Catchings, Fever Outlast Lynx Despite Shooting Woes

STAR OF THE GAME
KELLY MILLER
Kelly Miller scored 10 points and added four rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes of play. Her most important basket, however, was a clutch 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining that put the Fever up for good.
UNSUNG HERO
KELLY SCHUMACHER
Once again, Schumacher played a strong first half and finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the game:
“From looking at the stats before the game, I thought it would be a very evenly matched game. We shot 34%, but our defense was good enough to hold their shooting percentage down. We hit a couple of big three’s at the end. Then we hung on to get the job done.”

On Tamika's shooting:
“I’m not as worried about her shooting as everyone else is because she does all the other things to help the team. Two thousand points is a fantastic accomplishment and there’s probably another 2000 in there.”

KELLY MILLER
On the game:
“Overall, I thought we played well. We know how to finish close games. But there are areas that we can improve upon.”

On outscoring the Lynx in the post:
“It’s a credit to us, trying to get the ball inside. We did a good job defensively guarding their big players.”

KELLY SCHUMACHER
On how the Fever outscored the Lynx in the post:
“For us, we have been focusing more on an inside/outside game. We wanted to work inside and be an all-around team. We have great perimeter players who can open it up for us. We played good team defense with effort down low.”

On the physical style of play:
“We expected it to be physical with the big bodies they have in the post. Katie Smith and Svetlana Abrosimova are both strong players which made for a physical game.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 24, Lynx 10
Fast-break points:
Fever 8, Lynx 0
Second-chance points:
Fever 10, Lynx 9
Points off turnovers:
Fever 14, Lynx 5
Starters scoring:
Fever 38, Lynx 34
Bench scoring:
Lynx 21, Fever 19
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Fever 57, Lynx 55

June 24, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Tamika Catchings reached a career milestone and the Indiana Fever beat the Minnesota Lynx in a defensive battle in WNBA action at Conseco Fieldhouse on Friday night. The Fever (8-4) stayed unbeaten at home with a 57-55 victory, though not without a few anxious moments.

Consecutive 3-pointers in the final two minutes by Kelly Miller and Tully Bevilaqua sealed the win for Indiana which raised its home record to 6-0.

Catchings’ steal and breakaway layup with 9:19 left in the first half produced her 2,000th career point, making her the fourth-fastest player in WNBA history to reach the milestone. She entered the game with 1,999 points in 111 games. Cynthia Cooper reached the milestone in 99 games, Lauren Jackson in 109, and Friday night's Minnesota foe, Katie Smith, in 110.

Remarkably though, it was her first, and last, basket of the game as the three-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist suffered through a 1-of-9 shooting night with a career-low two points. Her previous low was five points, last season, in the only game of her career that she did not start (turf toe injury), playing just 13 second-half minutes in a loss to San Antonio.

Friday’s game marked the fourth time this season that the Fever star has failed to score in double figures, though remarkably Indiana has won each game despite the lack of scoring from its biggest star. Perhaps it is a sign, too, of the Fever’s newfound balance and depth – more weapons overall which allows for Catchings’ tenacious play to spark contributions in other areas besides the scoreboard. Against the Lynx (6-6) she finished with game highs of six assists and four steals, and her 4.8 assists per game are the most of her career.

Poor shooting characterized the game overall, not just Catchings’. Indiana and Minnesota shot 35 and 34 percent, respectively, from the field. Only four players scored in double digits in the low-scoring affair. Katie Smith scored 17 for the Lynx and Stacey Lovelace came off the bench to score 12. Miller and Kelly Schumacher each scored 10 points to lead Indiana.

The physical tug-of-war produced nine lead changes and five ties in the first 20 minutes – with neither team leading by more than six points the entire evening. Minnesota’s largest lead of the second half was just one point, on several occasions, until Lovelace’s free throw with 2:18 to play gave the Lynx a two-point advantage.

Miller answered with her second 3-pointer of the night with 2:03 remaining to erase the Lynx lead, and Tully Bevilaqua’s second trey on the very next possession gave Indiana a four-point margin with 1:16 to play – and a lead it never relinquished.

And though it was not Catchings' scoring to pull out the victory, it was Catchings' pass that found Miller on the right wing for the go-ahead basket.

Amber Jacobs’ three pulled Minnesota within 56-55 with just 0:04.7 left, but Bevilaqua split a pair of free throws and Smith’s last-gasp 3-point attempt fell short.

Indiana defends its unbeaten home court streak next Tuesday against Western Conference power Los Angeles.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • The Fever is 6-0 at home for the second time in its history and the first time since winning its first eight home games of the 2003 season.
  • Indiana has won three in a row, and six of eight, against Minnesota. The Fever is now 4-1 all-time at Conseco Fieldhouse against the Lynx.
  • Tamika Catchings' field goal in the first half gave her 2,001 points in her WNBA career. Having reached the 2,000-point mark in 112 games, Catchings is the fourth fastest in league history.
  • Heading into this season, the Fever had a record of 1-6 in games in which Tamika Catchings failed to score in double digits. However, this season Indiana is 4-0 in those games.
  • Catchings' two points tonight are a career-low. Her previous low was five points off the bench vs. San Antonio, 9/10/04. In that game, Catchings did not play at all in the first half.
  • Indiana's nine turnovers tonight are a season-low and are three off the fewest by any team in the WNBA this season.
  • With 11 steals and nine turnovers, the Fever had more steals than turnovers for the first time this season.
  • Minnesota's .340 from the floor is the lowest shooting percentage by a Fever opponent this season.
  • Scoring in double figures for the third time this season, Kelly Schumacher tied Kelly Miller for team-high with 10 points. That is the first time this season that Schumacher has led Indiana in scoring and it’s the second time for Miller.
  • Including a team-high tying six boards tonight, Ebony Hoffman has had five or more boards in six of the last eight games. In that span, Hoffman has averaged 5.1 rpg.
  • Outrebounding the Lynx, 21-16, at halftime, the Fever was outrebounded, 18-11, in the second half, including a 5-2 edge on the offensive boards for Minnesota.
  • Including her six tonight, Tamika Catchings has averaged 6.0 apg in the last four games. Catchings is averaging a career-best 4.8 apg for the season.
  • Indiana is now 4-0 this season in games decided by three points or less.
  • The Lynx' Stacey Lovelace scored 12 points off the bench tonight, one short of her most this season. Lovelace led the Lynx bench to a 21-19 advantage on the Indiana bench and that was just the third time this season that the Fever bench has been outscored by the opposition reserves.
  • Pending the outcome of tonight's Connecticut at Sacramento game, the Fever are just a game behind the Sun for first place in the Eastern Conference. Currently, Indiana, Connecticut and Sacramento are the only teams in the WNBA with eight wins.
  • With an 8-4 record, the Fever is four games above .500, which is the team's high-water mark in terms of games above .500 in franchise history.
  • After going 1-9 from 3-pt range in the first half, the Fever shot 4-8 from long range in the second half.
  • The Fever's six free throws made tonight are a season-low.