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Catchings’ ubiquitous influence fuels Fever time and time again

Tamika Catchings stands as a symbol of unwavering loyalty, being the anchor for the Indiana Fever for over a decade. As a player that’s soon to be in the Hall of Fame, she shows her ever-present motivation to win games and play her best.

Chris Poss

In her 13th year in the WNBA, one could say that Tamika Catchings has not only seen it all, but has also done it all. She is widely known as a "do-everything" player, and she did just that against the Sky.

With a momentous three-game playoff bout between the Indiana Fever and the Chicago Sky, Catchings tallied 27 in an all-out effort to beat the Sky, 100-89. Being a player that has so much experience, she capitalized on Elena Delle Donne's shooting slump and used it to fuel her own performance, scoring 21 and 22 in the first two appearances.

Chicago Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman spoke regarding Catchings', saying "She has an ability to bring her team up and give them confidence in areas that are not necessarily the pretty areas.... it impacts a team, it impacts a game, it impacts a season."

Even with her stellar performances seen in the last three games, this hardly scratches the surface as to what Catchings has accomplished in her career.

She is the only player in the history of the WNBA to rank among the Top 25 all-time leaders in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, while also ranking first in free throws made with 1,773 and ninth in 3-point field goals made with 553. And yet this still does not give the player justice.

Catchings has received a plethora of awards in her career so far, spanning from a five-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and 9-time WNBA All-Star. She has finished among the top three in MVP balloting in over half of her active season, while finishing among the top five 10 out of her 14 years.

One would assume that a player with such a huge role would fatigue after so many seasons playing at the top, yet that has not been the case for Catchings. She has shown time and time again her durability to withstand the elements of the WNBA and continue to outplay the rookies. She has earned WNBA Player of the Week a grand total of 21 times, more than any other player in the history of the league.

Head Coach of the Indiana Fever, Stephanie White, had something to say about Catchings' durable mentality: "I cannot say enough about the warrior mentality of our leader. She wills our teams and always has willed out teams to do things that many do not think our teams are capable of doing."

In tonight's game, Catchings came just shy of a double-double, with nine rebounds to match her 27 points. She went a perfect eight of eight from the charity stripe combined with six assists, proving once again her "do-everything" ability.

Chicago Sky's Elena Delle Donne, this year's WNBA MVP, said "Tamika [Catchings] obviously makes them believe things that they [Indiana Fever] probably never thought they could do and that's what makes her so special aside from her talent."

With Catchings' help, the Fever are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fifth straight time in the playoffs as she played a large role in each of those other past four rounds. She averages a little above 16 points per game and almost eight rebounds per match this season, and will continue to propel her team as they will face off for a chance to win it all, as their playoff hopes are still alive.

Catchings is also well on her way to becoming the WNBA's only player in history to spend their entire career with one program, as she plans to retire following the 2016 season and the 2016 Summer Olympics. She has a chance of joining an elite group of women, Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie, in earning four Olympic gold medals within a career.