No. 1 Indiana at No. 4 Washington

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What: WNBA Eastern Conference Semifinal.

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center, College Park.


Records: Fever (22-12), Mystics (16-18).


Both teams boast strong backcourts that are fighting a bit of an injury bug. Wily 10-year veteran PG Tully Bevilaqua brings a cool-under-pressure approach to Indiana and complements leading scorer Katie Douglas (17.6 ppg), who missed two games in September with an ankle sprain. For the Mystics, workhorse PG Lindsey Harding (35.1 minutes per game) sets the tempo and is also a bellwether for Washington's success. Alana Beard (15.9 ppg) is expected to play after missing four of the final six games of the regular season with a left ankle sprain.


Fever perennial all-star Tamika Catchings was stellar against the Mystics this season, averaging 20.5 ppg in four games. Six-foot-2 Ebony Hoffman is her less-flashy counterpart. This defensive matchup is key for Washington, as Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne must find a way to neutralize or at least temper Indiana's key weapon in Catchings.


Veterans square off as Tammy Sutton-Brown (9.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg) is expected to play through a nagging toe injury and will primarily face off against Washington's Chasity Melvin, who despite offensive inconsistency this season has been able to quiet many inside scoring threats.


Rookie PG Briann January, C Jessica Moore and G Tamecka Dixon are keys off the bench for Indiana, but likely won't play as large a role as F Marissa Coleman, C Nakia Sanford and G Matee Ajavon will for Washington.


One of the most universally respected women's basketball coaches, Lin Dunn is making her second trip to the playoffs in her second year as coach of the Fever, while Julie Plank led Washington to its first postseason berth since 2006 in her first year at the helm.


With the advantage of veteran experience at nearly every position, this is the Fever's series to lose. Indiana, 2-1.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company