Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Monday, October 12, 2015

WNBA Finals: White Huddle Outburst Leads to Indiana Forcing Minnesota to Game Five

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

For Blue Star Media

INDIANAPOLIS --
Call it the tongue-lashing heard ‘round the huddle.

Holding off the Minnesota Lynx most of Sunday night from wrapping up Game 4 and the WNBA championship for 2015 here in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Indiana Fever were on the verge of seeing all the comebacks starting with the Eastern semifinals go for naught.

Minnesota, which had taken a 2-1 lead here Friday night in the best of five series on Maya Moore’s three-point buzzer-beater, had bolted from a 36-32 halftime deficit to a 38-36 lead on Sylvia Fowles’ layup with 8 minutes, 26 seconds left in the third quarter.

At that moment, Fever rookie coach Stephanie White called a timeout and gathered her troops.

“I just really challenged our team,” White said. “Our attention to detail was worse. We were fumbling the ball. Nobody was sure about anything we were doing.

“So I just challenged them. `Do you want to see the opponent hoisting up a trophy on our home floor, or do you want to fight, and do you want to do everything we’ve done to put ourselves in this position?

“Fortunately, they responded. It’s tough. You’re playing against a great opponent. You can’t afford to have moments like that because they’re going to capitalize and make you pay for that, and we can’t afford to do it.”

From that moment the Fever surged on a 13-2 run and went on to open a 14-point lead, largest of the series, and thrilled the predominantly pro-Indiana crowd of 10,582 fans to gain a 75-69 victory re-tie the series and send it back to Minnesota Wednesday night for a penultimate Game 5.

Tamika Catchings, the elegant former Tennessee All-American and Hall-of-Fame bound warrior who will retire after next season, offered a family-friendly Fevers player perspective on what was said.

“That’s a `You need to be in the huddle’ moment,” Catchings said with a smile. “Steph went off on us and basically just challenged us. She said, `You guys have 30 seconds to turn this thing around.’

“Literally, we went out and she just lit a fire upon us, and she was like,` this is a game to allow you an opportunity to play for a championship, and this is how you want to come out?’ Those are my nice words,” Catchings winked.

Indiana is 5-0 in elimination games to date in the postseason, including two on the road to emerge out of the Eastern Conference in their 11th straight playoff appearance – a league record.

The Fever, seeded third, dropped Game 1 of the East semis on the road to the defending conference playoff champion Chicago Sky and then bounced back to take the next two games and move on against the overall top-seeded New York Liberty, against whom they dropped that Game 1 in Madison Square Garden.

Then down 18 points here in Game 2, Indiana rallied and then went back on the road to control the New Yorkers and reach the WNBA championship series for the third time. In 2009 they dropped a thrilling five-game series to the Phoenix Mercury, came back in 2012 to dethrone Minnesota, which won its first title in 2011, and here they are one win away again.

A lot of times might have had trouble recovering from Friday night’s crusher, but this franchise has become skilled in resiliency first under White’s predecessor Lin Dunn and continued under White who was promoted after Dunn retired at the end of last season.

“Indiana played great,” said Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve, the former La Salle star in Philadelphia who will also be one of UConn coach Geno Auriemma’s assistants in the Olympics in Rio next summer.

“They played like a team that didn’t want their season to end. Played with great pace.

“They had to be thrilled with their defense, just the way they came at us. Frankly, it probably started with their defense. We started early in the game with silly turnovers. They were very opportunistic.

“Briann January outshot us at the free-throw line. We had nine free throws. She had 12. That’s not good for us. 26 (Indiana) free throws, and it was all Indiana just creating a pace, doing what they do, straight line drives. Our defense was not as good as we need to be.”

Indiana only made one field goal in the fourth quarter but was 15-for-18 from the line.

On Friday night, Minnesota’s Moore missed a chunk of the game because of foul trouble, and 48 hours later it was inside post presence Sylvia Fowles limited to less than a half of action.

Shenise Johnson, the former Florida State star picked up in the offseason as a free agent, had another stellar night, scoring 15 points for an Indiana high, with nine coming in the second half.

January had 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Marissa Coleman scored 14 points, and Catchings had 10 points and four rebounds in under under 35 minutes.

White talked about Catchings being the reason the Fever have won so many elimination games over their years in the WNBA.

“A lot of people were asking me about Catchings’ numbers,” she said. I’m like, no, it’s not the numbers. She’s tricking all you guys because it’s not the numbers,” White explained.

“It’s the way she creates for her teammates whether it be through her hard-nose play, whether it be through her extra possessions and toughness, whether it be through her spacing, whether it be what she is saying in the huddle, the way she’s been coachable all season long.

“I challenged her with a couple of her turnovers, and she took it. So there is a lot of things Tamika Catchings does that don’t show up in the stat sheets that we value as teammates and that allow her teammates to be coached the way I coach her.”

Incidentally, the extended series will delay White from getting into her winter gig as a chief women’s basketball analyst on the Big Ten Network, so whatever happens Wednesday, she probably won’t be doing the early network preps at the conference media day in Chicago Thursday.

