Night and day were not much different Thursday for Indiana Fever veteran All-Star Tamika Catchings. There was much to enjoy at both moments.
It was still daylight when the WNBA announced that the former Tennessee standout had won her first MVP award after being a top-five finalist for the honor in eight of her previous nine seasons as a pro all with Indiana. (Catchings has actually been with the organization 11 seasons but didnt play in her true rookie year because of a knee injury suffered as a senior at Tennessee.)
The sun had barely set when, after accepting the MVP trophy from WNBA president Laurel Richie, Catchings and teammate Tangela Smith led the way to an 82-74 opening-game victory over the Atlanta Dream in the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals at home at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The second game moves Sunday to the Dreams Philips Arena where Indiana will attempt to close things out and return to the WNBA's best-of-five finals for the second time in three seasons.