Catchings leads Fever past Silver Stars
By CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS(AP) Indiana's "losing streak'' was short lived.

The Fever dropped back-to-back games during their recent West Coast trip, the most consecutive losses they've had this season.

Things gpt back to normal for the Fever on Thursday. Tamika Catchings had 20 points and eight rebounds, and the Fever beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 77-66 to tie a franchise record with their 13th consecutive home win.

With the win, Indiana (20-7) earned homecourt for the first round of the playoffs. If the Fever win Saturday against Sacramento, they will clinch the Eastern Conference regular-season title with six games to play.

"Clearly, we love playing at home, which is why it's important we finish not just on top of the Eastern Conference, but overall and retain homecourt advantage throughout,'' Indiana guard Tully Bevilaqua said.

Ebony Hoffman scored 15 points and Tammy Sutton-Brown added 12 for the Fever.

While Indiana has the league's best record, San Antonio is struggling to remain in the playoff race. The Silver Stars (11-17) lost their fourth straight.

Sophia Young and Ann Wauters both scored 18 points for San Antonio, but their scoring couldn't offset the team's 23 turnovers.

"I thought they came out aggressive on defense and took our turnovers and made them productive on points for them,'' Young said. "We usually don't turn the ball over that much.''

San Antonio guard Becky Hammon, the No. 2 scorer in the league, was held without a point in 32 minutes. She had scored in double figures in 26 of the previous 27 games, but missed all five of her field-goal attempts and had five turnovers.

Bevilaqua, who shared the job of guarding Hammon with Briann January and Katie Douglas, said it's rare to handle such an accomplished scorer so well.

"She's a world-class player,'' Bevilaqua said. "You need to contain her, but you can't do it on your own. We just wanted to get the ball out of her hands and I think we did a very good job of that.''

Indiana was aware that San Antonio desperately needed a win. Catchings said Fever coach Lin Dunn reminded the team of that before the game, and the Fever responded by taking a 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, then maintaining control from there. The Fever never trailed.

"We don't have time so sit back and let things come to us,'' Catchings said. "We've got to go out and we've got to attack. That's what we did today. We hit first.''

Catchings said the Fever don't take any of their home wins for granted, and they expect to be challenged.

"Everybody that comes into this building sees a big target on our backs, like 'we're going to be that team to knock them down,''' Catchings said. "For us as a team, we can't become complacent.''

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