• Fever host Dream tonight for right to move on to WNBA Finals

    September 27, 2011 No comments

    Days after being named the WNBA’s most valuable player, the Indiana Fever’s Tamika Catchings had to be carried off the court after suffering a foot injury.

    The Fever may be without their star player when they host the Atlanta Dream tonight with a spot in the finals on the line.

    Atlanta forced a decisive Game 3 in the Eastern Conference finals with a 94-77 home win Sunday after Indiana recorded an 82-74 victory in Game 1 on Thursday.

    As the Fever try to bounce back, they are uncertain whether Catchings will be available. She left Sunday’s game with 4:54 remaining after landing on Alison Bales’ foot while attempting to defend Bales’ shot.

    While coach Lin Dunn wasn’t certain if Catchings will play tonight, she said the good news was that the injury wasn’t to Catchings’ Achilles’ tendon. Catchings tore her right Achilles’ in the 2007 playoffs and missed part of the next season.

    The seven-time All-Star averaged 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season. She helped Indiana secure home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs with the best record in the East.

    While Catchings’ absence would mean greater pressure on Katie Douglas, who is averaging 20.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the playoffs, Douglas refused to think about how her role could change.

    For a lesson in overcoming the loss of a key player, the Fever only have to look to their current opponent. Atlanta’s victory Sunday came after starting center Erika de Souza left the team to play for Brazil in an Olympic qualifying tournament in Colombia.

    Fellow Brazilian Iziane Castro Marques replaced her in the starting lineup and scored a season-high 30 points while Angel McCoughtry added 27.

    With de Souza out, the Dream used a smaller, faster lineup to great success. They shot 54.9 percent and forced 19 turnovers.

    Atlanta is looking to get back to the WNBA finals after being swept in three games by Seattle last year. Indiana reached the finals in 2009, losing in five to Phoenix.

    The winner advances to face Minnesota, which eliminated Phoenix on Sunday.

    The Fever said even if Catchings is unavailable, they hope to use the home-court advantage they earned during the regular season. Indiana is 3-0 in the playoffs on its own court.

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