INDIANAPOLIS, July 2 (AP) - Tamika Catchings scored a season-high 18 points and the Indiana Fever beat the Chicago Sky 74-67 on Wednesday night.
Catchings added six rebounds, three assists and two steals in her eighth game of the season after missing the team's first eight. She suffered a torn right Achilles' tendon in last year's Eastern Conference finals and underwent surgery in September.
"I definitely feel like I'm getting back,'' she said. "Every day is a process, it's one step closer to where I want to be. Coming in today, I just felt really good.''
Catchings came off the bench and played nearly 25 minutes. She had been a starter in the team's previous four games.
"I'm willing to take a backseat ... whatever I can do to help this team win,'' she said. "Our bench needs to come out and have an instant spark, and that allows me to play that role.''
Indiana coach Lin Dunn said, "This was probably the best game we've gotten out of her since she came back.''
"It seems like we always play them at the right time - when we're kind of low and need something to pick us up,'' Catchings said of Indiana's success against the Sky.
"I thought we started out sluggish,'' Dupree said. "Our start caused us to get ourselves into a hole, but we improved our play toward the end.''
The Fever pushed a seven-point first-quarter lead to 35-20 on Douglas' 3-pointer with 6:34 left in the second quarter. Catchings shot 4-of-5 from the field in the first half and scored 13 points.
"In the second quarter, we were slow and had some mental lapses,'' Sky coach
Indiana, which led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, took its biggest lead, 67-49, on Catchings' three-point play with 7 minutes left.