Indiana Pushes Past Visiting Sun
By Tom Rietmann | May 29, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Fever exhibited an aggressive and forceful offense Thursday night and reaped the benefits.
Indiana put four starters in double-digit scoring, led by point guard Brian January with 20. Fever players went to the free throw line for 40 attempts, tying a franchise record, and made 31. The home team exited Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a satisfying 79-65 victory over the Connecticut Sun.
“We're trying to attack in transition,” Fever Coach Lin Dunn said. “We're trying to attack in our sets. We're trying to get to the (foul) line, and we're trying to get to the rim. I'm real pleased with that.” I
ndiana lifted its record to 2-3, playing all of its games this year without injured star Tamika Catchings (back). In Catchings' absence, January has provided the Fever with plenty of scoring help. The talented guard has hit 20 points twice in the past four games and is averaging a team-high 15.
January's growth from a game manager and distributor to an all-around performer in her sixth professional season is impressive. She learned to be patient, she said, and also gained a better grasp on the pace of WNBA play. The increased scoring accompanied those improvements.
However, on Thursday night, she mostly discussed her teammates.
“That's just complete team basketball,” she said about the foursome of double-figure scorers. “That's what we're going for. We know we have scorers everywhere. We have people capable of filling it up. We want to put each other in position to be successful and knock down shots.”
And fast-paced, push-to-the-rim play is how it gets done.
“That's what we try to do every night … be in attack mode,” January said. “We want to keep the defense on their heels.”
January's strong play hasn't gone unnoticed. Dunn praised her performance Thursday night. So did Connecticut's Katie Douglas, an Indianapolis native who played for the Fever for six seasons before moving to the Sun this year.
“Obviously, Bri is coming into her own,” said Douglas, who scored 11 points. “She's playing at a high, high level.”
Shavonte Zellous and Erlana Larkins each totaled 14 points for Indiana. Marissa Coleman connected for 11. Larkins led the Fever with 10 rebounds, collecting her third double-double in the past four games.
“It was a good win for us,” Dunn said. “We're trying to get a little better every game.”
The Fever will play New York in another home game Saturday night. There's still work to be done, Dunn emphasized, especially in the rebounding department. Indiana gave up 21 offensive rebounds to Connecticut (1-4) and was outrebounded by a 41-32 total.
“I'm not happy with the rebounding,” Dunn said. “Thank goodness (the Sun) didn't take those offensive rebounds and turn them into points. Once again, we're not getting the job done there.”
Karima Christmas played extensively at the power forward position and helped the Indiana rebounding total with six in 24 minutes. She also battled her way to nine points off the bench.
Chiney Ogwumike led Connecticut with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
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