espnW: Indiana Fever
One week from today, on Sept. 19, the WNBA playoffs will tip off with eight teams shooting to become the league’s 17th champion. In the East, Elena Delle Donne and the Chicago Sky have clinched the top seed. Joining them will be the Atlanta Dream, the defending champion Indiana Fever and the Washington Mystics. In the West, Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx will be the No. 1 seed. Also clinching spots are the Los Angeles Sparks, the Phoenix Mercury (with Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi) and the Seattle Storm. The Fever will be looking to become the first back-to-back champions since Los Angeles in 2001-02.
A lot of people would say their teams are close-knit, everyone’s friendly and they are their home away from home, but Indiana is different. I’ve been a member of the Indiana Fever since I was drafted out of Arizona State in 2009. A West Coast-er through and through, I packed my bags and moved more than 1,500 miles to the great Midwestern city of Indianapolis about three years ago hoping one day to be standing where I am today.
I knew three years ago I was coming into a phenomenal franchise with the Indiana Fever. Players like my teammate Tamika Catchings make you want to be better and teach you so much, but a lot of hard work goes behind getting to where the Fever are right now. We practice for hours and watch film over and over again, but we would not be here today if we had done it all alone.
If I’ve learned one thing about the people in this city over the past three years, it’s that they revel in our highs and buoy us in our lows. We have a real community of support, whether it’s my neighbor telling me what a good game we had when I go out to get the morning paper or Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts telling us how much they believe in our team.
Everyone probably says they have the best fans, but in Indianapolis, I don’t think we have the best fans -- I know we have the best fans. They rock Bankers Life Fieldhouse for us and are amazing as our sixth woman out there on the court. My teammates and I cannot wait to see them rock the red again Sunday night!
Being able to participate in the WNBA FIT Dribble to Stop Diabetes clinic Saturday with the American Diabetes Association and Sanofi US as a part of the WNBA Finals was such a great time to add to the mix of experiences I’ve had with the Fever. The kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis were so excited to be here and their genuine enthusiasm really gets me going. They are our next generation of not only fans but community, and it makes me want to bring home that big trophy even more.
All in all, my teammates and I have been through a lot over the past few years. We’ve been to the Finals and have had to come home empty-handed, and we don’t want to do that again. We’ve been working on getting back here since the day we lost and we’re going to keep working until we bring a championship home.
We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles with injuries and losing players, but it just builds our camaraderie and makes us closer as a unit. We are teammates, we are confidantes, we are mentors and mentees and we are friends. Together with our fans and the city of Indianapolis, we are one big community and we want to thank you, Fever Faithful. I couldn’t be more proud and more ready to bring that championship trophy home for all of you!!
Let’s go out today and show the Lynx what we mean by #FeverFinals!!!!!