Physical Finals shift to Indiana
Injury-depleted Fever await word on Katie Douglas; must challenge Lynx on boards
INDIANAPOLIS -- You know that moment when you are heading out the door when you check to make sure you have everything, pat down your pockets looking for your keys, your phone, double-check for your sunglasses, make sure your wallet is in your bag?
The Indiana Fever did something a little like that Wednesday as they departed the Target Center after a 83-71 loss to the Minnesota Lynx. The series shifts to the Fever's Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Friday night's Game 3 (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET) and Sunday's Game 4.
And even as they left with a hard-earned split (the series is tied 1-1), the Fever probably couldn't help but feel like they might have been forgetting something.
The team's depth has been stretched by the absence of starting guard Katie Douglas, but it was strained even further Wednesday night with the loss of backup guard Jeanette Pohlen to what looks like a serious knee injury.
The Fever might also be looking for their rebounding, which was in too-short supply against the motivated Lynx.
Luckily, after a bruising game, as physical as you will see in women's basketball, Indiana has all of its teeth, and a pretty good indication on what to expect from here on out.
"It's going to continue to be a war for the rest of the series and we'll be ready," Fever guard Briann January said. "I think we have positioned ourselves well heading back home. We have got to regroup and it's going to be nice coming back and having our fans on our side cheering for us and giving us a little boost."
Too bad they couldn't also provide an extra body. Douglas, who stayed home in Indiana during the first two games of this series trying to get her sprained left ankle ready to play, remains questionable for Game 3. She said she has been rehabbing the ankle all day, every day while her teammates were in Minnesota.
"It was tough for me not to be there, but it's probably the right thing for me," Douglas said. "Things are going well and things are looking good for me. I don't know what good is and I don't want to elaborate on 'good,' but things are getting better every day."
Pohlen was injured in the second quarter, stumbling awkwardly while running backward on defense. She grabbed her left knee, had to be helped off the floor and didn't return. Pohlen has been a potent weapon from the perimeter for the Fever, hitting her past seven 3-point attempts over the past three games.
When asked for an update on Pohlen's status, Fever coach Lin Dunn characterized it as "not good."
"Right now I'm approaching Game 3 thinking she won't be available," Dunn said.
And so Indiana will go further into its bench to get through the next two to three games. Karima Christmas, who averaged 2.9 points and 10.9 minutes in 16 contests with Indiana after a midsummer trade with Tulsa, should expect to see more playing time.
"But we are obviously short some guards now and we'll just have to figure out something to do," Dunn said. "Maybe Tammy Sutton-Brown can play the wing. I'm not sure; we'll see."
Dunn seemed less concerned with her personnel numbers immediately after Wednesday's game as she was with her team's rebounding. Indiana was outrebounded 32-20 and 17-2 on the offensive boards; the Lynx collected 24 second-chance points, compared to just three for Indiana.
"We just wore down physically because we did not have enough bodies like they did," Dunn said.
Center Erlana Larkins, who had a breakout performance in Game 1, was bottled up by the Lynx, finishing with five points and three rebounds.
Despite Minnesota's win on Wednesday night, Fever star Tamika Catchings said she doesn't see a momentum shift. At least not a long-lasting one.
"Everybody is going to go back and make adjustments, and we are going to go home and make adjustments," Catchings said. "We lost Game 1 in Atlanta [in the first round], came back and won two. We lost Game 1 against Connecticut [in the conference finals], and came back and won two. We lost tonight. All we need to do is win two."