UNCASVILLE, Conn., Aug. 23 (AP) -- The Connecticut Sun appeared to have their playoff opener against the Indiana Fever locked up in the third quarter.
But it took the Sun three overtime periods - the first triple-overtime playoff game in WNBA history - to come away with the 93-88 victory Thursday night.
"They were chipping away at our lead, got closer and closer and then it became a possessions game,'' Sun guard Katie Douglas said. "I give my team credit that we still stuck together and were able to finally figure it out in the third overtime.''
Connecticut (19-16) takes a one-game lead to Indiana on Saturday for the second game of the best-of-three series.
"It's hard to rank it now, but it was a pretty good one,'' Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "It has to be up there just because of the amount of energy expended by both teams.''
Indiana now looks forward to moving the series home.
"All we have to do is focus upon the next game, getting a win and it's back to tied,'' Fever coach Brian Winters said. "We just have just got to regroup, go home and win on our own court.''
Douglas had 14 points and a WNBA playoff record eight steale and Nykesha Sales led Connecticut with 25 points.
Asjha Jones, who missed the final three games of the season with an ankle sprain, returned to give the Sun 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Anna DeForge had a season-high 31 points for the Fever (21-14) and Tamika Whitmore added 24. Playing in her first game since tearing a foot muscle on July 20, Tamika Catchings had 14 points and 20 rebounds.
"As the game wore on it got tighter and tighter but I had a head pack on the side and that helped,'' Catchings said. "The more I played, the better I got.''
The Sun held Indiana scoreless in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the third overtime for the win. Jones scored the first basket of the period for Connecticut, but Whitmore answered with a seven-point run to give Indiana an 88-83 lead. Those would be the Fever's final points of the game.
The Fever appeared to have a chance to retake the lead, but Whitmore turned the ball over with 43.6 seconds left.
Sales then hit a jumper and Douglas followed with two free throws to end the game.
Whalen hit a three-point basket and two free throws for the Sun to start the second overtime, but Connecticut was held to just a single point the rest of the period.
Catchings had four points of the Fever's six points in the second overtime, including a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left.
"My teammates did a good job setting up and we confused Connecticut's defense a couple of times and got good looks,'' DeForge said of her 3-pointers. "They were all designed plays and we executed them well.''