ATLANTA AT INDIANA
Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Radio: 1070 The Fan
Television: NBA TV
Webcast: Live on FeverBasketball.com
Indiana and Atlanta each won on the road to tie the Eastern Semifinal series 1-1. The Dream defeated the Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 75-66 on Friday, while Indiana won the second matchup 103-88 on Sunday at Philips Arena.
The win on Sunday was a rare road victory for the Fever, who came into Game 2 with an all-time record of 4-15 in road playoff games.
The storyline of Indiana’s rousing Game 2 victory was its new starting lineup and the dramatic contrast between the Fever’s regular stars and some of its new stars. With Erin Phillips and Erin Larkins inserted into the starting lineup, six different players reached double-figure scoring with Larkins contributing a playoff career high of 16. Briann January was perhaps the Fever’s brightest star with 10-of-17 shooting for 24 points and seven assists, both career playoff highs, herself. Larkins and January easily overshadowed the Fever’s ordinary stars Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings, who combined to shoot only 2-of-17 through three quarters. Catchings, though, caught fire in the fourth quarter and was one point shy of the WNBA record with 18 points in the period.
The series winner will advance to meet the Connecticut Sun in the Eastern Conference Finals which begin Friday at Connecticut (8pm, ESPN2).
Game 2 marked the first time Atlanta lost at home against an Eastern Conference team in the playoffs since 2009. The Dream was 4-0 against teams from the East the past two years.
Indiana’s 103 points was the most ever given up by the Dream in a playoff game. Minnesota scored 101 points in the second game of last year’s WNBA Finals. It was the second time Indiana has reached the century mark in playoff competition its first since a 120-116 overtime loss at Phoenix in the 2009 Finals.
In Sunday’s victory, Tamika Catchings scored 18 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 13 rebounds. It was her 20th double-double in 39 career playoff games, and second in this series.
Erlana Larkins started Sunday’s game and scored a playoff career high 16 points, matching her regular season high. Larkins had just three double-digit scoring games in the regular season but now has two straight in the playoffs.
Players To Watch
Fever Briann January
After sitting out the last three regular season games with a concussion and being sidelined for part of Game 1 of the series due to an elbow to the midsection, January looked as good as she ever has in Sunday’s victory. The point guard scored a career playoff high 24 points for Indiana, sinking 10-of-17 shots. She also dished seven assists, playing almost a full 40 minutes. January was recently named to the 2012 WNBA
Besides the obvious duo of Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza, Harding is essential in whether Atlanta moves on to the East Finals, or not. In Game 1 of the series, Harding scored a game high 23 points, shooting 8-of-14 from the field. She also added seven assists. On Sunday she finished with 17 points, shooting 7-of-20 from the field and dishing six assists
Fever - F-Tamika Catchings, F- Katie Douglas, C-Erlana Larkins, G- Erin Phillips, G-Briann January
Mercury F- Sancho Lyttle, G/F- Angel McCoughtry C- Erika de Souza, G/F- Armintie Price G- Lindsey Harding
Fever vs. Dream - After losing the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals at home against Atlanta, the Indiana Fever was determined to return the favor. Tamika Catchings had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Briann January scored 24 points and the Fever beat the Dream 103-88 in Game 2 on Sunday to even the series. January scored 11 points in the third quarter to help Indiana extend a two-point halftime lead and Catchings had 18 in the fourth - one short of the WNBA record for a quarter. The deciding Game 3 will be Tuesday in Indianapolis, where the Dream eliminated the Fever in Game 3 of the East finals a year ago. Indiana, which was 13-4 at home this season, won the previous four postseason games at home before losing the last two.
The Fever is 3-2 against Atlanta in regular season play and 1-1 against the Dream in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Atlanta defeated Indiana 2-1 in the East Finals in 2011.