61 at Indiana
By Tom Rietmann | June 21, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- When the Indiana Fever plays with this kind of offensive precision and defensive fierceness, there's little an opponent can do to blunt the push. The Connecticut Sun found out Thursday night.
Six Indiana players scored in double figures, which has happened only four times in franchise history, and the Fever totaled a season high for points. The Sun shot a meager 32.8 percent from the field (20-of-61), including a 2-of-17 mark on 3-pointers, and scored a season low for an Indiana foe.
The final score reflected the magnitude of Indiana's a victory – 95-61 – with the 34-point margin marking the worst loss in Connecticut team history.
“It was,” said Indiana Coach Lin Dunn, “by far the best game we've played this year.”
The Fever lifted its record to 6-4 ahead of a three-game trip that begins Saturday night at Tulsa. The Sun, like the Fever a strong contender in the WNBA Eastern Conference, fell to 9-3.
Indiana opened a 10-0 lead, expanded it to 37-17 in the second quarter and was up 57-30 at halftime. Other than a skittish start to the third quarter, the Fever cruised.
“We really came out on defense and that fueled our offense,” said Indiana point guard Briann January, who scored a career-high 20 points. “When we're playing defense, turning them over, getting easy things in transition, that fuels us. That loosens us up a bit.
“We wanted to come out of the gate hard … just make a statement from the jump. That's what we did.”
January and fellow point guard Erin Phillips, who had 14 points, combined to hit 7-of -9 from the 3-point arc. They also had seven of the team's 23 assists on 36 field goals.
“We're starting to find our groove as a team,” said Phillips, who has totaled 25 points in two games since returning from a stint with her Australian national team.
“We're a team that can still build on things and get better,” Phillips noted. “We're definitely a team that's not satisfied. We want to get better, and we push each other to get better. I think this (game) is a benchmark. From here, we just need to keep growing.”
Katie Douglas scored 17 points while Shavonte Zellous and Tamika Catchings had 13 each. Catchings, who also had 10 rebounds, finished two assists shy of a triple-double. Jeanette Pohlen scored 12 points, all from the 3-point line.
“For 30 or 35 minutes, it was definitely one of the best games we've had this season,” Catchings said, echoing her head coach.
The 57-point first half ranked as the second-biggest output in Fever club history.
“We came out blazing in the first two quarters,” Douglas said. “I think it was the most fun we've had as far as playing together and playing almost a complete game. I think we did well, and we're hoping to build off this and be ready on Saturday.”
The Sun was led in scoring with 11 points from Mistie Mims. Tina Charles, Connecticut's Olympic center, garnered only six points on 3-of-11 shooting.
The Fever victory over Connecticut on Thursday came two days after Indiana lost in overtime at the Sun's arena, 88-85.
“I thought we came out with an enormous amount of energy,” Dunn said. “I thought we were defending at a very, very high level. I think we were really disappointed that we let that game slip away from us the other night.”