Meanwhile, on the Minnesota side, Moore finished with 20 points, but Fowles, because of her limited play, scored just four points. Seimone Augustus scored 10 and Lindsay Whalen scored 16 in one of her better performances in this series.

So now what has been an exciting test of wills heads to theTarget Center.

Moore first rebuffed the idea of being home for a game that will probably draw the most attention in the WNBA all season, indicating the better feeling would have been to have finished off the Fever.

But she then acknowledged what has been on the better finals in the history of the championship series.

“”The series has been a fun one to watch,” the former UConn great said. “Especially the last few games have been very fun, I think just from a fan standpoint.

“So a lot of great things happening, players making plays. Sometimes you can have all the schemes and sets in the world, and it comes down to players making plays. You’ve seen a lot of that in this series. One more game to see which players do that more.”

As for playing at home Wednesday, Moore said, “It’s going to be hard, but if I was to, like I said, have a choice, I’d want to do it at the Target Center.




- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

6 Comments:

Blogger Wenhao Guo said...

4guoguo1015
cheap nfl jerseys
ralph lauren uk
Canada Goose Outlet,Canada Goose Outlet Online,Canada Goose Clearance
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
toms shoes
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren
Hollister uk
coach factory outlet
michael kors handbags
ugg boots clearance
coach outlet
toms outlet
jordan 4
michael kors outlet
jordan shoes
michael kors handbags
tory burch outlet
cheap uggs sale
ugg boots
cheap ugg boots
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
ugg boots on sale
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton outlet
gucci outlet
christian louboutin shoes
michael kors outlet
coach outlet

2:49 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 11.03
michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, louboutin shoes, chanel handbags, michael kors, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louboutin uk, michael kors outlet store, ray ban sunglasses, uggs on sale, christian louboutin, burberry outlet, cheap jordans, longchamp bags, louis vuitton outlet online, oakley sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, kate spade, ralph lauren polo, louis vuitton, louis vuitton handbags, tory burch outlet, ralph lauren outlet, replica watches, uggs on sale, nike outlet, kate spade outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet online, prada outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, uggs outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors handbags, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, coach outlet, prada handbags, burberry factory outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin

1:48 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

sac guess pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max uk, polo ralph lauren uk, ralph lauren pas cher, true religion jeans, nike roshe uk, longchamp pas cher, burberry pas cher, polo lacoste pas cher, abercrombie and fitch UK, mulberry uk, hermes pas cher, lululemon outlet, nike air max uk, michael kors, coach purses, michael kors outlet online, nike blazer pas cher, coach outlet, louboutin pas cher, jordan pas cher, lunette ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, hollister uk, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp uk, longchamp soldes, nike free pas cher, abercrombie, coach outlet store online, nike air force, lunette oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, nike trainers uk, nike air max, converse, true religion outlet, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, michael kors, new balance, nike roshe run pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, north face uk, vanessa bruno pas cher, nike air max pas cher, nike air huarache

2:30 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike roshe run, iphone 6 cases, nike air max, iphone 6 plus cases, jimmy choo outlet, hermes handbags, reebok outlet, soccer shoes, iphone 5s cases, soccer jerseys, iphone cases, insanity workout, babyliss pro, vans outlet, oakley, mcm handbags, instyler ionic styler, north face outlet, beats by dre, nfl jerseys, herve leger, vans scarpe, valentino shoes, lululemon outlet, s6 cases, mont blanc, iphone 6s cases, ghd hair, wedding dresses, iphone 6s plus cases, chi flat iron, ipad cases, salvatore ferragamo, asics running shoes, celine handbags, ray ban, hollister clothing, giuseppe zanotti, gucci, abercrombie and fitch, bottega veneta, timberland boots, polo ralph lauren, new balance shoes, nike air max, p90x workout, hollister, louboutin, north face outlet, mac cosmetics, softball bats, converse

2:32 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, doke & gabbana, barbour, canada goose jackets, pandora uk, moncler pas cher, coach outlet, sac louis vuitton, pandora charms, converse shoes outlet, moncler, canada goose pas cher, karen millen uk, bottes ugg pas cher, barbour jackets uk, juicy couture outlet, sac louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, michael kors outlet online, thomas sabo uk, moncler outlet, michael kors handbags, swarovski jewelry, supra shoes, canada goose, moncler, links of london uk, moncler jackets, swarovski uk, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora jewelry, ugg uk, juicy couture outlet, moncler, michael kors outlet, lancel, wedding dresses uk, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler uk, pandora jewelry, canada goose jackets, louis vuitton, louis vuitton uk, replica watches, toms shoes, canada goose uk, canada goose, marc jacobs
ninest123 11.03

2:52 AM  
Blogger mmjiaxin said...

tiffany outlet
chanel handbags outlet
nike air max uk
fred perry polo shirts
fitflops uk
true religion jeans
swarovski jewelry
mulberry outlet
ralph lauren uk
tommy hilfiger
nfl jerseys
oakley sunglasses uk
ray-ban sunglasses
ray ban,rayban,occhiali ray ban,ray-ban,ray ban occhiali,ray ban sunglasses
michael kors uk outlet
thomas sabo outlet
puma outlet
omega outlet
nobis jacket
michael kors outlet
mm1225

10:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home