A surprising dismissal
The Indiana Fever announced Monday that Pokey Chatman, the team’s head coach and general manager, has been fired.
“We want to thank Pokey for her time with our franchise and we wish her the absolute best,” Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever Vice President of Basketball Operations, said in a press release. “Our organization is optimistic about our future as we continue to build on our 20-year legacy as one of the WNBA’s most successful franchises.”
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Chatman’s firing comes on the heels of a season with clear progress, in the third campaign she had in charge. The Fever, after finishing 6-28 in 2018, improved to 13-21 in 2019. Her final weekend at the helm, the Fever held the Liberty to just seven points in the fourth quarter on Friday night, then scored 104 against the second overall seed in the 2019 playoffs, the Connecticut Sun.
In that game, Kelsey Mitchell scored 38 points, further progress from Chatman’s biggest acquisition, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft. Her 2019 pick, Teaira McCowan at three overall, has been dominant down the stretch of her rookie season, and finished second to only Napheesa Collier among rookies in win shares. Additions like Betnijah Laney and waiver-wire pickup Kennedy Burke contributed down the stretch as well.
But ultimately, a team that made a habit of making the playoffs with Catchings on the roster missed the postseason for the third consecutive season without her.
Now it will be up to Catchings to determine who the right head coach is moving forward. Whether a new GM will be named, and how the power division will be defined in the Catchings executive era, should be clearer later Monday, when Catchings is scheduled to hold a conference call with reporters.
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