It is interesting and sometimes exciting to watch the players and coaches on the bench. It has been an exciting but difficult season for the Fever.
Veteran Tamika Catchings was unable to play the first half of the season as she was recovering from a back injury. Perry Meridian and Purdue graduate Katie Douglas had left the team and returned to the Connecticut Sun. I was sure it was going to take this year’s Fever team some time to get all the kinks worked out.
About the time the players were figuring things out understanding their roles on the team, Tamika returned. So, during the second half of the season most players had to adjust to the return of a special player.
The coaches have been working hard to expedite this process. During Friday’s home game against the Washington Mystics (Fever lost 74-61, but they rebounded Saturday against the Washington Liberty to bump their record to 14-17 to remain in playoff contention with three games remaining.), We watched five bench players on the court at the same time. The team is making progress and regaining its confidence.
I have enjoyed watching two-year veteran Sydney Carter and rookie Maggie Lucas as they learn to play on the Fever team, get comfortable and improve with each game. They play good defense, and I enjoy watching Maggie shoot her high arching long shots. During their time on the bench, both gals stay involved in the game and cheer on the teammates.
Friday was Breast Health Awareness Night, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Fever and their coaches were decked out in pink. Many women were honored as breast cancer survivors during a halftime presentation; we recognized several as fieldhouse employees or season ticket holders.
One of the ladies has seats across from the Fever bench on the lower level. When a Fever sinks a three-pointer, she leaps out of her seat and runs up the stairs in her section and high-fives everyone that she can both on the way up and during the return to her seat.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.