Indiana surrenders 16-point comeback in 70-64 loss to Connecticut


WNBA | Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, Conn.)

August 1, 2013

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Tina Charles finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds to accent a 16-point comeback as the Connecticut Sun downed the Indiana Fever 74-60 on Thursday.

The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Sun (5-12). The Fever (8-10), playing with just eight players due to the absence of Tamika Catchings and Erin Phillips, lost a halftime lead or tie for the sixth time this season.

Allison Hightower and Mistie Bass each added 12 points for the Sun who claimed a 2-1 season advantage over Indiana. Former Fever star Tan White added 10 points for the Sun, 7 in the decisive fourth quarter.

Shavonte Zellous, returning to the site of her first All-Star appearance just five days ago, led Indiana with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting.

For Indiana, it was the third time the Fever has surrendered a 16-point second-half advantage this year. It was the fourth time the Fever has been forced to dress just eight players.

“On the road and with just eight people, you have to do the little things right,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn. “I thought we wore out, especially in the last five minutes. They had some fresh bodies and Bass and White really hurt us late.”

“Any time you win the boards on the road (38-32), you ought to win the ballgame. But you also can’t miss eight free throws and expect to win on the road.”

Connecticut stormed from behind to begin the fourth quarter, scoring 15 straight points to cut Indiana’s lead to 52-51. After White’s 3-pointer knotted the score at 54 with 6:17 remaianing, the clubs see-sawed until Bass’ bucket with :50 seconds left gave Connecticut its first lead, 63-62, since a 23-22 advantage late in the first half.

A pair of free throws from Hightower gave the Sun a 3-point lead, and another from Indianapolis native Kelly Faris lifted the Sun lead to 66-62. A pair of charity shots by Jessica Breland kept Indiana within two, but Hightower and White closed the scoring with two more pairs of free throws in the final 20 seconds.

The Indiana loss overshadowed a career effort by its bench and role players for most of three quarters. Starting in place of Catchings, Breland scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. She added seven rebounds. Likewise, Karima Christmas’ 13 points and team-high nine rebounds nearly matched career-highs of 16 and 10. Second-year player Sasha Goodlett finished with a career-high seven rebounds.

Indiana commanded its largest lead of the contest, 52-36, after a 34-13 run sandwiched around intermission. The Fever ended the first half on a 16-2 run, capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Briann January and Zellous less than 30 seconds before intermission.

It was not enough, though, to keep the Sun from repeating an eerily similar comeback to that which cut a 21-point lead in Indianapolis on July 6 – with the Sun drawing within 2 before Indiana ran away with a 78-66 home win.

January’s lone 3-pointer pushed her past 1,000 points for her career to become just the eighth player to reach the milestone in a Fever uniform.

The Fever resumes its schedule by hosting East-leading Chicago at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, Aug. 3 (7:00 p.m.).