We're finally on a roll

AP Photo/AJ Mast

Tamika Catchings, center, battles Atlanta's Sancho Lyttle for the ball. The Fever and Dream will meet in the WNBA playoffs for the third straight year.


I think that's the best way to describe how we're feeling right now, and the word I use when people ask me about the Indiana Fever.

A lot of people still see us as the underdog. We're playing with just nine players and we're the No. 4 seed, but I don't mind people watching us like that. I kind of like that.

We started 1-7 this year because of a lot of injuries and players being shifted into new roles. Then we started to win a few games. Some people said we just crawled into the playoffs, and they never really knew what to expect from us. But now, I think we are finally starting to play like people expected in the beginning, after we won the championship last year. We have come together and now we need five more wins.

When you get to the playoffs it's all about getting 40 minutes of quality basketball, focused on one goal. Throughout the year, for so many reasons and because of some adversity we went through, we played well for a few minutes here and there -- but it's not until you put together a full 40 minutes that the best comes out.

When we won Game 1 at Chicago, we talked about not getting caught up in that one game. We knew Chicago would come at us with more intensity and more focus. We met the higher intensity and kept it up for 40 minutes.

Against Atlanta, you always think about Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza. Both of them were All-Stars this year. And Armintie Herrington is one of the most tenacious defenders in the league. They really thrive off turnovers and getting down the court with easy layups, so we are going to have to take care of the ball.

Defense and rebounding are always our keys. Rebounding is something we have struggled with off and on this year, and Atlanta is one of the best rebounding teams in the WNBA. They send everyone, and I mean everyone, to the boards. So we know we'll have our hands full, but that is why the boards are so important, especially in this series.

If we can take care of both of those areas, shoot the ball well and play within our team offense and defense, I am confident we can do it.

Another big key for us against Atlanta is Erlana Larkins. She is so important to us both offensively and defensively. When it comes to rebounding and her tenacity, she has just been a beast down in the post.

People say she is undersized. And as a team, it seems like we've been undersized over the years. So that's why I think we continue making a difference with our defensive intensity. Erlana is very physical -- that's her game. She has kind of come into her own and, with the rest of us all playing good team defense, we have been able to succeed.

It seems we all are peaking at the right time. Five more wins, but we have to look at one game at a time...