I covered Chamique Holdsclaw’s career at Tennessee, and came away thinking SHE was the greatest player in women’s basketball history. But then I watched Lady Vol successor Tamika Catchings, and wondered if she might not be the best of the lot.
Based on Catchings’ sterling play with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, she’s making a strong case for recognition as the ultimate female hoops star. She recently made the league’s All-Decade Team and, at age 26, she’s still peaking as an athlete.
Whereas Holdsclaw was a prolific scorer who could take over a game in stretches, Catchings’ versatility and all-out hustle enable her to make a huge impact without even taking a shot. Earlier this week she hung 30 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals on the New York Liberty. But that was just another day at the office. She’s averaging 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.9 steals per game.
Clearly, the soft-spoken 6-foot-1 superstar can do it all. When you look at the many contributions Catchings makes, you’re tempted to rate her the finest women’s basketball player of all time.
There’s a nice article on Catchings posted at the ESPN.com website today. Penned by Mechelle Voepel, it includes this high praise from Fever coach Brian Winters:
"She is a unique player because she has tremendous ability at a number of positions. She has a great work ethic and the ability to rebound, and she can create off the dribble. She combines finesse and power maybe like nobody else in the game right now."
To view Voepel’s story, go to ESPN.com, scroll down to the “Spotlight” segment, then click on the Catchings teaser.