Indiana Bench Leads Fever to Fourth Road in Last Five Tries
SAN ANTONIO – Indiana’s bench scored 22 of the Fever’s 24 points in the fourth quarter to lead Indiana to a 75-68 win over San Antonio on Saturday.
The teams were tied at 51 through three quarters before the Fever bench took over the game.
Rookie Natasha Howard scored the first four points of the final period to give Indiana the lead it never relinquished. She scored 10 of her 11 points in the period and got help from Lynetta Kizer and Karima Christmas who combined for all of Indiana’s fourth-quarter scoring until Shavonte Zellous’ basket with under a minute to play.
Kizer finished with 16 points and Zellous added 14 for the Fever who won its fourth road game in the last five tries. Christmas had five points in the decisive period, including a key 3-pointer for a 58-54 lead with 7:59 left. She finished with nine points.
Kizer scored consecutive baskets to cap a 15-5 Fever run to push Indiana to a 10-point cushion with 5:28 to play. After Sophia Young-Malcolm scored for the Stars, Howard sandwiched a pair of scores around another Kizer jumper for a 6-3 sequence that gave the Fever its largest lead at 72-61.
Overall, the Fever bench tallied a season-best 45 points with 13 rebounds, as Indiana won for the sixth time in its last 10 games. San Antonio fell for the fifth time in six games.
“When we shoot 44 percent and win the boards, we should have a chance to win,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn. “We wanted to stay fresh and push tempo. Credit goes to our bench. I think it bothered [San Antonio], coming off a back-to-back.”
“I think the difference was us being fresh and them not. That was the key.”
All-Stars Tamika Catchings and Briann January combined to shoot 0-of-14 in the contest, totaling only a Catchings free throw in the scoring column. But wanting to take advantage of the Stars’ day-of-game travel after Friday night’s loss at Minnesota and staying cognizant of the Fever’s own 4-game road trip, Dunn turned to her bench.
“We just played hard and executed the game plan,” said Kizer. “We wanted to finish around the basket. That has been a priority for us. We know we can pick things up for each other. We tried to pick up some of the slack, give the starters a break.”
Indiana ended the first half on a 16-4 scoring run to take a 41-38 advantage into intermission. The Stars led by as many as 9, 22-13, but Zellous triggered the Fever run with eight points in the final 5 1/2 minutes of the half. Her bucket with 5:34 remaining ignited a 12-0 Fever streak with Indiana taking the lead, 37-34, on Marissa Coleman’s 3-pointer.
San Antonio opened the second half with seven unanswered points, but Indiana used an 8-3 run sparked by Erlana Larkins to knot the score at 49, on a Kizer jumper. Larkins scored the Fever’s first six points of the second half and added five of her team-high eight rebounds in the third quarter.
Indiana continues a string of five straight road games when it continues a four-game West Coast trip at Los Angeles on Monday.
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