INDIANAPOLIS – Tamika Catchings finally won her long-awaited WNBA championship.
She scored 25 points to help the Indiana Fever win their first title with an 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.
Catchings, who was the MVP of the Finals, averaged 24.8 points in the series, which the Fever won 3-1 over the defending WNBA champions.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” said Catchings tearing up. “We’ve had ups and downs, ins and outs.”
Erin Phillips added 18 points and eight rebounds while Shavonte Zellous and Briann January each had 15 points.
The Fever won even though No. 2 scorer Katie Douglas missed most of the series with a severely sprained left knee. Douglas checked in with 3.2 seconds left to a loud ovation.
“We sure didn’t make it easy,” Douglas said. “We went three games with Atlanta, three games with Connecticut. This team played amazing in these Finals.”
Catchings had won three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA championship at Tennessee in 1998, but never a WNBA title. She had been in a position to clinch at home before. The Fever led Phoenix 2-1 in the best-of-5 WNBA Finals in 2009, but the Mercury beat the Fever 90-77, took the series back to Phoenix and won the title at home in Game 5.
This time, Catchings took it home with college coach Pat Summitt looking on in the crowd.
Seimone Augustus, Minnesota’s leading scorer in the playoffs, was held to eight points on 3-for-21 shooting. Lindsay Whalen scored 22 points and Moore added 16 points for the Lynx.