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Defending WNBA champion Fever fly under the radar

Champion Fever fly under the radar

INDIANAPOLIS – The defending champion Indiana Fever feel as if they are under the radar all over again heading into the WNBA season.

The team brings back 10 players from the 2012 roster and will be trying to become the first repeat champion since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.

“After we won, people were like, ‘Oh, they won.’ Kind of shocked,” Finals MVP Tamika Catchings said Monday at media day. “Even going into this year, they’re looking at Phoenix because Brittney Griner’s there … Chicago Sky because (Elena) Delle Donne’s there … Tulsa to be a lot better because Skylar’s (Diggins) is down there. They’re not really talking about the Fever, even though we won. I don’t feel like we’re the hunted team. I do like that.”

Those first three picks of the 2013 draft are already household names.

The Fever won’t sneak up on anyone but will still carry an underdog status.

The Fever could have easily rolled over in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals when Katie Douglas tore a tendon in her ankle in the first five minutes. They went on to trounce No. 1-seeded Connecticut by 16 points. Defending champion Minnesota was the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and significant favorites in the finals, especially with Douglas out for the series. The Fever won in four games.

“Nobody really cares what you did last year. The question is what are you doing right now?” coach Lin Dunn said. “What are you preparing to do for the future? We’re trying to stay focused on the moment.”

The Fever opens the season May 24 at San Antonio.

– Associated Press