The WNBA finals concluded on Sunday night with the Indiana Fever (led by former Stevenson High School standout Tamika Catchings) taking it to the Minnesota Lynx. It was an unexpected, and many say, upset victory for the Fever over the defending 2011 WNBA Champion Lynx. With the injury to scoring great Katie Douglas and the additional injury to 3 point scoring threat Jeanette Pohlen, most people were betting on the Lynx to repeat.
Most people don't know Tamika Catchings - a winner in high school, college (University of Tennessee standout) and a 3-time Olympic gold medalist for Team USA Basketball, Tamika is the living breathing definition of a winner. She is also the epitome of a what a professional athlete should be...strong, determined, devoted to her sport, and driven to succeed. Catching's gives it her all in every single minute she's out on the court - a defensive monster, diving for balls, scoring scoring and more scoring. You could not ask for a more diverse and versatile player on your team. The number on her jersey is 24 - in Sunday's game she outscored her jersey laying in 25 points on the way to winning the Championship. And for some icing on the cake, Catchings was named the MVP.
I know Tamika Catchings and she is a gem - humble, appreciative, generous, gracious - with all the accolades on her resume, she could have the ego the size of the state of Indiana - but she doesn't. She gives back in so many ways through her Catch the Stars Foundation and in spending countless hours of time in the Indy community speaking at schools, hosting basketball clinics and providing scholarships...just to name a few of the more public ways she supports her adopted hometown of Indianapolis. I hope the Hoosier faithful know how lucky they are to have this kind of professional athlete in their midst - one who constantly gives rather than takes and now after a nearly 40 year wait, Catching's (and her very talented teammates and coaching staff) have given the state of Indiana a professional basketball championship. The last time a pro basketball trophy was hoisted in the Hoosier state, it was 1973 when the Pacers earned the ABA title. 40 years is a long time to wait, but having a special talent like Catching's on your hometown team really increases the odds of being able to celebrate a Championship title (or two or three). MVP Tamika Catchings - enough said.
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