Connecticut 73, Indiana 68
Sun Cool Fever in Game 1
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 8 (Ticker) -- The WNBA title hopes of the Indiana Fever took a shot to the head from the Connecticut Sun.
The effectiveness of All-Star Tamika Catchings was limited by a mild concussion and the Fever never led in the second half of a 73-68 loss to the Connecticut Sun, who are one win away from returning to the WNBA Finals.
Catchings, Indiana's top scorer and rebounder and a WNBA MVP candidate, left the game with 13:48 remaining in the first half. She went to the floor and her head was fallen on by Connecticut's Brooke Wyckoff.
The WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Catchings did not return until the second half. She was diagnosed with a mild concussion and clearly was not herself, finishing with 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting.
"I was reaching for the ball and hit the floor," Catchings said. "Somebody landed on top of me and hit the floor again. I got up and knew something was wrong. My eyes ... my head was ringing ... like someone turned out the lights, and I zoned."
Without Catchings as a threat, the Fever struggled to stay with the Sun, who built a 45-40 lead behind 15 points from McWilliams-Franklin. Connecticut pushed the margin to 12 points early in the second half.
Indiana closed to 63-62 with 3:22 left on a 3-pointer by Kelly Miller, who scored 14 points. But the Fever went more than three minutes without a point as Tully Bevilaqua missed a 3-pointer and ran the baseline for a traveling violation.
"I had a couple of errors down the stretch that kept us from getting shots," Bevilaqua said. "It is really hurting me."
With the shot clock running down, Katie Douglas banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Sun a 68-62 lead with 30 seconds left.
"What's the saying - better to be lucky than good?" said McWilliams-Franklin. "Hey, we'll take it."
Nykesha Sales scored 14 points, Lindsay Whalen added 13 and Douglas nine for the Sun, who shot 48 percent (22-of-46) and limited the Fever to 38 percent (23-of-61).
Miller scored 14 points and Kelly Schumacher and Deanna Jackson added 12 each for Indiana.