Fever Reunion for Buckeyes, Lady Lions and Big Ten
As Day Two of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament commences at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday, a cozy storyline has emerged with former Indiana Fever players. Involved in the early quarterfinal game between top-seeded Penn State and No. 8 Ohio State were a pair of coaches on each sideline with Stephanie White calling the game for Big Ten Network.
Penn State head coach and Big Ten Coach of the Year Coquese Washington is well regarded for her extensive WNBA history including multiple championships with the Houston Comets and her final two seasons as point guard with the Fever. Washington was acquired by Indiana in a midseason trade which spurred the fledgling franchise to its first playoff appearance in 2002. She played in 2003 and retired after that season.
Washington actually began her day at Bankers Life Fieldhouse by greeting a former teammate, Tamika Catchings, who was on site for a morning workout. The duo also shares distinction as being past and current president of the WNBA player’s association.
Washington would spend her afternoon patrolling the sidelines while guiding Penn State against Ohio State which includes former Fever forward Joy Cheek as an assistant coach.
Cheek, in her first season on the OSU bench, was a 2010 graduate of Duke who was drafted by Indiana in the third round of that season’s WNBA Draft. In fact, she remains the only third-round pick ever to make the Fever roster, playing seven games during the 2010 summer before being waived as the final cut in Indiana’s 2011 training camp.
White, as Fever fans know so well, was an Indiana prep and college legend before she became one of the club’s original stars on its inaugural roster in 2000. She has parlayed her playing and coaching career into another career of broadcasting – working regularly with ESPN and Big Ten Network in recent years, and this year adding FOX Sports Indiana to her resume while covering Indiana Pacers games. Friday, White handled analyst duties during her first of four straight quarterfinal broadcasts.
White and Washington were teammates, though actually played together sparingly during the 2003 season which was Washington’s last. White, who was injured during Washington’s arrival in the 2oo2 summer, played just one more season herself before retiring in 2004. Both have moved onward to successful coaching careers.
On site for the quarterfinal bout were a handful of Fever staffers and fourth-year Fever guard Jeanette Pohlen. Pohlen, the former Stanford star whose college team played on The Fieldhouse hardwood as part of the 2011 Final Four, was drafted by Indiana only a year after Cheek.
On the Fever’s floor on this March Madness Friday, the Fever finds itself a big part of the flavor of this year’s Big Ten Tournament. On deck Saturday? Katie Douglas will speak at a Big Ten VIP reception and likely remain for a possible matchup featuring Purdue’s Boilermakers and either Penn State or Ohio State. With White on the Big Ten Network call, another day of reunions is surely in store.