Fever F Catchings is WNBA MVP

By CLIFF BRUNT | September 22, 2011 | 1:55 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever has been selected the WNBA's most valuable player for the first time.

The 32-year-old forward had finished in the top five in the balloting eight times and was runner-up in 2009 and 2010.

Catchings averaged 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this season and is among the league's top 10 in scoring, rebounding, free-throw percentage and steals.

Indiana finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, giving the Fever homecourt advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Fever are playing Atlanta in the Eastern Conference finals.

Connecticut's Tina Charles was second, followed by Chicago center Sylvia Fowles, Seattle's Sue Bird and Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen.