Rain doesn't dampen Fever spirit
Tuesday's storms couldn't dampen Indianapolis' enthusiasm for the Indiana Fever.
The team had to call off its victory parade planned for Monument Circle at noon due to rain and lightning. Events were moved inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where fans packed the pavilion to show support for their champions.
"Going into the playoffs, the mindset for this team, you could see the fire in everybody's eyes," said Fever star and MVP Tamika Catchings amid cheers from fans at Tuesday's rally.
On Sunday night, Indiana celebrated its first professional basketball title in nearly 40 years (since the Pacers captured the ABA title in 1973). The Fever won the WNBA Championship, beating the Minnesota Lynx 87-78 and winning the series 3-1.
Earlier Tuesday, Coach Lin Dunn told Eyewitness News that it was a "surreal, wonderful, exciting moment."
"I think the City of Indianapolis has embraced this team - our blue collar work ethic, how hard we play. We've worked so hard to get to this point - you got Katie Douglas, hometown hero, you got Tamika Catchings who's been so involved in the community. It's just a wonderful moment for the city to be a winner and embrace a winner."
It's the last time that the team in its current line-up will be together.
"Certainly some of our players will be leaving soon - some may even leave today because they have an overseas obligation, so today will probably be the last day that all of this group will be together for a long time. It's the last time for everybody to hug everybody and say 'way to go' and just enjoy the moment."
Fever players and coaches spoke at Tuesday's event, along with Mayor Greg Ballard, Congressman Andre Carson and several others.
Coach Dunn thanked the "founding fans" along with the team. "Minnesota, Connecticut and Atlanta had never seen defense like these guys play," she said, pointing to the players on stage behind her.
"I want you guys to enjoy this moment. And I promise you this. We will do everything within our power to get you another one next year," the coach said to a cheering crowd.
Indiana native Katie Douglas also spoke at the rally, and she thanked the organization as well as fans.
"You guys have meant so so much to all my teammates. You guys definitely gave them the energy that they needed in game three and game four to bring this championship to you guys," she said, speaking to fans.
Douglas called it an "incredible journey. I know that we've talked championship every single year so it just feels so amazing finally to get that off your back and without these other women beside me, these coaches, our training staff, everybody, it's just been an amazing group of women and we hope to come back next year and do it all over!"
Finals MVP Tamika Catchings called it a journey like none other.
"I always say this story - I didn't know what they had in Indiana at first. But when we got here, once we got involved in the community and started being out, it's been great," she said.
Catchings also thanked the organization, and added a thank-you to the team's "ball kids."
"This has been an awesome ride, y'all. That Olympic break came at just the perfect time for us because when we came back, we were on fire. When we came back, we just kept going," she said.