|STAR OF THE GAME
While playing just under 30 minutes, Catchings had a game high of 24 points, scoring 15 of them in the first half. Catchings also lead the Fever in rebounds with a total of eight.
Tan White came off the bench and contributed three assists and nine points to help lead the Fever to victory.
“Our whole team contributed tonight and we put together a good win. We are a very deep team. No matter who goes in, it will be the same. My role is to come off the bench and be a spark, contribute and change the tempo of the game."
Points in the paint:
Fever 26, Sparks 34
Fever 17, Sparks 16
Fever 11, Sparks 12
Points off turnovers:
Fever 23, Sparks 11
Fever 56, Sparks 53
Fever 27, Sparks 17
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Fever are showing that they can win, regardless of how Tamika Catchings shoots.
The perennial All-Star scored just 12 points in the season-opening win over Minnesota, but she bounced back to score 24 on Thursday night as the Fever beat the Los Angeles Sparks 83-70.
Catchings shot 8-for-14 from the field after shooting 3-for-8 in the opener.
"I felt it," she said. "I was definitely looking for my shot more. I have to do what I have to do to help this team."
Catchings also had eight rebounds and five assists.
Chamique Holdsclaw led the Sparks with 23 points and six rebounds and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 12 points and six boards for the Sparks (1-1).
Indiana's bench outscored Los Angeles' 25-17. Five Fever reserves played at least nine minutes.
"I thought our bench did a good job of coming in and giving us a lift," Indiana coach Brian Winters said. "Our depth showed up. As the game went on, they (the Sparks) wore down a little bit."
The Fever (2-0) forced 20 turnovers and outrebounded the Sparks 34-29. Catchings likes the way the team has looked in the early going.
"I think things are going well," Catchings said. "It's kind of fun to see everybody out there doing their thing. I'm definitely impressed. The more we practice, the more we play with one another, the better we'll get."
The Fever also left an impression on Sparks coach Michael Cooper.
"Indiana is putting the pieces together," he said. "They're the best team in the East."
Indiana led 49-38 early in the third quarter before Los Angeles got hot. A 3-pointer by Holdsclaw capped a 12-1 run for the Sparks and tied the score at 50 with 3:15 left in the period.
"We got kind of stagnant on offense," Winters said. "They made a number of perimeter shots and were aggressive on the defensive end."
Indiana closed the quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 60-52 lead into the final period. Indiana's Tan White closed the quarter with a 3-pointer from the right corner with less than a second remaining.
Indiana led by as many as 17 points in the final period.
Indiana led 42-33 at halftime. Catchings scored 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first 20 minutes.
The Fever joins the New York Liberty, the Detroit Shock and the Seattle Storm as the only 2-0 teams in the WNBA.
Tonight's win is Indiana's second ever (2-10) vs. the L.A. Sparks and it ends the Fever's five-game losing streak to the Sparks. That streak had been the longest active streak vs. any WNBA team.
With tonight's win, the Fever starts a season 2-0 for the fourth time in eight seasons and for the third campaign in a row. Heading into Tuesday's game at Minnesota, the only time that the Fever has gone 3-0 in a season was in 2006 when it started with wins in its first four games.
Including her eight boards and five assists tonight, Tamika Catchings has topped the Fever in both departments in each of the season's first two games.
Catchings also led the Fever with 24 points tonight, that is the second most points scored by any player in the Eastern Conference thus far in 2007. New York's Erin Thorn scored 28 points vs. Chicago, 5/20.
The Fever benefited from the Sparks' 20 turnovers, scoring 23 points off L.A.'s miscues. On the other hand, the Fever had just 11 turnovers, one off the fewest by any team in the league this season.
With 83 points in each of its first two games, the Fever has scored 80+ points in consecutive since the first two games of June 2006. In those two games, the Fever scored 87 points in a loss at Minnesota, 6/2, and 83 points in a win vs. Washington, 6/7.
Tully Bevilaqua logged 22 minutes tonight and did not commit a turnover. Bevilaqua has had just one turnover in a combined 108 minutes over the course of five games (preseason and regular season).
Tan White has led the Fever bench in assists in each of the first two games with three in each contest. In those two games, she has committed a total of two turnovers.
The WNBA leader in steals in 2006, Tamika Catchings registered her first two steals of the 2007 season tonight.
In her first appearance in a Fever uniform, Sheri Sam scored two points with a rebound, an assist and a team-high tying two steals in 16+ minutes.
In just nine-plus minutes, Alison Bales grabbed a bench-high tying five rebounds and scored six points on 2-5 FG and 2-2 FT. She also registered one of the team's two blocked shots tonight.
Among the poorest shooting teams in the WNBA (.407) last season, Indiana has shot 47 percent or better in each of the first two games.
2007 Game Report Archive