The Indiana Fever regained home-court advantage in their best of three series with the Detroit Shock last night with a 79-75 victory in game 2. It looked as though it was going to be a long night for the Indiana Fever who, after only a few minutes into the first quarter, were down to the Detroit Shock by a score of 8-2. It was not so much that the Indiana squad was already losing, it was that Detroit was scoring on uncontested layups, seemingly at will. But the Fever faithful who packed Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis last night wouldn’t give up on their team that easily.
To be clear, this was not just a good crowd for a WNBA game or even a WNBA Eastern Conference Finals game. These fans were excited, loud and on their feet throughout. They let the Shock know early that they would have to deal with Indiana’s 6th (wo)Man, the crowd. . Hoosiers from all over the state came out in force and could be heard in every corner of downtown Indianapolis.
The contest was hard fought for the full 40 minutes, with the home team on top most of the way. However, there were several times in the second half that the Circle City team could have extend the lead and put the game away, but did not.
The good news for the Indiana Fever is that Tamika Catchings, who was held in check for most of the first game in Detroit, came out firing on all cylinders. Through her actions she let her teammates know that it would not be OK to lose yet again to the Shock. She had just her ordinary monster game, ending with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 assists. Another bright spot for Indiana was the play of Briann January. She came off the bench and provided the spark that put the Fever on top for good in the second half.
The bad news for the Fever is the amount of rebounds they allowed Detroit to get, many on the offensive side of the ball. The Shock out rebounded Indiana 48-37 leading to many second chance points that kept the game close. Another issue that made the final score closer than it needed to be was the poor free-throw shooting displayed by the home team. The worst transgressor was normally sure shooting Katie Douglas who went 3-8 from the charity strip. These free points have to fall tonight if the Fever want to eliminate the reigning champs ,and move onto its first WNBA finals in franchise history.
Speaking of Indiana franchises, Mr. Legend himself, Larry Bird made a huge statement about just how important both the Fever and Saturday night’s game 3 are to this city. In one of the classiest moves in recent sports history, the Indiana Pacers president of operations bought out the entire balcony section of Conseco Fieldhouse and gave all the tickets away for free. Lines of Fever faithful showed up at the Conseco’s box-office this morning to collect their free ticket and hopefully witness Indianapolis sports history tonight.
While it is hard to pick against a team who is both the reigning WNBA champions and the cause of the Fever’s last three playoff dismissals, we feel Detroit may have blown their chance last night. I don’t know if they have ever played in an environment like Conseco Fieldhouse is going to be tonight. To expound on that thought, I don’t know if the WNBA has ever seen a scene like tonight will present. No matter where you are in Indy, come 7 p.m. you should find yourself in front of a TV and hopefully watching history in the making.