February 27, 2021
Lindsay Allen will play a key role in Fever’s ‘championship culture’
Can Allen, along with other veterans, lead the Fever to healthier days?
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The Indiana Fever have had an eventful offseason, as they are hard at work instilling a culture that Tamika Catchings believes will lead the organization to its first postseason appearance in five years. In her latest move, Catchings traded for fourth-year guard Lindsay Allen, acquiring the former Las Vegas Ace for the 14th pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.
Allen played, and started, 21 games for the Aces during the 2020 season after missing 2019 due to offseason knee surgery. She averaged 3.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists, providing speed and agility to a Las Vegas roster missing its usual starting point guard, Kelsey Plum.
“What Lindsay’s able to do on the court, the way she carries herself on the professional side, the success that she’s had, she knows how to win and that’s what we want,” Catchings said. “I think that she adds a different element from the point guard position that we haven’t had.”
Allen helped lead the Aces to the 2020 WNBA Finals, where they fell to the Seattle Storm in three games. Despite the result, Catchings believes the point guard’s playoff experience will prove invaluable in educating the Fever’s young core.
“We’re building a championship culture, we’re looking at the opportunity of when we will win our championship and I feel like Lindsay brings a lot.”
Allen was originally drafted 14th overall by the New York Liberty in 2017. After seeing her playing time fluctuate over her first three seasons, she was pleased to be prioritized in free agency.
“It was evident in my early conversations with Tamika and Coach [Marianne] Stanley that they had a clear vision for where they wanted this organization and this team to be. That was the exciting part,” Allen said. “I’m just happy they wanted me to be a part of it and they thought I’d be a good fit.”
Allen returns to the state of Indiana after playing four seasons at Notre Dame, where she finished as the program’s all-time leader in assists. She said she has already received congratulatory messages from former Irish coach Muffet McGraw and current coach Niele Ivey, both eager for her to make frequent visits to campus.
“It’s like just a comfort level when it comes to Indiana, and it’s just that home feeling that I get in Indiana and also in the Midwest as well. I’m excited to get back there and get to work.”
She also reunites with Danielle Robinson, who played for the Aces in 2020 as well. Though more experienced, Robinson was Allen’s backup in Las Vegas’ point guard rotation, averaging 22 minutes off the bench. Both players bring tremendous speed in transition and can help the Fever run an up-tempo offense.
“I was upset when [Robinson] first left,” Allen admitted. “But now that it’s worked out and we’re together again, I think we’ll be able to provide that one-two punch in the backcourt and play off each other and support each other and just be there for whatever the other might need.”
Catchings has been outspoken about her displeasure with the team’s poor results over the past four seasons, saying she never wants to be in the draft lottery again.
She is aiming to fill her roster with players who are similar in style and personality to her — professional and relentless. Allen is clearly aligned with the vision of the former franchise great, which was evident when she spoke about what made her past teams buy into a culture and experience success.
“Some of it is just joy for the game, joy of being able to spend time together on the court,” said Allen. “Part of it is accountability, part of it is leadership … just being willing to come together and want what’s best for the team.”
Besides Allen and Robinson, Catchings has targeted several veterans whom she believes will provide the roster with the leadership it has lacked in recent years. Though the Fever did lose Candice Dupree, they’ve already added Jantel Lavender (by inking her to a long-term deal) and Jessica Breland — two posts with a combined 17 years of WNBA experience.
“There are players that we looked at that, even as we talked about, didn’t fit the culture that we want,” said Catchings. “We were very intentional with the players that we wanted, very intentional with the players that we felt like could help our team grow and continue to help us become a championship team.”
It will be interesting to follow how the existing core of young players such Teaira McCowan, Kelsey Mitchell and the emerging Lauren Cox blend with the recently acquired veterans. The Fever also have the potential to add more youth, as they currently hold the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft.
“When you look at our team and the players we’ve been able to bring, it excites me to see the different level that we’ll be playing at in the upcoming year,” Catchings said.