INDIANAPOLIS, August 25, 2007 (AP) -- The foot injury that kept Tamika Catchings out of the Indiana Fever lineup for 13 regular-season games has turned out to be a blessing in the playoffs.
While Catchings was recovering, Anna DeForge was changing from a good, but reluctant, shooter to a game-changing scorer. DeForge scored 26 points Saturday to help the Fever defeat the Connecticut Sun 78-59 and tie their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.
Catchings had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Fever in her second game back from the injury, but DeForge was the difference in the game. She said she looked for her shot more after Catchings got hurt because the team needed scoring.
"You just have a mentality where you knew you had to step up,'' DeForge said. "If you're out there and you're aggressive, you're more of a threat. I think everybody else on the team had that same attitude.''
It was Indiana's first win against the Sun in six tries this season. The Fever will host the decisive Game 3 on Monday night.
Indiana bounced back from a 93-88 triple-overtime loss on Thursday.
"I don't think any of us had a question in our minds how we would respond,'' DeForge said. "When the game ended, as tired as we were, we were ready for this game.''
DeForge has been at her best against the Sun. She scored a career-high 31 points in Thursday's loss and scored 29 points in a regular-season loss to the Sun on Aug. 15.
Katie Douglas, Connecticut's leading scorer during the regular season, led the Sun with 11 points. She is shooting 9-for-33 from the field in the series.
"They were running two, sometimes three people at me,'' Douglas said. "I've got to do a better job of finding somebody. Stuff we were able to get in the regular season, we're not able to get right now.''
Indiana coach Brian Winters had little to say about Indiana's success guarding Douglas.
"We've managed to play her well, but hey, Katie Douglas is an All-Star player,'' he said. "The next game, she could go 10 out of 10 or something. I don't want to jinx ourselves.''
Nykesha Sales was held to five points after scoring 25 on Thursday.
Indiana held Connecticut to 37 percent shooting. The Fever shot 46 percent and scored 21 points off turnovers.
Indiana's starters outscored Connecticut's 58-34. It was just the fourth playoff win in Fever history, and it ended a five-game postseason losing streak.
Indiana went on a 14-2 run to take a 23-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Fever never led by fewer than eight points the rest of the way.
Indiana led 40-21 at halftime. The Fever held the Sun to 31 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers before the break.
"Our best shooters didn't make shots,'' Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "They used Tully Bevilaqua to run around and double-team everybody, and dared Lindsay (Whalen) to shoot. She didn't shoot well and put us behind the 8-ball a little bit. Nobody else picked up the slack for her, and all of a sudden, you're down 19.''
Whalen finished with six points on 1-for-9 shooting.
DeForge scored 11 points in the third quarter to help the Fever take a 61-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
"They doubled all over the place, we threw the ball all over the place - out of bounds, to them,'' Thibault said. "I thought the difference was their defensive activity and swarming.
"There's some shots you've got to make to make them pay for the double team, and we didn't make them.''