Fever Rally Falls Short Against Sparks

STAR OF THE GAME
TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Catchings' recent struggles from the field continued, but her constant hustle still generated 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Catchings scored a key layup with 12:59 remaining in the second half to help start a 12-2 run that put the Fever back in the game.
UNSUNG HERO
TULLY BEVILAQUA
Bevilaqua scored 11 points in 29 minutes, both a season-high and her first double-digit scoring performance with the Fever. She added four steals and four rebounds.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the game:
“We've had a good start at home this year. However, tonight we didn't play well enough to win. In the first half, we had the opportunity to make shots but didn't. In the second half, we didn't make enough shots. Thirty-three percent will not win many games. It's disappointing to lose at home. I was fairly pleased with all aspects of the game except our shooting. With a nine-day break, we will get in the gym and shoot."

KELLY MILLER
On the Fever's shooting woes:
“Sometimes games are like that. We had some good looks. We just couldn't knock them down. We did a great job defensively. Tonight just wasn't our night."

TULLY BEVILAQUA
On the effects of the Sparks' defensive pressure on the Fever's shooting:
“We got a lot of open looks without hands in the face. There seemed to be a lid on the basket for us tonight."

On the Sparks' intensity after a tough loss vs. Detroit:
"They were just hungry for a win. The west coast is jam-packed. So a win on either coast is important. You have to give L.A. credit. They did what they needed to do and got tough baskets at the end."

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Sparks 30, Fever 24
Fast-break points:
Fever 7, Sparks 7
Second-chance points:
Sparks 11, Fever 7
Points off turnovers:
Sparks 16, Fever 9
Starters scoring:
Sparks 54, Fever 40
Bench scoring:
Fever 18, Sparks 7
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Sparks 61, Fever 58

June 28, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Tamika Whitmore’s three-point play with 41 seconds left proved the difference as the Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Indiana Fever, 61-58, in WNBA action at Conseco Fieldhouse. Whitmore finished the game with 15 points, behind a game-high 17 points from WNBA scoring leader Chamique Holdsclaw.

The defeat marked the Fever’s first home loss of the year, ending a home win streak of six games, the second-longest in franchise history. The Fever (8-5) maintains a hold on second place in the Eastern Conference, but is now three games behind Connecticut, who won on Tuesday and holds the league’s best record at 11-2. Los Angeles (8-6), alternated wins and losses for the fifth straight game.

The Fever tied the game at 56 after hitting threes on three straight possessions. The last was a Tully Bevilaqua shot that came with 4: 15 left in the game and was preceded by another Bevilaqua three and a Kelly Miller 3-pointer off of an assist from Bevilaqua. Bevilaqua’s 11 points were a season-high since joining Indiana as a free agent in January. Miller led the Fever with 12.

A Tamecka Dixon jumper for the Sparks, followed by a layup by Indiana’s Jenni Benningfield tied the game at 58-58 with 1:24 remaining and setup Whitmore’s game-winner. Whitmore’s deciding basket came on offensive putback, fouled on the play by Benningfield. Trailing by three, Indiana failed to score on its next possession, but Miller stole a long L.A. pass with 12 seconds to go, to give the Fever a transition opportunity and a final shot.

Sprinting the ball into the frontcourt, Miller found Tamika Catchings at the top of the key against a splintered Sparks defense. Catchings dished back to Miller on the wing who shuffled a pass to Bevilaqua, wide open in the right corner. Bevilaqua, second in the WNBA at 54 percent beyond the arc and 3-of-6 in the game to that point, missed off the front of the rim as time expired.

Back and forth in the first half, there were seven ties and seven lead changes before the Sparks went on a 10-0 run to take a 29-25 advantage into the locker room. The Fever kept close in the second half, and the game was tied five more times, but Indiana managed to take the lead just once, as a Tan White layup put the Fever ahead 45-43 with 9:19 left to play.

The Fever offense was plagued by poor shooting for a second straight game. As a team, the Fever shot 21-of-67 from the field. As it did in a narrow win vs. Minnesota four nights earlier, Indiana shot less than 30 percent in the first half, and 35 percent for the game. Catchings scored 10 points despite 4-of-17 shooting and added eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals.

Holdsclaw, who played all 40 minutes of the game, also collected six rebounds. Nikki Teasley added 10 points, and center Lisa Leslie grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • Tonight's loss ends the Fever's six-game home winning streak--the second longest home winning streak in team history.
  • The Fever's 31.3 percent from the floor is its second-lowest of the season and its lowest of 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
  • Tully Bevilaqua's 11 points tonight represents her first game in double figures since joining the Fever. Bevilaqua also had a season-high four steals. But, she went without an assist for the first time this season.
  • In the last four games, the Fever has averaged just 9.0 FTM/game and 11.0 FTA/game, compared to 15.7 FTM/game and 20.4 FTA/game in the first nine contests.
  • Kelly Miller's team-high 12 points is her sixth game of 10+ points in the last eight games and her seventh of the season, overall.
  • In the last three games, Tully Bevilaqua has had eight assists, five steals and just two turnovers. She had no turnovers in 29 minutes tonight.
  • With six tonight, Tamika Catchings has had six or more assists in four of the last five games and has averaged 6.0 apg in that span.
  • The Fever outrebounded the Sparks, 15-11, on the offensive glass. Indiana's 15 offensive rebounds were one short of the team's most in 2005. L.A. outscored the Fever, 11-9, in second chance points.
  • Indiana collected 10+ steals for the seventh time this season with 13 tonight, the team's second most in 2005.
  • Including her four tonight, Tamika Catchings has a WNBA-leading 34 steals this season and she is averaging a league-best 2.62 spg.
  • Tonight's loss is the Fever's first in a game decided by three points or less. Indiana is 4-1 in those games this season.
  • The Fever is now 3-4 against the Western Conference.
  • Jenni Benningfield's four points are a career-high. She had scored three points in her first two appearances combined. She added one rebound, one assist and the first steal of her career in 14 minutes.
  • On her only shot of the game, Yolanda Paige hit the first 3-pt FG of her career.
  • Tan White's bench-high six rebounds are a career-best.