Catchings Celebrates All-Star Voting with Double-Double and Last-Second Heroics
FeverBasketball.com Staff | July 8, 2014
TULSA – Tamika Catchings only played in one game prior to being announced as a starter for the WNBA All-Star Game. Voted for the ninth time despite her limited minutes, she responded with a thank you to fans and the 90th double-double of her career while leading the Indiana Fever to a 78-76 road victory at Tulsa.
The exclamation point came with 5.2 seconds remaining when Catchings took a sharp pass from Erlana Larkins for the game-winning layup – breaking a 76-76 tie and thwarting the Shock’s comeback bid. She finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.
“That was a play we don’t run without Tamika being in the lineup,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn whose team climbed into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference standings. “That’s a set play we’ve used for her through the years.”
Catchings’ last-second heroics spelled the Fever’s third straight road win, and it avenged a 107-102 overtime loss to the Shock in Indianapolis two weeks ago, in a game that was eerily similar to this one.
The Shock overcame a 15-point lead and sent the game to overtime on June 25 when Skylar Diggins’ 3-point shot knotted the score with two seconds in regulation. Tuesday, the Shock erased another 15-point Fever margin, but the Larkins-to-Catchings connection staked Indiana to a late lead and Tulsa couldn’t get off a shot before the final buzzer.
“We let them go to the free throw line too much in crunch time,” said Dunn after Tulsa made 13-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of three Indiana technical fouls. “But when we needed it, we got a stop.”
Tulsa tied the score at 76 on a Diggins entry pass and Courtney Paris layup with 16.7 seconds remaining. Indiana called timeout and executed its play for Catchings, then after Tulsa called timeout in the closing seconds, the Fever defense rallied for the stop it needed.
“Our mentality tonight was to keep things under control,” said Catchings, referring to Indiana’s recent trend for losing big leads. “We got a little emotional in the fourth quarter, though. We were up 13 after the third quarter, but we got in foul trouble and lost our composure. Thankfully, we hit those final shots when we needed them.”
Indiana used an 18-8 run midway through the third period to take control of the game, 63-48. The Fever took advantage of 13 free throws of its own in the third period to command a 65-52 lead heading to the fourth.
Indiana iced the game in the final seconds, but not before watching a double-digit lead evaporate for the seventh time this season.
Shavonte Zellous added 18 points for Indiana which earned its third win in four games. Layshia Clarendon scored 11 off the bench and Briann January added 10.
Diggins paced the Shock with 23 points, including 12-of-12 free throws – 10 in the fourth quarter. Jordan Hooper used four 3-pointers to contribute 12 points for Tulsa which has lost 5 of 6.
Indiana won for the fourth straight time at BOK Center, defeating Tulsa for the eighth time in 10 games since the Shock relocated to Tulsa.
Indiana returns to Indianapolis on Thursday to host its annual Kids Day game at noon against the Connecticut Sun.
Next Home Game: The Fever host Katie Douglas and the Connecticut Sun for Kids Day on Thursday, July 10th with a special noon tip time. Good seats still remain -- reserve your seats today! Find Tickets »