Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roundup: Indiana Fever Win Eastern Conference Semifinals

"Do you want to go to the Fever game tonight?"

It was a quick Facebook email, from my friend, Julie, who works for the Indiana Fever. (And now, my bestest friend ever!)

"Yes, please." I wrote back. I am nothing, if not polite.

Long story short, we ended up with 5 tickets on row 4 section 20, right behind one of the goals. It was the closest I've ever been to the action. I managed to take some great photos, and get some good expressions on the faces of the players. You really get to see the determination and fight each of the women have as they fight their way for another bucket.

Take a look at these photos in the slideshow below. You can even click on one of them and be taken to the entire album on Picasa.

This was an important game for the Fever, because they were playing for their survival in the WNBA championships. This was the final game of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The winner would move on to play the Atlanta Dream, the loser would go home.

Rather than keep you in suspense, I'll just tell you: the Fever won, 72-62. They play the Dream in Indianapolis on Thursday.

At one point during the game, Tamika Catchings lost her contact lens after getting clobbered by a Liberty player. The game stopped for a few seconds while players milled about looking for the lost contact. After about 10 seconds of this, she walked over, got her spare set, popped it in, and she was good to go.

Catchings came to play, because she knew her post-season was on the line, and she fought hard. At one point, she had to be restrained by Katie Douglas because she was about to tangle with Nicole Powell.

Tammy Sutton-Brown and Katie Douglas put in a hard game too (they all did; I just had some great photos of these particular women). Katie Douglas proved why she's the Chuck Norris of the WNBA (without the beard, but probably a mean roundhouse kick); Tammy Sutton-Brown outmuscled her opponents constantly.

My favorite moment of the game came in the first half, when Catchings was shooting two free throws. Before the second one, the whole crowd started chanting, "MVP! MVP! MVP!" It gave me chills hearing it. And she hit it without blinking.

It was a close game almost the entire time — the Fever were even down by 6 during the 2nd quarter — but they pulled away in the last few minutes, and settled into a comfortable lead. The Liberty tried their hardest to overcome it, but they were working against a loud and proud crowd.

We yelled, we cheered, we stamped our feet for every point, every rebound, every steal. We booed lustily at the bad calls — there were a few — and the flagrant fouls — there were a couple of those — and eventually the Fever drove in the final nail and brought it home.

Next up, the Fever play a best-of-3 series against the Atlanta Dream. The first game is Thursday the 22nd at 7:00 pm, the 2nd game is Sunday the 25th in Atlanta. And if there is a need for a third game, it will be on Tuesday 27th, time TBD (although probably around 7 or 8).

You can buy tickets at the Indiana Fever website.

(Special thanks to Julie Graue, VP of Business Operations for the Indiana Fever, for the tickets!)

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