Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a WNBA newsmaker. This week she speaks with Indiana forward Tamika Catchings, whose Fever is on a league-best six-game win streak. The 14-year veteran announced this season will be her last.
Editor’s note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a WNBA newsmaker. This week she speaks with Indiana forward Tamika Catchings, whose Fever is on a league-best six-game win streak. Catchings, a 14-year veteran and 10-time All-Star, announced that the 2016 season will be her last. The 36-year-old was given ESPN’s inaugural Sports Humanitarian award in July.
Question: The East is shredding the West in head-to-head games this season with a 39-19 record. It’s only the sixth time in the league’s 19-year history the East has had a winning record against the West. What’s changed?
Answer: We have so much up-and-coming talent, like all of the first-time All-Stars and Elena Delle Donne just blowing up. We’re always competitive and clumped together within our own conference — three games separating the first and fourth playoff spots. But when we come out West, you see the difference in the caliber of teams that we have and the chemistry (the) majority of us have.
Q: Do you sense a shift championship-wise? Houston (when it was part of the East its first season), Detroit and Indiana are still the only Eastern Conference teams to win a WNBA title.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Kraken unveil new mascot, a troll named Buoy
- Mariners clinch first postseason berth since 2001 on walkoff home run
- Inside the Mariners’ clubhouse for a playoff-clinching celebration 21 years in the making
- As if these Mariners could clinch a playoff berth with anything other than dramatics
- Russell Wilson's TikTok about Subway sandwich draws mockery
A: Hopefully. For the league to grow, that’s what you want to see — parity. That’s how people stay interested. When you see one team dominate over and over, like Houston the first four years and then LA the next two, it’s boring. When we won in 2012, it felt like, “Oh, something new.”
Q: Indiana is on a good run, so why announce your retirement?
A: It just kind of happened. I answered a question and then it was out there and became a big deal. One of my goals is to play in (a fourth) Olympics. That’s what Diana (Taurasi) was talking about when we finished the 2012 Olympics. I didn’t have any plans then. She made the announcement and was like, “Right?!” Uh, yeah. We’ll see what happens. (Most people) want the Olympic team to be the up-and-comers. I won’t be playing any more than two years. When I look at the (league), I feel I can walk away knowing I made a difference.
Q: You’re newly engaged and looking at a spring wedding?
A: The wedding will literally be his family and my family, then we’ll have a party for everybody else. I might put a message on Instagram and Twitter — make sure you bring presents.
Q: Will you stay involved in basketball?
A: I love traveling and (the idea) of being a general manager. It’s like putting together a puzzle. You have the personalities and the different ways that people play together. I love that aspect of piecing it together to get the best team you can get. I also love being an ambassador, telling my story and using it to empower people. Having a family is No. 1, but I can’t imagine not doing something outside of that.
Q: So you’re a GM. Who are the five non-Olympians you’d have on your team?
A: Elena Delle Donne (Chicago), of course. I like Jewell Loyd (Seattle). My point guard would be Danielle Robinson (San Antonio), and I like Kayla McBride (San Antonio). For my center, I’d need a big body, so Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles).
Q: You’ve set so many records this season and have won every award. What do you cherish most?
A: My Defensive Player of the Year awards (2005-06, 2009-10, 2012) because the majority of that is because of (former Tennessee coach) Pat Summitt. That was her biggest influence on me, so those mean a lot.
Jayda Evans’ WNBA power rankings
|Last week’s rankings in parentheses|
|1. (5)||Indiana||Six-game winning streak features strong defense and balanced scoring.|
|2. (1)||New York||Grip on East title loosening after loss to Indiana.|
|3. (3)||Chicago||Allie Quigley and Cappie Pondexter nailed game-winning shots.|
|4. (4)||Los Angeles||Nneka Ogwumike (concussion) missed the past three games.|
|5. (7)||Phoenix||Will be honored at White House on Wednesday for 2014 title.|
|6. (2)||Minnesota||Cheryl Reeve held meeting with team captains but Lynx still lost twice.|
|7. (6)||Washington||Third-leading rebounder LaToya Sanders (knee) is day to day.|
|8. (12)||Tulsa||Odyssey Sims averaged 20.3 points during three-game winning streak.|
|9. (9)||Atlanta||DeLisha Milton-Jones can tie league’s games-played mark (496).|
|10. (8)||Connecticut||Leading scorer Alex Bentley (ankle) is latest to suffer an injury.|
|11. (10)||Seattle||Seven-day break is team’s longest since in July.|
|12. (11)||San Antonio||Shot 26.8 percent from the field in loss Sunday.|