Catchings, Fever Win With Big Fourth Quarter

By Tom Rietmann | July 10, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Fever gave the largest home crowd of the season something to relish and remember Thursday.

The Fever's 33-point fourth quarter, tied for second-best in franchise history, catapulted the team to a 72-68 victory over the Connecticut Sun before 10,440 fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Indiana's persistence and resolve after falling behind by 14 in the third quarter proved to be the remedy for the team's uncharacteristic four-game losing streak at home.

“We haven't been happy with our performances when we've come home,” said Fever guard Briann January. “We haven't given complete performances and finished out games for our fans when we probably should have. It's always good to be on our court and protect our court and have our fans cheering.”

The Kids Day crowd was loud and appreciative as it watched Tamika Catchings score 21 points and grab seven rebounds in leading Indiana to its 10th victory in 20 games. Eleven of Catchings' points came in the turning-point fourth quarter as the Fever forward operated at times from the top of the key, almost like a point guard.

“When we had Catch bringing the ball down the floor at the end of the game, there's a lot of confidence in her being the playmaker,” said Fever Coach Lin Dunn, who saw her star player either pass to the wings and cut, or drive to the bucket.

“Having her in crunch time is huge for this team,” Dunn added about Catchings, who missed the season's first 17 games with a back injury. “It gives the team a lot of confidence that no matter what the score is, we can come back and win.”

And so it was Thursday. Indiana, which has had trouble holding leads this season, traveled a different route and battled back from a hefty deficit.

In the fourth quarter, the Fever hit 60 percent of its shots (12-of-20) and committed just one turnover. Point guards January and Layshia Clarendon both stayed on the floor with Catchings, each contributing eight points in the quarter.

Catchings' three-point play with 53.5 seconds remaining sent Indiana up by seven points. But the Sun trimmed that edge to two with 13.5 seconds left after Chiney Ogwumike hit a two-pointer and former Fever guard Katie Douglas buried a 3-pointer.

Erlana Larkins hit a pair of free throws to extend Indiana's lead again with 12.9 seconds left. When Connecticut failed to get off a shot on its final possession, The Fieldhouse erupted in cheers.

“We've let teams off the hook a little bit, coming in here and stealing games from us, especially in the fourth quarter,” said Indiana guard Shavonte Zellous. “But having Catch back, having her leadership back, it kind of trickled down to us.”

The Fever will host WNBA Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta on Saturday night before home games next week against Los Angeles (Tuesday) and Chicago (Thursday). Second-place Indiana wants to keep improving on a 4-6 home record.

“Hopefully, we can build off this,” said Catchings. “One thing, I think, that we are is an energy team. … Right from the beginning of the game, we have to come in with that energy. It just makes the game easier for us.”

Clarendon, whom Dunn called a “real key factor in the victory,” totaled a career-high 12 points off the bench. Other double-figure scorers for the Fever were January with 13 and Larkins with 12.

Douglas, a former standout at Perry Meridian High School and Purdue University, led the Sun (9-12) with 17 points. Indiana's 33-point fourth quarter, Douglas said, was simply too much to overcome.

“That's really going to be tough, no matter how many points you're ahead,” she said. “So we have to do a better job of locking down. I thought we did a great job throughout the first three quarters, but somehow we let them catch fire.

“Obviously, Catchings was a huge part of that.”

Next Home Game: The Fever host the Atlanta Dream for the final time this season on Saturday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m. ET. Good seats still remain -- reserve your seats today! Find Tickets »