|STAR OF THE GAME
Indiana's reserve forward led the Fever with 12 points, making 4-of-5 shots and hitting all four FT attempts. She added four rebounds and a pair of assists as Indiana's reserves outscored the Sting's, 33-18.
In her first WNBA game since 2001, Streimikyte's 10 points and timely defense were a key to the Fever victory. Besides shooting 3-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-6 at the foul stripe, she pulled down six rebounds to help Indiana outrebound Charlotte, 35-33.
On defensive changes:
“In the first half, we were not aggressive defensively which got us into trouble. Our struggles early were defensive. We made corrections at halftime, and in the second half, we got back much better on defense.”
On her first WNBA game since 2001:
“The first game is always different, getting used to the other players on the floor. But basketball is basketball no matter where it is played. [My main focus] is to play defense coming off the bench. Then you work on the offensive part of your game.”
On her role coming off the bench:
“Mine is to provide energy for the defense. And from our defense we will generate our offense.”
On finding her groove:
"I was more relaxed. I felt like everything I shot was going in. Tamika was struggling tonight and we had to do things to pick her up.”
On the Fever’s outlook this season:
"Our team is deep this year. Whenever we have subs, we don’t drop off. We have twelve players who can play. Yo (Yolanda Paige) pushes the ball when she comes in. Teams won’t be able to just guard six or seven of our players. We have twelve who can play.”
Points in the paint:
Fever 34, Sting 26
Sting 11, Fever 9
Fever 12, Sting 9
Points off turnovers:
Fever 14, Sting 9
Sting 40, Fever 35
Fever 33, Sting 18
Box Score |
||Fever 68, Sting 58
May 22, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Fever opened its 2005 season with a 68-58 win over the Charlotte Sting, Sunday night at Conseco Fieldhouse. Reserve forwards Deanna Jackson and Jurgita Streimikyte scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Fever who closed the game with a 29-14 run after trailing by as many as seven.
Leading most of the first half, though trailing 30-29 at the intermission, Indiana fell behind 44-37 with 13:32 to play. Its rebounding and second-half defense provided the comeback formula, though, as Charlotte (0-2) managed just one field goal in the game's final 5:46.
The Fever (1-0) took its first lead of the second half with 7:30 left in the game, when Jackson found a wide open Yolanda Paige under the basket. Paige hit a lay-up putting the Fever on top 50-48, and they never trailed again.
On a night when Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings shot just 3-of-10 and contributed nine points, the Fever bench proved to be as deep as advertised. Outscoring the Sting 33-18 behind Jackson's and Streimikyte's double-figure efforts, rookie guards Paige and Tan White added four and seven points. White, the No. 2 pick in April's WNBA Draft, also added a pair of no-look passes down the stretch that helped the Fever streak to its late lead.
Sting coach Trudi Lacy described White’s play as “superb.” Sting rookie forward and No. 1 draft pick Janel McCarville played only three minutes off the bench after suffering a lower back strain in the first half - putting to rest any ideas of a showdown between the WNBA's top two draft picks.
In the paint, the Fever outscored Charlotte 34-26 and won the rebound battle. Streimikyte and frontcourt-mate Natalie Williams combined for 18 points and 16 rebounds.
Catchings contributed four rebounds and four assists, but struggled throughout the game because of foul trouble. Leading the way for the Sting was forward Sheri Sam, who scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but fouled out with 33 seconds left in the game. Guard Dawn Staley added 10 points and three assists.
Commented Fever Coach Brian Winters, “It’s nice to win when Tamika struggles. We have many players this year that can step up and many of them did tonight. We played a good team game. We have more options this year.”
When the Fever hosts Phoenix on Tuesday, the first 7,500 fans will receive Fever Schedule Magnets, courtesy of The Indianapolis Star. Charlotte hosts the Mercury on Thursday.
Including tonight's win, the Fever has won six of the last seven games at Conseco Fieldhouse against the Sting. All-time, Indiana is 8-2 at Conseco Fieldhouse against Charlotte.
The Fever is now 4-2 in its season-opening games. In home openers, Indiana is also 4-2.
After Charlotte tied the score at 50 with two free throws by Allison Feaster, the Fever outscored the Sting, 18-8, over the last 5:46.
Charlotte's only field goal in the final 9:10 of the game was a 3-pt FG by Sheri Sam with 1:50 left in the contest. The Sting made just one of its last 11 shots from the floor.
With 12 points off the bench, Deanna Jackson led the Fever in scoring. That is just the second time that Jackson has ever led the Fever in scoring and the first since doing so with 19 points vs. Detroit, 7/16.
The Fever's point guards, Tully Bevilaqua and Yolanda Paige combined for three of the Fever's 15 assists and had no turnovers.
After having just five assists on 12 field goals in the first half, the Fever had 10 assists on its 13 field goals in the second half. Tamika Catchings and Tan White each had three assists in the second half. Natalie Williams had both of her assists in the second half, as well.
Including a difference of 22-6 in the second half, the Indiana bench outscored the Sting's bench, 33-18.
In her first game for the Fever in three years, Jurgita Streimikyte scored 10 points and hauled in a bench-high six rebounds.
Averaging a combined 34.5 ppg in the preseason, the Sting's top three scorers (Tangela Smith, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Sheri Sam) combined to score 22 points tonight on 10-of-32 FGs, 1-of-3 3-pt FGs and 1-of-6 FTs.
Sheri Sam led the Sting with 13 points. Sam has led the Sting in scoring in each of its first two regular season games and has averaged 14.5 ppg.
After missing nine of their first 12 shots of the game, the Sting came back to make 10 of their last 17 FGs of the first half.