Fever overcomes 17-point deficit - again!

Katie Douglas
After missing her first nine shots of the game, Douglas connected on 11-of-18 to close the contest and recorded an epic second half while bringing Indiana back from another 17-point deficit. Douglas set a franchise record by scoring 26 of her game-high 28 points in the second half alone. She hit five 3-pointers while adding four assists and two steals.
Ebony Hoffman
Flip a coin - this could have gone to either Hoffman or Tamika Catchings. Both were deserving. But Hoffman, who hit the game-winning free throws with four seconds to play, also pulled down a game-high and career-matching 14 rebounds. Catchings scored 24 points with 11 boards. Catchings and Hoffman combined to shoot 13-of-13 from the foul stripe.
Fever 82, Liberty 81 (OT)
June 26, 2009 at Madison Square Garden (New York, N.Y.)
Box Score | Recap

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Final
Indiana 5-2 7 13 26 22 14 82
at New York 2-5 13 20 19 16 13 81

Katie Douglas' epic second half and clutch play from Tamika Catchings, Ebony Hoffman and Tully Bevilaqua all contributed to the Indiana Fever's fifth straight victory Friday night, overcoming a 17-point deficit to down the New York Liberty 82-81 at Madison Square Garden.

For the second game in a row, Indiana trailed by 17 points midway through the third period. And for the second straight game, it was Douglas to the rescue. After missing her first nine shots of the contest, Douglas scored a franchise record 26 points in the second half, alone, and Catchings' 3-point shot with 14.4 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. After Douglas pulled the Fever within one, 81-80, with 28 seconds left in overtime, it was a Bevilaqua steal that setup Indiana's final possession. Douglas would miss a 15-foot jumper, but Hoffman was fouled on the rebound and her two free throws with four seconds remaining proved the final margin.

Douglas scored 28 points to record her best scoring night in a Fever uniform. Catchings netted a season-high 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Hoffman chipped in 17 points and a career-matching 14 rebounds. Bevilaqua, though scoreless on the night, led the Fever with four steals including the decisive theft in the final seconds.

The comeback was eerily similar to last week's Fever win over Detroit, with the Shock posting a 17-point advantage with six minutes remaining in the third period. In that game, Douglas scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half as Indiana raced to a 12-point win.

The Fever (5-2), now in sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference, can match a franchise record with its sixth straight win when the same two teams battle again Saturday evening at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. New York (2-5) got 20 points from Shameka Christon and 15 from Loree Moore.

Game Notes

  • Indiana overcame a 17-point deficit for the second straight game and won its fifth straight game for just the second time in franchise history. Entering the game tied for the Eastern Conference lead, the Fever took over sole possession of first place. Indiana can match its longest win streak in franchise history when the two teams play again Saturday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.
  • Exactly one year after losing in triple overtime to the Liberty at MSG (102-96 on 6/26/08), the Fever and Liberty again went to overtime tonight.
  • Katie Douglas scored a game-high 28 points, all after halftime, to pace the Fever. Tamika Catchings scored a season-high 24 points including a corner 3-pointer with 14.4 seconds in regulation to force the overtime, and a clutch three-point play during the extra session.
  • Douglas’ 28 points matched her career high in a Fever uniform, and set a franchise record with 26 points in the second half, alone.
  • Though scoreless in the game, Tully Bevilaqua’s fourth steal interrupted the Liberty’s inbounds with 13 seconds in overtime to give Indiana a chance for the win. Douglas missed a 15-foot jumper on the ensuing possession, but Ebony Hoffman was fouled in pursuit of the rebound. With 0:04 remaining in OT, Hoffman hit both free throws for an 82-81 lead – its first lead since the game’s early moments.
  • Loree Moore’s 3-pointer staked the Liberty to a five point margin in OT, but Catchings’ 3-point play with 57.2 seconds left cut the margin to 80-78. Catherine Kraayeveld hit the first of two free throws for an 81-78 lead and 35 seconds left in OT, and just eight seconds later, Douglas’ bank shot pulled the Fever within one, 81-80, and setup the game’s final possession.
  • Catchings finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Ebony Hoffman had 17 points and matched a career-high with 14 boards.
  • For the second game in a row, Indiana trailed by 17 points midway through third quarter (50-33). And like it did during a comeback win against Detroit last Saturday, Indiana rallied to close the third period. The Fever outscored the Liberty 13-2 in the closing minutes of the period, and closed within 52-46 entering the fourth.
  • Like the Detroit comeback win when Douglas scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half, she again triggered the Fever comeback, this time scoring a Fever franchise record 26 points during the second half. Douglas missed her first nine shots of the game, but finished 11-of-27 overall to pace the Fever, including five 3-pointers. Her five 3-pointers were a Fever career high for Douglas.
  • Douglas’ 3-pointer brought Indiana within 55-54 with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Her 3-pointer with 4:45 to go knotted the score at 59 to erase the 17-point deficit.
  • Free throws helped stake the Liberty to a 68-63 lead with 26 seconds to play in regulation, but a Douglas bucket with 23.9 seconds left brought Indiana within 68-65. After Janel McCarville missed a pair of free throws, Catchings’ corner 3-pointer tied the game at 68 with 14.4 seconds remaining.
  • Averaging more than 75 points per game, the Fever managed to score just seven points in the game’s first quarter. Indiana scored 13 in the second period and trailed 33-20 at the intermission. The Fever shot just 7-of-31 shot attempts in the first half.
  • In a rare back-to-back series, Indiana hosts New York Saturday evening (7:00 p.m.) for Heart Healthy Night presented by Community Health Network. A health fair will take place before the game on the Main Concourse. The first 2,500 fans to the game will receive a recyclable Fever tote bag courtesy of Community Health Network.