Only one team in WNBA history has won four elimination games en route to the league title. That was Seattle in 2004.
Indiana could duplicate that feat this year, though. And who knows, the Fever could face more elimination games in the WNBA Finals against the Lynx.
“Playoffs are another ball game.," Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "You’ve got your regular season and then you’ve got your postseason – once you get to the playoffs, everything goes up a notch. There is a sense of urgency.
"Our players in particular, especially because of our leadership in Katie Douglas, (Tamika) Catchings and (Tammy) Sutton-Brown who have been to the Finals before, they know what it takes to win in the playoffs and they set the tone. I’m not surprised that we’re where we are. I thought that if we defended at a high level and did a better job of rebounding that we would have a chance to do exactly what we’ve done.”
Indiana lost the first game in best-of-three series with Atlanta and Connecticut and then won the next two games in each series to advance.
In 2009, the Fever lost to Phoenix 3-2 in the WNBA Finals and have five players from that team and Dunn, in her fourth season as head coach at Indiana.
“We look back on that series and we know that we just missed open shots. We had every opportunity to win a title in ’09," Dunn said, "but you have to knock down your open shots. We didn’t take care of business at home; we just missed too many shots. That really ended up costing us a championship. This year, some different faces, but we also have the leadership of the players that have been there. We’re excited about being in the Finals.”
Champions' road to title
1997: Houston, 2-0 ... one game in semifinals, one in final
1998: Houston, 4-1 ... semifinals and finals expanded to best of three series
1999: Houston, 4-2 ... Comets faced three elimination games
2000: Houston, 6-0 ... Comets played three rounds of playoffs
2001: Los Angeles, 6-1 .... Sparks eliminated four-time champion Houston 2-0 in first round
2002: Los Angeles, 6-0
2003: Detroit, 6-2 ... beat LA 2-1 in finals after losing first game, played three elimination games
2004: Seattle, 6-2 ... Storm prevailed in four elimination games
2005:Sacramento, 7-1 ... finals were best best-of-five for first time
2006: Detroit, 7-3 ... most losses for champion in playoffs, survived three elimination games
2007: Phoenix, 7-2 ... won finals 3-2 over Detroit
2008: Detroit, 7-2 ... Shock faced three elimination games
2009: Phoenix, 7-3 ... beat Indiana in finals 3-2, played in three elimination games
Phoenix 120, Indiana 116 (OT)
Indiana 93, Phoenix 84
Indiana 86, Phoenix 85
Phoenix 90, Indiana 77
Phoenix 94, Indiana 86
2010: Seattle, 7-0 ... Storm beat L.A., Phoenix and Atlanta
2011: Lynx, 7-1 ... beat San Antonio, Phoenix and Atlanta