WSF Trustee Tamika Catchings leads her Indiana Fever to first WNBA Title
For all her accomplishments, Tamika Catchings has always had one major title elude her. Last night in Indianapolis, Catchings, a star forward for the Indiana Fever and a WSF Trustee, finally got her WNBA Championship as her University of Tennessee college coach Pat Summitt looked on with pride. Her Indiana Fever defeated the Minnesota Lynx, 87 -78, on top of 25 points from Catchings.
"Everybody talks about the missing piece in Tamika Catchings' career, and our players took that personally," Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "I really believe that was an incentive."
Catchings, winner of the 2011 WNBA MVP trophy and a three-time Olympic gold medalist, now becomes just the eighth player in history to win a WNBA Title, NCAA Championship, and an Olympic and World Championship gold. Her name now sits in history with legends of the game, joining Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi, Kara Wolters, and Maya Moore on the list.
"When you come into this league, your goal and dream is to win a WNBA championship," said Catchings. "Twelve years later… it's so sweet right now."
The night was extra special for Catchings, as her first – and the team’s – WNBA title came in front of her former University of Tennessee coach and mentor Pat Summitt. The legendary Summitt last year was diagnosed with early on-set dementia and has stepped down from the Tennessee helm. The diagnosis hit Catchings hard. The two shared a long hug after the victory.
"The journey we've been on -- it's a dream come true," Catchings said. "More than anything, playing here has given me the chance to let my light shine. I hope that kids who watch me don't just see what I do on the basketball court."