Fever Holds Off Surging Mercury In Phoenix
Box Score | WNBA Recap
PHOENIX, AZ – Tully Bevilaqua’s steal and ensuing 3-point play the old fashioned way with 42.2 seconds left sealed an 83-73 victory for the Indiana Fever over the Phoenix Mercury Friday night.
Phoenix used a 9-0 run to cut Indiana’s double-digit lead down to three and had a chance to tie with less than one minute remaining. However, the smallest player on the floor provided the biggest defensive play of the game to lift the Fever to its 10th win of the season.
Tamika Whitmore scored a game-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting and added a game-high nine rebounds. It was the fourth consecutive game Whitmore was Indiana’s leading scorer. Tamika Catchings had a quiet 20 points despite some foul trouble early on.
Dianna Taurasi finished with 21 points and six rebounds to lead the Mercury. Fourteen of Taurasi’s points came in the second half during the Mercury’s surge. Cappie Pondexter followed with 14, while Kamila Vodichkova contributed ten points for Phoenix.
Facing the league’s top-scoring team, it was the Fever that opened the game scoring at a dizzying pace. Indiana exploded out of the gates, scoring the game’s first ten points, ignited by a 3-pointer from Anna DeForge on its first possession of the game.
The Fever led by as many as 12 in the first quarter before holding the Mercury to its lowest scoring quarter of the season, leading by ten, 24-14, after one.
Phoenix went on a 7-2 run to open the second quarter including five in a row from Pondexter to cut Indiana’s lead down to five at 26-21. Late in the second, Tan White converted a transition bucket to extended Indiana’s lead to 15 before a DeForge 3-point play gave the Fever its largest lead of the game, 44-28, with 1:40 left in the first half. The Fever was able to extend its first quarter lead despite Catchings being sidelined with three fouls early in the period.
The Mercury managed just 28 points in the first half, which was its lowest total this season. Indiana also forced 12 Mercury turnovers in the first two quarters and never trailed.
Phoenix would score the first six points of the third quarter before Taurasi caught fire. After scoring just seven points in the first half, Taurasi dropped 12 in the third quarter alone to help carve into Indiana’s double-digit lead.
The Mercury went on to outscore the Fever 27-17 in the third to cut its deficit down to six heading into the fourth quarter. Phoenix continued its run early in the final stanza, however, Catchings converted a crucial 4-point play to extend the Fever’s lead back to double digits midway through the period.
Indiana outscored Phoenix 8-1 in the final minute of the fourth quarter before claiming its third consecutive win over the Mercury.
2006 Game Report Archive