WNBA: Indiana tops N.Y. to advance to Finals vs Minnesota
The Minnnesota Lynx are in the WNBA Finals for a fourth time, chasing their third championship.
The Minnesota Lynx are in the WNBA Finals for a fourth time, chasing their third championship.
Their opponent is a team that hasn't defeated the Lynx this season. In fact, the Indiana Fever haven't come within nine points of Minnesota in either of their games in 2015.
But the Fever, similar to the Lynx, are feeling confident and riding a wave of momentum after rallying to beat the New York Liberty in the best-of-three Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday. Indiana won the decisive Game 3 66-51 at New York to set up a showdown for the league championship against the Lynx.
The series will begin at Minnesota, with Game 1 of the best-of-five series set for 2 p.m. Sunday on ABC. Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Target Center and will be televised on ESPN2.
The Lynx, who won WNBA championships in 2011 and 2013, and also reached the WNBA Finals in 2012, beat Indiana in both of their regular season matchups this season. Minnesota won at Indiana 78-69 on June 6, then beat the Fever 81-65 in Minneapolis on Sept. 4.
Indiana enters after a big emotional victory against New York on Tuesday. The Fever lost Game 1 of the conference finals, but rallied for two consecutive victories.
Tamika Catchings scored 14 points and made key defensive plays to help Indiana win Game 3.
"This is awesome," Catchings said. "If you had asked me before the season if I'd be sitting right here, we're going to try, I don't know. To be sitting here means a lot for the organization, for my team."
Catchings, who announced she's retiring at the end of next season, has willed her team to victories. The Fever won the final two games in the opening round against Chicago, then, against New York, the Fever swept the final two contests, rallying from an 18-point deficit in the second quarter in Game 2 to force Tuesday's game.
"Nobody thought we'd win the first series," Catchings said. "No one thought we'd win this round. No one thinks we'll win the finals. We're not done yet."
Indiana is back in the finals for the first time since 2012 — the only season the Fever won the championship.
The Fever improved to 8-2 in elimination games in the past four seasons, and Catchings is a huge reason why. She averaged 21.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in the first nine of those games.
"Just watching her play, you know you want to do what you can to help her win," said Marissa Coleman, who scored 15 points — hitting five 3-pointers. "She always makes the play when we need it most."
New York was trying to make its first appearance in the WNBA Finals since 2002. The Liberty have been to the championship four times and lost each one.