Indiana forward Tamika Catchings expects a much stronger effort from the Lynx in Game 2.
"We know that they’re going to come out Wednesday and they’re going to be a much different team and much better," said Catchings, the Fever's leading scorer. "And for us, we have to continue to get better too. We have to make adjustments, and I think it’s going to be an even more physical game on Wednesday, and we’ve got to be ready.”
Catchings said she and her teammates were confident coming to Minneapolis to play the first two games of the best-of-five WNBA Finals.
“Just talking to the team, I think that the big thing is that we played that first game at home and we only lost by two at the buzzer – we even had a chance to win," she said. "The last three minutes of the game, it looked back and forth, back and forth."
The Lynx played at Indiana on Sept. 14 and then met the Fever again three days later at Target Center.
"It was the same thing when we came out here, the last three or four minutes in the fourth quarter," Catchings said. "And so the one focus that we’ve been talking about is 40 minutes. It’s a 40-minute game and this team is too good. You can’t play 36, 37, 38, or even 39 minutes – you have to play 40 minutes, because they’re that good shooting the threes and you’ve got [Rebekkah] Brunson and them getting boards.
"We’re just really focused on having a complete game, and that was the mindset going into the game. It doesn’t matter what happens in the regular season. We had an opportunity to win both games and we didn’t, but we know we were right there, and a little something could get us over the edge.”
Catchings said she and her teammates are all highly motivated.
"When you’re out here," Catchings said, "and you watch from one to 11 – and Katie’s not here with us right now, but she’s with us in spirit – when you’re out there and you can tell one through 11, everyone is motivated and everybody’s inspired, and we want to win, genuinely for each other.”
This is the Fever's second time in the WNBA Finals. They lost to Phoenix in five games in 2009 after leading 2-1 in that series.
The Katie she was referring to was guard/forward Katie Douglas, who is Indianapolis nursing a sprained left ankle. Fever coach Lin Dunn said she is hopeful Douglas can play in Game 3 back there.
“We put [Katie's] jersey in her locker, so it was something that we had with us before the game, going into halftime, and going back in after the game," Catchings said. "Of course, she texted us right after the game and we all texted her back. But we definitely had that game dedicated for her.”
WANT TO WIN FOR TAMIKA
Indiana guard Briann January said she and Catchings' other teammates all want to help her win her first WNBA title.
"She’s worked hard; she’s one of the main reasons the Fever has been in the playoffs consistently over the years," said January, in her fourth season with Indiana. "She’s a phenomenal player. I can’t express how much she does for this team – [and] not only her, but everybody on this team has put in the work.
"I want to do this for everybody on our team because we’ve become so close and we’ve put in the work together. We’ve put in the hard work, and it would just be great to win it for this group of girls because they are amazing and they have worked so hard to get here.”
January was impressed with the crowd of 14,000-plus cheering and waving white playoff towels for the Lynx on Sunday. "They have a nice crowd – it was a whiteout." she said. "We had zero cheers when we did something good last night, but that’s awesome that they had such a great turnout, and hopefully, when we get back to Indy, we’ll have the same.”