Indiana 84, Houston 75
INDIANAPOLIS, June 7 (AP) -- The Indiana Fever continue to prove there's more to them than Tamika Catchings.
The five-time All-Star forward hasn't played this season while recovering from a torn right Achilles tendon in last year's playoffs. Without her, the Fever won for the fourth time in six games with an 84-75 victory over the Houston Comets on Saturday night.
The Fever have beaten Los Angeles and Connecticut, two of the league's top teams so far, in this opening stretch.
"I think we might have surprised some people, but I don't think in the locker room we've surprised ourselves,'' said Indiana guard Katie Douglas, who scored 20 points.
Douglas shot just 6-for-17, but she made three 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free-throw attempts.
The Fever nearly lost a 17-point lead before recovering in the second half. Indiana has struggled to maintain big leads this season.
"It's a bad habit that we need to break,'' Douglas said. "It's not something we can continue to do and expect to win. There's just so much parity in the WNBA that even when you have a double-digit lead, it doesn't mean anything.''
Houston has the opposite problem. New York ran out to a big lead against the Comets on Friday night and went on to win 81-73.
"This is the second game we spotted a team 17 points up,'' Houston coach Karleen Thompson said. "We need to get a 40-minute game together and play defense.''
Both teams shot 28-for-64 from the field, but the Fever outscored the Comets 22-13 on free throws.
Douglas scored 15 points before the break, and the Fever held Houston to 32 percent shooting in the first half. Indiana also went 12-for-12 from the free-throw line in the first 20 minutes.
Houston started the second half on a 10-0 run to cut Indiana's lead to 48-42, but the Fever responded with an 8-0 run and held the Comets scoreless for 3 minutes to regain control. LaToya Bond made a layup with 1 second left in the third quarter to give the Fever a 65-48 lead.
"They (Houston) jumped out on us,'' Sutton-Brown said. "It's something we've got to get better at. But I think we improved after that and picked it up a little bit.''
Sutton-Brown had one of the better offensive games of her career, falling three points short of her career high.
"Tammy Sutton-Brown was very active, aggressive and got to the free-throw line and made them,'' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said.
Tina Thompson said the Comets could have won with a better first half.
"We kind of lulled ourselves into a hole, and we had to expend a lot of energy coming back,'' she said. "At this level, you can't let yourselves get down and spend 2 or 3 minutes trying to dig yourselves out of that hole. We cannot make the same mistakes over and over.''
Sutton-Brown said the Comets are better than their record, and Dunn called Houston "the best 1-7 team I've ever seen.''
Douglas wasn't happy with the way the Fever played, but was fine with the outcome.
"It's always better to learn from a win than a loss,'' she said.