The year may be different but so far the story has remained the same. For the fourth straight year the Indiana Fever find themselves just one loss away from being eliminated from the WNBA playoffs by their biggest rivals, the Detroit Shock. While the Indianapolis based basketball team finished the regular season with a record of 22-12, best in the WNBA Eastern Conference, some experts say that Detroit is the hottest team in all the league right now, having won 12 of their last 14.
At this point we can forget about the records and who has been the hottest over the last several weeks, the issue at hand goes much deeper than that. In a put up or shut up game 2 tonight, the Fever either win or start thinking about next year, again. If you did not catch game 1 on Wednesday read this to get caught up. For the rest of us, lets talk about what needs to happen in order for the Circle City girls to push this series to a third and final game.
First of all, Indiana needs to regain their defensive presence they had in the first half of game 1, which saw them running up and down the court with fast break mismatches the Shock could not defend. This will be essential to a Fever’s win because they do not possess the kind of half-court offense that can win out over Detroit’s staunchly defense. The good news is that this is not a foreign concept for the Fever, this is the style of play that got them the #1 seed in this year’s playoffs. The bad news is the last 20 minutes of game 1 saw Detroit clamp down and frustrate Indiana’s run and gun.
Also, Detroit has tried to keep the Fever’s best player Tamika Catchings under wraps by double teaming her on the offensive side of the court. During game 1 the doubles were mostly coming from Tull Bevilaqua’s defender. This means that Tully will need to find her stroke early on in Friday night’s game and force the Shock to respect her offensive presence.
The Fever are also going to need big numbers from Tammy Sutton-Brown and Purdue University standout Katie Douglas. Douglas, a born and raised Hoosier, signed with her hometown team in the hopes that she would be missing piece of their championship puzzle. She will need another performance like game 1’s where she had an Indiana game high total of 16 points if the Fever are to have any chance.
Indiana’s defense will also have to come up big tonight. Not only do the Fever rely on their defense to shut down the opponents, but it is also the catalyst that jump starts their fast break offense. They will have to find way to shut down the likes of both Deanna Nolan and Shavonte Zellous who went for 22 and 23 points respectively for the Shock in game 1.
Finally they need to let Detroit know where they are. They need to feed off the excitement of the crowd and show why home-court advantage is such a big deal. This final part falls on you Indy. Tonight is the night you get up and get out, make your way to Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis and show your Indianapolis sports WNBA franchise that you’ve got their back. The game starts at 7 p.m. and funcityfinder.com will be there, the real question is will you?