Despite rough stretch, playoff path clear for the Fever

BasketballCollege BasketballCollege SportsWomen's National Basketball AssociationIndiana Fever

There are plenty of concepts of the game of basketball that Lin Dunn has learned during her collegiate and professional basketball coaching career.

But when it comes to her current Indiana Fever team, there is one thing she has learned that can tell the story of both the success and struggles of her 2011 squad.

"I know we're an energy team, a high energy team," said Dunn of the Fever. "We need that energy to defend."

She brings it up when talking about the team's bit of recent struggles as the WNBA's regular season draws to a close. Once comfortably ahead at the top of the Eastern Conference, four losses in five games helped to bring the race a little closer.

As the final week of the WNBA season approaches, the Fever maintain a half-game lead over Connecticut, who hammered Indiana 83-55 on the road Friday.

The coach might have an explanation as to why.

"Our tank, I guess you could say, gets low on energy, we're fatigued mentally or physically we're not as good," said Dunn of when the team struggles.

Luckily for her and the rest of the Fever, the chance to accomplish their regular season goal remains in tact as the final week of the regular season approaches.

With wins over Washington (Home), New York (Away) and Atlanta (Home) the Fever will wrap up home floor for the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"You want to be the Eastern Conference champions, that's why you fight all season long, you want to be first," said Dunn of the importance of sweeping the week. "You want to be the regular season Eastern Conference champions and the playoff champions."

After Sunday, the Fever might be feeling a little better about doing both. Having lost four-of-five games, the team went on the road and beat Chicago 88-80, ending the Sky's playoff hopes and giving a little energy back to the Fever themselves.

"It was a huge test for us and a good test going into the playoffs, " said Fever guard Katie Douglas of the win over Chicago. "Having to win in a hostile enviornment like Chicago, they had a great sixth man out there on Sunday night and I think we we're able to play playoff basketball."

Doing so is guarenteed for the guaranteed for the Fever, who clinched a berth in the playoffs last week. In the process of trying to lockup the final spot for the postseason, Douglas believes the team can clean their game up a little bit before elimination series begin.

"What we've got to focus on tomorrow is getting better, playing playoff basketball, playoff mentality and making this last three games run heading into the playoffs going in very sharp," said Douglas.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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