INDIANAPOLIS – With her newly raised banner in her honor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over her right shoulder on Wednesday , Lin Dunn was quick to point out one thing about her team’s upcoming run for a championship.
“I’m very focused on the fact that we’ve accomplished our two goals: One was to get in the playoffs and two was to get home court,” said Fever head coach Lin Dunn when asked about her final run as a basketball coach in the upcoming WNBA Playoffs. “All I’m thinking about is Washington.”
The longtime college and WNBA coach was sincere about those feelings even as her long career comes to an end-whether that would be in the best-of-three Eastern Conference Semifinal series against Washington-which begins Thursday night at 7 P.M. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana comes into the playoffs as the second seed in a conference full of parity outside of top seed Atlanta. Proof of this comes in their opponent, the Mystics, who the Fever beat on the road twice yet lost a pair of games at home to the same squad.
“We won two games at their place, they won two games here and we’re focused on the first four minutes of the game versus Washington,” said Dunn. “I’m not really thinking about it being my last anything, I’ll think about that after the whole season is over.”
That might not totally be the case for her players, who have talked all season about making this campaign a memorable one for the coach. Ever since Dunn took over as head coach the Fever have never missed the playoffs and twice qualified for the WNBA Finals.
In 2012 she led the Fever to the WNBA Championship, the first professional basketball title for the City of Indianapolis since the Pacers’ ABA triumph in 1973.
“Everybody wants to end this the right way for her and that’s winning the championship,” said January of Dunn. “Winning the championship is the goal for everybody and there’s a little more incentive because this is Lin’s last year and that’s the way she should be sent out.”
Doing so first will depend on getting past the Mystics, who finished with the same 16-18 record this season but lost home court advantage to the Fever since they had a better conference record.
“They have great perimeter scorers, have a stretch four that can hurt you inside and out,” said Dunn of Washington. “Young, but gifted and talented.”
The Fever want to make sure they don’t grow up too fast so their coach can have one more run to remember.