Hoffman Leads Fever to Comeback Win

Fever 78, Monarchs 73 (F)
Ebony Hoffman had career highs with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and the Indiana Fever rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Sacramento Monarchs 78-73 on Tuesday night.
Indiana 78, Sacramento 73

INDIANAPOLIS, June 24 (AP) -- Ebony Hoffman has embraced her role as one of the Indiana Fever's go-to players this season.

The Indiana forward had career highs with 23 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday night and the Fever rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Sacramento Monarchs 78-73.

Hoffman, who was the ninth overall pick by Indiana in the 2004 WNBA draft, increased her season averages to 8.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

"Night in and night out, she's a warrior for us,'' said Fever guard Katie Douglas. "She's been playing very well when a lot of us haven't. Tonight, she stepped up with another huge performance.''

Hoffman, who also tied a career high with four steals, said her effort would have been meaningless without a victory.

"I don't think anything means as much if you don't win,'' she said. "You can score 40, but if you lose, it would be a catastrophe. I'm glad we came out, dug down deep and pulled out the victory.''

Douglas finished with 20 points after starting 0-of-6 from the field and Tully Bevilaqua scored 11 for the Fever (7-6), who tied a franchise record for the second largest regular-season comeback. Indiana overcame a 19-point deficit to beat Phoenix on July 1, 2001.

"We were out there jogging around and not really playing good defense, but we came back in the second half and played Fever defense,'' Hoffman said. "That's the type of defense we play.''

Ticha Penicheiro had 15 points and Kara Lawson chipped in 12 for Sacramento (6-7), which lost its sixth consecutive game at Conseco Fieldhouse and dropped to 1-6 all-time in Indianapolis.

"This was a shame,'' said Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek. "It hurt us a lot and it was frustrating.''

Sacramento shot 61 percent in the first quarter and jumped out to a quick double-digit lead. Scholanda Robinson's 3-pointer gave the Monarchs a 31-16 advantage to end the period.

The Fever, who trailed by 18 early in the second quarter, got within 39-32 on Sherill Baker's free throw with 2 minutes left. Sacramento pushed the lead back to 15 points before settling for a 47-36 halftime advantage.

"It obviously wasn't the type of start we wanted,'' Douglas said. "It wasn't something we expected or really wanted.''

The Fever used a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter to cut the deficit to 50-48, and they closed to 58-57 on Tamika Catchings' two free throws. Sacramento shot 1-of-12 from the field in the period.

Indiana tied the score at 60 on Hoffman's jumper early in the fourth quarter, and Allison Feaster's 3-pointer gave the Fever their first advantage since leading 8-6. Indiana opened a 72-64 edge on Catchings' jumper with 2 minutes left.

"It took a great defensive effort to overcome the deficit,'' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "This is the best Fever defense I've seen this season.''

Sacramento shot 37 percent for the game and made only seven field goals in the second half.

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