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Tamika Catchings’ Top Five Games of 2013

By Andrew Nagel

The 2013 season for the Indiana Fever may not have ended with another championship, but they did make their ninth straight playoff appearance. In trying to become the first WNBA franchise to repeat since the 2001 and 2002 Los Angeles Sparks, the Fever had a challenging year due to several injuries up and down their roster. They turned to their veteran leader, Tamika Catchings, who in her twelfth year in the WNBA, demonstrated why she’ll go down as one of the greatest players to ever play in the league’s history.

Catchings, who herself missed two games in June with a lower back injury, once again turned in a solid year. In 30 regular season games she averaged a team-high 17.7 points per game. She also averaged 7.1 rebounds per game, second on the team to Erlana Larkins. Catchings averaged 18.5 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game in her four playoff games. She led the Fever in a two-game sweep of the Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Chicago Sky, in the conference semifinals.

Counting the playoffs, Catchings scored in double figures in 30 of 34 games. She scored 20 or more points in 14 of those games. She collected a total of 604 points, 244 rebounds, 81 assists, 91 steals and 34 blocks. For her efforts she was named to the 2013 All-WNBA 2nd Team and the All-Defensive First Team.

As always, Catchings had a number to standout performances in 2013. Here’s one stab at ranking her top five games of 2013:

1. June 28 vs. Tulsa Shock
Catchings came back to the Fever starting lineup after missing the previous two games because of a lower back injury. She played with energy, passion and a determination that helped Indiana snap a seven game losing streak with an 80-69 win at home. Catchings dropped in a season high 28 points and had six steals.

2. September 29 vs. Atlanta Dream
In what proved to be the last game of the season for the Fever, a 67-53 Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Atlanta Dream, Catchings did everything she could to try to beat the Dream. She scored 24 of the team’s 53 points — the only Indiana player to score in double figures. She was 9-for-10 from the charity stripe and 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Despite her brilliance, the Dream took advantage of the rest of the Fever’s off night in advancing to the WNBA Finals.

3. July 21 @ Washington Mystics
On her 34th birthday, Catchings led the Fever to a 65-52 win at Washington on a night where she dominated the Mystics. She scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while also dishing out six assists. The win completed a two-game weekend sweep of the Mystics and helped the Fever keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

4. July 25 @ Tulsa Shock
It must be something about the Shock that brings out the best in Catchings. This night proved to be a special one. Indiana not only defeated Tulsa 71-60, but with Catchings’ 23 points, she moved into fourth place on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list, moving past Seattle’s Lauren Jackson with 6,024 career points. She also had a game-high nine rebounds and three steals which helped a swarming Fever defense cause 19 Shock turnovers. The win was Indiana’s seventh in nine games.

5. September 13 vs. New York Liberty
In the final regular season game, Catchings helped the Fever rally from behind to defeat the Liberty 66-63. With another 23-point night coupled with 10 rebounds, Catchings recorded her 89th career double-double. Catchings also had four steals in a game that helped build momentum for the playoffs.

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