Preseason: Fever 80, Silver Stars 75
SAN ANTONIO – Shavonte Zellous scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and the Indiana Fever overcame a nine-point deficit with 5:05 remaining to upend the San Antonio Silver Stars in the WNBA preseason opener for both teams, 80-75, at AT&T Center. Indiana, the defending WNBA champions, outscored the Silver Stars 16-2 down the stretch with 12 of 16 coming from Zellous and rookie Layshia Clarendon.
A Clarendon jumper cut the San Antonio advantage to 73-70 with 2:48 to play and a three-point play by Zellous completed a 9-0 run to knot the score at 73. Two more Zellous free throws gave the Fever its first lead of the game with 2:04 to play. San Antonio’s Julie Wojta tied it at 75 with 1:23 remaining, but Zellous answered with a bucket at the 1:02 mark as Indiana scored the last five points.
Tamika Catchings led Indiana with 17 points while Zellous and Clarendon each pitched in 13. Katie Douglas scored 12. Guard Jia Perkins led the Silver Stars with 14 points while Danielle Robinson added 10 points.
“I don’t know how far we got down, but I thought [San Antonio’s] sense of urgency in the first half was greater than ours,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn. “In crunch time with five minutes left, I thought we stepped up. We played for five minutes like we should have played for 40.”
San Antonio jumped out to an early lead, outscoring Indiana, 23-15, in the first quarter behind six points for Perkins and four from Danielle Adams off the bench. Indiana rallied, outscoring the Silver Stars by three, 19-16, in the second quarter to cut the deficit to five at halftime, 39-34.
The teams meet again next Wednesday afternoon (12:00 p.m.), May 15 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, to close the preseason for both teams.
Fever coach Lynn Dunn:
(Thoughts on both teams’ execution...) “I thought it was a good exhibition game. I thought both teams got to let a lot of people play a lot of minutes. Everybody on both teams played double minutes. I know our team did. That was our goal, to get everybody double minutes. It was really to see what the people that are trying out can do. I thought San Antonio did a really good job. Their offensive execution was excellent, which is going to help us with our defense. Our weak side defense right now is really soft. I just thought it was a good exhibition game. They got on the boards and hurt us on the boards, so what we want to do is find out what we need to do to get better. One way is to rebound better and defend better.”
(On the sense of urgency to finish the game...) “I don’t know how far we got down, maybe ten, but I thought their sense of urgency in the first half was greater than ours. They were taking the game much more seriously than our players were. In crunch time with five minutes left, I thought we stepped up. We played for five minutes like we should have played for 40. I was really impressed with San Antonio. I think they’re going to have a really good team. I think the addition of (DeLisha) Milton-Jones is going to be real good for them.”
Fever forward Tamika Catchings:
(Thoughts on the game...) “I thought we started the game off really slow. It was good to see the new players get in and get adjusted. It’s going to be a much different game playing them on Wednesday at home and come back to play them again on the beginning of the season, so you look at this game as more of a practice for both teams, not necessarily one or the other. They’ve got a lot of people on their roster, so they’re just trying to figure out who to put on their team.”
(On the players fighting back to take the lead in the second half...) “I thought it was really good, especially coming off a bad start, to come back and nip the lead off a little bit. The group that was in there in the third quarter going into the fourth quarter was able to fight back with rebounding, steals, defensive stops, and being able to score by getting to the free throw line and finishing shots. I think that says a lot for the players who were out there because we’re trying to fill roster spots too.”
San Antonio Quotes
Silver Stars Head Coach Dan Hughes
(Opening statement) “It was a preseason game. You kind of look at your veterans and analyze what you’ve done in practice. Then the younger ones you just want to put on display. Let them play the game. It’s like a lot of good preseason games. It points out some things you look at and say, ‘We’re going to be able to do some of theses things.” And it points out some things we got to work at. We played the end of the game with nobody that has ever been in that situation as a Silver Star. It’s important that we get some reads on some of our younger players, in that regard. Several of the vets played well. It’s going to be a building process now. Each preseason game is going to give us a little more information that we really need before that opener. We’re just seeing who can play to be honest. We want to play 14 people and win the game, but we want to play 14 people to some degree to see who can play. That’s also part of the deal.”
(When asked how does it feel to play in your home town…) “I’m home. This is where I wanted to be. It felt great to be home. It feels good to play for this team. It’s a wonderful team to play on. I’m excited.”
(When asked if she was more nervous playing in her home town, than in college…) “Definitely a lot more nerves. It’s a different level. This has been some thing I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid. I was born and raised here. I’ve looked up to some of these girls here like Becky Hammond and Sophia Young. I’ve been watching them play since forever. Just being here is an honor.”