Harrassing Defense Lifts Fever
|STAR OF THE GAME
Douglas scored a season-high 30 points in under 31 minutes of play. With her first basket of the second half, Douglas became the 10th player in WNBA history to score 5,000 points in her career.
Catchings finished with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting. She also added five rebounds, four steals and one assist.
“It’s nice to come back home and get a big win against a very good team. Phoenix started out really hot but we chipped away and got back in the game. This was a good win after a long road trip. I thought we did a good job against their zone.”
On her 30 point performance
“I think my teammates did a good job of finding me. I was trying tonight to get a little closer to the basket. I was trying to take it off the dribble a little bit more. I missed several layups at San Antonio. So I was trying to do a better job of finishing tonight. It’s just all about the team. I was happy to get a win. We’re going to try to keep everything going on Wednesday.”
Points in the paint:
Fever 30, Mercury 34
Fever 14, Mercury 13
Fever 22, Mercury 4
Points off turnovers:
Fever 30, Mercury 9
Fever 59, Mercury 47
Fever 30, Mercury 36
Gameday Spotlight: Fever Hopes Continued and Consistent Success Can Lead to Championship
By Tom Rietmann | September 9, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana's 89-83 victory over visiting Phoenix on Sunday night boiled down to this: The Fever's disruptive defense created all manner of turnovers while its offense handled the basketball with care.
Indiana's defense chose to ramp up the full-court pressure early, taking advantage of the the absence of Mercury point guard Samantha Prahalis, who was out with a shoulder injury. The plan worked nicely as the Fever forced Phoenix into 23 turnovers that led to 30 points for the home team.
Indiana's players, meanwhile, committed only six turnovers -- one more than the franchise low -- and used their ball-handling edge to win a game in which they were outshot (53.3 percent to 42.1) and outrebounded (44 to 35).
Thanks in large part to the heat, the Fever closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run that clearly switched the momentum in its favor.
“I thought that really turned the game around when we extended our defense and made their forwards handle the basketball,” said Lin Dunn, who gained her 100th victory as Fever coach.
The strategy also helped Indiana produce 22 fast-break points to the Mercury's four. Katie Douglas, who led the Fever with a season-high 30 points, thoroughly enjoyed the pace. Her output also pushed her over the 5,000 mark for career points (5,016), making her just the 10th WNBA player to achieve that number.
Like she has in the recent past as other personal milestones have been reached, Douglas preferred to discuss something else: the future for her Indiana team.
“Maybe later on, looking back, I'll be able to cherish it a lot more,” Douglas said. “But right now my mission and my focus is helping to put this team, in any way possible, in a position to win a championship.”
The victory lifted Indiana to 19-9 and marked the club's fifth straight triumph at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and its ninth in 11 outings since the WNBA's Olympics break. The Fever has traveled a number of different offensive paths in its victories -- sometimes 3-pointers (7-of-18 against Phoenix), other times strong free throw shooting (18-of-22). The constant, however, has been defense.
“We talk about this every single game,” said forward Tamika Catchings, who had 19 points and five rebounds against the Mercury (7-21). “Our defense is our best offense when we're able to get steals and transition points and easy baskets.”
Catchings views the Fever as a team that knows how to move into scramble mode and force turnovers in big numbers.
“We all buy into helping each other out,” she said. “When one person gets beat, there's another person there to help. We all buy into the system.”
The Fever totaled 13 steals, topped by Catchings' four. Seven players had at least one.
“We just kept rolling with it once we started putting pressure on (the Mercury's) ball-handlers,” said Fever guard Briann January.
Indiana also enjoyed a team milestone on Sunday night. The Fever's seven 3-pointers gave the squad 230 for the season, a franchise record.
“We have people who are good at the 3-point shot,” Dunn said. “We'd be remiss if we didn't shoot it.”
Postgame Notes:Tonight’s win is the Fever’s 11th at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2012 and it has won at least 10 home games in 11 consecutive seasons, setting a WNBA record. The previous longest streaks of winning 10 or more home games was 10 seasons in a row by the Sacramento Monarchs (1999-2008) and nine straight seasons by the New York Liberty (1997-2005).
Tonight’s win is the 100th of Lin Dunn’s career with the Fever.
Indiana has won five straight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, its only streak of two wins or more in a row at home this season.
With the first basket of the second half, Katie Douglas became the 10th player in WNBA history to score 5,000 points in her career.
In all, Douglas scored a season-high 30 points tonight.
Including three in the final stages of the fourth quarter, the Fever had a season-low six turnovers tonight, tying the fewest by any team in the WNBA this season. That is the second fewest ever committed by the Fever in a single game.
Having grabbed 13 steals, the Fever had more steals than turnovers for the fourth time in 2012. With four, Tamika Catchings led four Indiana players that had multiple thefts tonight.
The Fever forced Phoenix into 23 turnovers and scored 30+ points off those mistakes, matching its most this season.
Outrebounded by Phoenix, 38-25, Indiana ran its record in games with a rebounding deficit to 10-8 this season.
Briann January had a team-high five assists tonight and has had at least five in each of the last three games.
Just one game after having a season-low nine points in San Antonio, the Indiana bench contributed 30 points to tonight’s victory. The Fever got at least two points from every reserve with Sasha Goodlett and Erin Philips scoring eight points. Goodlett’s eight points are her most this season.
Indiana’s 54 points in the first half tied the eighth most in franchise history in a single half and were just five points short of the all-time team record
With its seven 3-pt FG tonight, the Fever has made 230 in 2012, an all-time franchise record.
The Fever outscored the Mercury 22-4 in fast-break points and that is Indiana’s first game with 20+ fast break points this season.