Fever’s 3-point flurry holds off Sparks 73-61

INDIANAPOLIS(AP) The Indiana Fever wanted to go inside against Los Angeles on Friday night. Instead, they exploited the Sparks' weakness: Defending 3-pointers.

The Fever matched a season high with nine 3s, and three players reached double figures in a 73-61 victory over the Sparks.

"It's nothing new,'' Indiana's Ebony Hoffman said after scoring 14 points. "This team likes getting the ball to the 3-point line.''

Indiana shot 9 for 20 (45 percent) from beyond the arc and just 44 percent inside of it. The Fever (2-2) have now won back-to-back games and are the only WNBA team this season with nine 3s in a game - and they've done it twice.

Catchings had 13 points and Katie Douglas finished with 11 for the Fever.

But Los Angeles struggled to execute its defensive game plan.

"We knew they were a very good 3-point team, and we wanted to do a better job getting them off the 3-point line,'' the Sparks' Lisa Leslie said. "It didn't really work out that way.''

The result: Los Angeles lost its third straight and its leading scorer, Betty Lennox, for most of the second half after she hurt her right knee.

Team officials gave no injury update following the game. Lennox was averaging 16 points but finished with just three.

For Leslie, one of the WNBA's original players, it was supposed to be a special night. Indiana officials had a brief pregame tribute for Leslie's final trip to Conseco Fieldhouse, and she responded 21 points and 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.

It was little consolation to the league's career scoring and rebounding leader.

"I've never been about points, I've been about winning,'' she said. "I didn't feel like a winner tonight because Indiana played better basketball and shot the ball well.''

The Fever had their own obstacles as well.

Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Yolanda Griffith watched the game from a wheelchair after tearing her left Achilles' tendon Tuesday night. Catchings struggled to push off her sore right thigh, and Douglas played with a bruised left eye that made it hard for her to see and forced her to avoid making physical contact.

Yet somehow, the Fever found a way to win.

"It was kind of a gut-check tonight,'' Douglas said. "It (the eye) is definitely very tender. I have to watch where I fly because I don't think I could probably take another hit to the eye.''

Indiana took control early, then let Los Angeles close to 40-32 at halftime.

The Fever then opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run, finishing the flurry with Tully Bevilaqua's 3, and closed the quarter on a 13-5 run that fittingly ended with Christina Wirth's 3. That made it 63-44, and Los Angeles didn't get closer than 12 the rest of the night.

"We showed a lot of energy tonight, we played good defense,'' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "We pushed the basketball, and we're playing hard and together.''

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