Cold-Shooting Fever Falls in L.A.
August 13, 2005 at Staples Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Indiana, bidding for a franchise-record 17th victory and its first road win in five tries against the Sparks, surrendered an 8-0 run midway through the second half to trail by seven, 51-44, and have to play catch-up through the game's final minutes. The Fever twice cut the margin to three, each time on free throws by Natalie Williams, but the Sparks' rebounding edge - 16-7 in the second half - helped thwart any Fever rallies. Los Angeles outrebounded Indiana 30-22 for the game.
Chamique Holdsclaw scored 18 points, Lisa Leslie had 15 points and 11 rebounds and the Sparks rallied late in the first half to knot the score at 31. Mwadi Mabika, whose 3-pointer tied the score with 1.5 seconds before intermission, added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Sparks, 13-15, who broke a three-game losing streak and moved within one game of fourth-place Phoenix for the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Before Saturday night's victory, the Sparks had lost six of seven games.
Indiana, meanwhile, lost for the fourth time in its last six games while trying to hold onto second place in the Eastern Conference and secure its second playoff berth in franchise history. The Fever complete a three-game road swing and its final "back-to-back" of the season while playing at Phoenix on Sunday.
Tamika Catchings and Kelly Miller scored 10 points apiece for the Fever, 16-12, who trail first-place Connecticut in the East. Miller also had six rebounds and five assists. Catchings' two assists helped her to break her own franchise record for assists (119). She also contributed four steals to remain on pace to break the WNBA record of 100 steals in a single season.
Catchings' 3-pointer gave Indiana a 44-43 lead before Los Angeles scored eight unanswered points and used an 11-2 surge to move ahead 54-46 with 6:18 to play. The Fever made only one basket in a span of 6:50.
Indiana narrowed its deficit to 54-51 but the Sparks' Tamika Whitmore scored five points during a 10-3 run that extended the lead to 64-54 with 2:31 remaining.
Los Angeles made 15 of 28 shots in the second half while the Fever were 7-for-24.