Fever Parade Rained Out; Celebration Moves Inside
Hundreds cheer WNBA champions at Banker's Life Fieldhouse
(WIBC.com photo: Ray Steele)
The parade was rained out, but the Indiana Fever partied anyway, celebrating their first WNBA title indoors at the house where it happened.
Listen to Ray Steele's "fevered" report:
"I was here for the last finals where we lost it. I knew in their gut and in their heart of hearts this year, they meant it this year," said an excited Amanda Burton, one of the hundreds of fans who got out of the rain and cheered in the atrium of Bankers Life Fieldhouse as players, coaches and staff took turns thanking the fans for supporting the team through eight consecutive playoff runs, but the first one that ended with a championship.
Head coach Lin Dunn was blunt in how well the Fever's defense played throughout the playoffs, getting the longest applause line of the rally when she said of postseason opponents Atlanta, Connecticut and Minnesota, "we kicked their a-- on the boards."
Fans like Burton have been waiting a long time for a pro basketball title in Indy. "I'm old school. I was there for all three Pacers ABA championships. I'm proud of the Fever. I love the Fever. They brought it home this year."
Shooting guard Katie Douglas, the Indianapolis native who missed the finals with an ankle injury, thanked everyone for supporting her teammates. "You guys have meant so, so much to all my teammates. You guys definitely gave them the energy they needed in game three and four to bring this championship to you guys. So you guys are just as much a part of this championship as we are. We guys love you, we appreciate you."
Other than Dunn, Finals MVP Tamika Catchings was clearly the crowd favorite. She was the WNBA's regular season MVP in 2011, but is much happier with her first championship at the college or pro level. "You know that second half of the season, even leading up the playoffs...going into the playoffs, you could see the fire in everybody's eyes. You could see that desire You could see that we wanted it," said Catchings, referencing the break for the Summer Olympics that seemed to kick start the Fever's run to the playoffs.
Players and coaches don't like to make guarantees for the following season, particularly after winning championships, but Dunn said they'd try. "I want you guys to enjoy this moment, and I promise you this. We will do everything within our power to get you another one next year."