Indiana Victorious in New York

NEW YORK, June 24, 2007 (AP) -- Tamika Catchings scored 18 points and Tamika Whitmore had 15 to lead the Indiana Fever to a 74-63 victory over the suddenly struggling New York Liberty on Sunday.

Tammy Sutton-Brown added 11 points and Anna DeForge had 10 to help the Fever (10-3) pull to within a half-game of first-place Detroit in the Eastern Conference.

"We came out focused and ready,'' Indiana coach Brian Winters said. "We played aggressive and got off to a great start by playing together defensively. We forced turnovers that lead to great opportunities.''

Loree Moore scored 17 points, Cathrine Kraayeveld and Janel McCarville added 13 apiece, and Lisa Willis had 12 for New York (7-6). The Liberty lost for the sixth time in eight games after a franchise-best 5-0 start.

Kraayeveld hit three free throws and had a fastbreak layup in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to cap a 9-0 run. Willis then hit a 3 and Moore had a layup to cut the deficit to 57-50 with 6:19 left.

Willis, acquired from Los Angeles last Wednesday, hit another 3 and then a turnaround jumper that pulled the Liberty to 63-57 and energized the Madison Square Garden crowd with about 3 1/2 minutes to go.

"She was terrific today,'' Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "You saw why we acquired her. She can shoot the ball. I think once she gets comfortable with everything that we're running, she's going to be terrific for us.''

However, the Fever followed with a 7-1 run to pull away.

Indiana opened the game with a 10-0 run and never trailed. Whitmore's layup with 33 seconds left in the first quarter capped a 9-0 run and pushed the lead to 22-7.

"We came out in the beginning of the game and stuck to our game plan and attacked the basket,'' Catchings said.

The Fever scored 11 straight points spanning halftime to take a 44-22 lead, their biggest of the game, on Whitmore's jumper with 8:19 to go in the third quarter.

"We looked very timid to begin the game, which allowed them to get us in a hole,'' Moore said. "We were not getting in our offensive set and that allowed them to get after us and get easy steals. In the first half we lacked aggressiveness.''

The Liberty played without Erin Thorn and Shameka Christon. Thorn has a sprained left foot and is expected to miss a week, and Christon was sick.

New York made 3 of 11 shots in the first quarter while committing 10 of their 15 first-half turnovers.

Indiana led 38-22 at halftime while shooting 50 percent from the field (14 of 28).