Miller’s Game-Winner Pushes Fever Past New York

Kelly Miller scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting and contributed five assists, but by far her most important play was the game-winning basket and free throw with 0.9 seconds remaining. Miller also contributed two steals and three rebounds in 37 minutes.
Schumacher dominated the low post in the first half, scoring five of the Fever's first eight field goals. She finished with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and added three rebounds and two blocked shots.
On Kelly Miller's game-winning shot:
“It worked just as we designed it.”

On the flow of the game:
"In the first half, we had success early going inside to Shu (Kelly Schumacher) and Natalie (Williams). This is the first time all year we've had great success getting the ball inside. In the first half, we got stops and got our lead by running. At the start of the second half, we didn't shoot the ball very well. We did not get stops and thus we did not run as well. I liked our mental toughness in the second half. That's the sign of a good team."

On Tamika Catchings:
“Tamika is playing well. She is getting assists and rebounds. Her shooting is not there right now. But it's the sign of a good team when we win and Tamika has an off shooting night.”

On the game:
“The team is more attack-oriented. We were trying to take it to New York."

On the last play of the game:
“It's a play that we practice. We ran it because we felt very comfortable with it."

On her offensive game tonight:
“Because (Elena) Baranova was getting into foul trouble, they emphasized getting the ball down low for inside scoring. We have been emphasizing working the ball down low to take advantage of the good wing players that we have."

On the game in general:
“It was an exciting win and a good win after coming off the road with only a day of practice."

Points in the paint:
Fever 34, Liberty 26
Fast-break points:
Fever 9, Liberty 4
Second-chance points:
Fever 16, Liberty 7
Points off turnovers:
Liberty 10, Fever 7
Starters scoring:
Liberty 48, Fever 45
Bench scoring:
Fever 17, Liberty 11
Box Score | WNBA Recap
Fever 62, Liberty 59

June 10, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

INDIANAPOLIS – Kelly Miller’s three-point play with 0.9 seconds to play lifted the Indiana Fever past the New York Liberty for the second time this season, 62-59. Miller and teammate Kelly Schumacher both scored 12 points to lead the Fever (5-3) to the win.

The Fever dominated the first half, leading by as many as 14 points, but the Liberty (2-4) cut that lead in half before the end of the period. New York’s momentum continued and the lead changed hands six times in the second half. With 0:30 left, New York’s Becky Hammon hit a layup in traffic to tie the score at 59, leading to Miller’s dramatic finish.

On its final possession and Indiana holding for the last shot, the Fever called a timeout with 4.9 seconds left after a double foul was called on Indiana’s Tamika Catchings and New York’s Crystal Robinson while battling in the high post.

Coming out of the timeout, and running the play as it was drawn in the huddle, Miller curled off a screen, took a pass at the top of the key, drove the left side of the lane and lofted the right-handed game-winner from four feet. Officials reviewed the play, counting the basket and putting Miller at the free throw line with 0:00.9 seconds to play, after ruling she was fouled by Shameka Christon. Miller’s free throw provided the final margin as Christon’s desperation heave as time expired ended the game.

Miller’s shot lifted the Fever past New York for the fifth time in the last six games, and improved Indiana’s home record to 4-0.

The Fever got off to a quick start at the game’s outset when rookie guard Tan White hit an eight-foot jumper on the game’s first possession. The Liberty tied the score on a Vickie Johnson field goal, but the Fever then went on a 12-4 run and held the lead for the rest of the half. Schumacher scored 10 of the team’s first 18 points and added two rebounds and one block in the first half. As a team the Fever chalked 14 assists in the first half.

New York managed to close the half on a 10-3 run and after a Tamika Catchings lay-up to start the second half (her first basket of the game), the Liberty scored 10 consecutive points to take the lead, 41-40, with 15:50 left to play. Ann Wauters scored 12 second half points and 19 for the game to lead the Liberty. Vickie Johnson and Christon also scored 12 and 11, respectively, for New York, who never led by more than three points.

The game went back and forth in the final fifteen minutes. With 5:38 left to play, Deanna Jackson hit a pair of free throws that gave Indiana a 52-51 lead, and the Fever never trailed again.

White, in the third start of her career, finished the game with eight points and three assists. Forward Natalie Williams added seven points and eight rebounds for the Fever. Catchings, the team’s leading scorer, contributed three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, but continued to struggle from the field, shooting 1-of-12 from the field to finish with six points. It was the second straight game that the Fever All-Star has failed to score a field goal in the first half.

For Catchings, it was only the 10th time in 108 pro games that the Olympic gold medalist has scored in single digits. The silver lining for Indiana, though, is that the Fever has won all three games this season with Catchings scoring fewer than 10 points – a stark contrast to the 1-6 franchise record in those games prior to this season.

Indiana, which hosts Eastern Conference-leading Detroit next Wednesday, began a stretch with seven home games in a nine-game span.

  • The Fever is 4-0 at home for the second time in its history and the team is 5-3 after eight games for the second time in franchise history. Indiana was also 4-0 at home and 5-3 overall during the 2003 campaign.
  • Indiana is undefeated (3-0) against Eastern Conference opponents in 2005.
  • Including 10 in the first half, Kelly Schumacher scored a season-high 12 points to tie for the team lead in scoring. That is the first time she has led the team in scoring since doing so in the first two games of September, 2004, at Washington, 9/1, and at Minnesota, 9/3. In all, she has led the team in scoring a total of five times.
  • Natalie Williams' game-high eight boards featured a season-high tying four offensive rebounds.
  • Including a bench-high five tonight, Ebony Hoffman has had five or more rebounds in four straight games. Her seven points tonight were one short of her most this season.
  • In a career-high 35 minutes, Tan White tied her career-best with three assists tonight.
  • Including a team-high tying 12 points tonight, Kelly Miller has scored in double figures in three straight games and in four of the last six contests.
  • Shooting 1-12 from the floor, Tamika Catchings scored in single digits for the third time this season. The Fever is 3-0 this season when she scores less than 10 points.
  • In the last three games, Kelly Miller has had 14 assists and just two turnovers, while averaging 36.0 mpg.
  • The Liberty's Becky Hammon dealt a season-high nine assists and grabbed four steals without committing a turnover in 37 minutes.
  • The Fever is now 2-0 this season in games decided by three points or less.
  • The Fever has had a season-high five blocked shots in each of the last two games.
  • The Fever had a season-low tying 10 turnovers and forced the Liberty into an opponent season-low 10 turnovers. The Fever had a season-low five steals tonight, including two apiece from Tamika Catchings and Kelly Miller.
  • Indiana's 38 points in the first half represent its best first half of the season. The Fever's 24 points in the second half represents its lowest output for a second half this season.
  • New York was 6-6 from the foul line tonight, tying the fewest free throws ever attempted by a Fever opponent. That is the third time in the history of the franchise that an opponent had attempted just six free throws in a game. The other two were both by the Washington Mystics--the last of which came at Conseco Fieldhouse, 7/6/02.
  • The Fever hit just one 3-pt FG for the fourth time in its history and the first time since doing so at Charlotte, 8/20/03. However, Kelly Miller's 3-pt FG tonight extended the Fever's streak of games with at least one 3-pt FG to 173 straight games--every game in team history.