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Catch the Fever: Indiana wins WNBA title

BasketballSportsWNBAMinnesota LynxIndiana Fever2012 Summer Olympics

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tamika Catchings filled in the remaining blank on her resume, and the Indiana Fever have their first WNBA championship.

Catchings had 25 points and eight assists to lead the Fever to the title with an 87-78 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.

The Fever won the best-of-five WNBA Finals in four games, preventing a winner-take-all-game in Minnesota.

"This journey has been full of ups and downs," Catchings said. "When you come into this league, your goal and your dream is to win a WNBA championship. And now, 12 years later, from when that dream first started, here we are."

Catchings has been a seven-time WNBA All-Star since she was the third overall pick in the 2001 draft. She also played for gold-medal-winning U.S. teams at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

She was selected the Most Valuable Player of the Finals.

Indiana won its first title in its 13th season. The Fever reached the finals in 2009. Minnesota won the championship last year.

Erin Phillips added 18 points for Indiana on Sunday, and Shavonte Zellous and Briann January added 15 apiece.

Lindsay Whalen had 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds to lead the Lynx. Maya Moore added 16 for Minnesota.

"It is just a rough night," Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus said. "We fought hard, and that is all you can really ask for. Indiana played great and obviously deserved to win."

With 8:03 left to play, Catchings was fouled and hit two free throws, giving the Fever a 68-63 lead.

Moore was called for her fourth foul of the game.

After McWilliams-Franklin scored the next basket, Catchings responded to make it 70-65.

The Lynx got within three when Moore hit a shot to make it 70-67.

Minnesota missed a shot, and then Phillips drove to the basket and scored to make it 72-67 with just under five minutes left.

Minnesota missed a shot, and Zellous hit a 3-pointer to make it 75-67.

Nearly three minutes later, Moore's 3-pointer sliced Indiana's lead to 77-72, but January hit a 3-pointer to push the advantage back to eight points.

In the final minute, the Fever hit all five of its free-throw attempts, including one by Catchings after a technical foul on Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve.

"It was not the outcome that we wanted," Reeve said. "I felt like we really put it out there and we tried to make it as typical as we could. We were just a couple of plays away from making it happen and going back to Minnesota, which was what we all wanted."

The Fever did not have an easy time of it in the first half.

Catchings pushed the Fever to a 13-6 lead at one point in the first quarter, but Moore ended the Fever's run with a 3-pointer to make it 13-9.

Catchings answered with a 3-pointer of her own, and Zellous hit a shot to make it 18-9 with 4:19 to play in the first.

The Lynx never got closer than five points the rest of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Fever took a 33-26 lead when January sank two free throws.

Whalen answered with a basket to make it 33-28. The Fever turned the ball over under the Minnesota basket, and on the next Lynx possession, Whalen was fouled and scored two free throws to make it 33-30.

Moore picked up her third foul of the game with 6:13 remaining in the first half, and Zellous went to the line and hit two free throws to extend the lead to 37-32.

The Lynx tied the game at 42 late in the first half but were never able to take a lead.

Phillips hit a 3-pointer and another basket to give the Fever a 47-42 halftime lead.

"I thought we just had a great effort tonight," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "We battled. It was a lot closer than the nine-point (difference) indicates."

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