also feel like we’re a much more mature team than we were when we made it to the Finals in 2009. There aren’t many people who thought we would get this far in the first place, so it really takes the pressure off. Plus, Thursday night was the first time we’ve won an elimination game on the road in eight consecutive years in the playoffs (our media guy is really good at telling us stats like that!). We’re definitely all about “firsts” this time around.

Leading up to Game 1 on Sunday, I’ll be trying to relax and stay off my feet as much as possible. Focusing on my faith also really helps me to stay calm before I compete. I get lots of Scripture and motivational quotes from fans, which I appreciate. I’ll definitely be spending some quality time with the team, as well. Some might be surprised, but we legitimately get along with each other.

And I may or may not be looking to see if there’s an Outback nearby in Minneapolis. If so, there will definitely be some cheese fry and steak consumption in the near future. Seriously, nothing can compare to those cheese fries!

Joking aside, we believe in our ability, and I know we’ll be ready to execute on Sunday night. We want to bring that championship trophy home to our fans in Indy!