Fever Rallies to Topple Connecticut, 64-53

STAR OF THE GAME
TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Catchings once again approached triple-double territory and put on a stunning display of hustle, quickness and athleticism, at times seeming to be everywhere on the court at once. She collected a season-high eight steals to go along with 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
UNSUNG HERO
KELLY MILLER
Kelly Miller's reliable outside shooting resulted in 15 points. She shot 7-of-11 from the floor, adding five rebounds and three steals
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the game:
“This was a great win, a real good team effort. Our defense was terrific, we rebounded very well and we didn’t get down on ourselves [when we got behind]. We pressed practically the whole game, which didn’t allow them to get into their game. We had many steals in the second half, which helped us get back in the game. Without our bench, we would not have won.”

On Ebony Hoffman:
“She rebounded well. She had a number of steals. She boxed out terrific. That’s why she played a lot.”

TAMIKA CATCHINGS
On the Fever's level of intensity:
“This is something that we as a team talk about. To be a playoff team, we have to pick up our defense and rebounding. Tonight, we had good looks at the basket. When you’re getting good looks and missing it is frustrating. But we’ll eventually be able to knock them down.”

On setting the tone in the second half:
“This is a huge win for us, coming off the All-Star break and being able to beat the team with the best record in the league. We needed to start off with a bang. We’ll enjoy this tonight and be ready for Detroit on Friday.”

KELLY MILLER
On her scoring to start the second half:
“The opportunity was there. And we took advantage of it. Our focus was to come out strong. We wanted to come out aggressive after the break.”

On the Fever's defense in the second half:
“Since we had a break with the All-Star Game, we wanted to come out with a lot of energy. And we did that in the second half. We had a lot of steals. And that helped us in our offense."

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Sun 26, Fever 20
Fast-break points:
Fever 12, Sun 4
Second-chance points:
Fever 10, Sun 4
Points off turnovers:
Fever 19, Sun 13
Starters scoring:
Sun 46, Fever 44
Bench scoring:
Fever 20, Sun 7
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Fever 64, Sun 53

July 13, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Tamika Catchings recorded 18 points, nine rebounds, eight steals, and three assists to lead the Indiana Fever past the Connecticut Sun 64-53 in WNBA action Wednesday afternoon at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Indiana’s win was its seventh in nine games at home, and snapped a two-game losing streak while closing the gap between the Fever and the Eastern Conference-leading Sun. Indiana (9-6) remains 2.5 games behind Connecticut (12-4), which lost its second straight game and retains the best record in the WNBA.

With the Fever trailing 37-32 and 14:36 left to play, a Catchings steal led to Kelly Miller’s 13-foot jump shot – and a flurry of Catchings highlights that powered Indiana to its first lead in over 19 minutes.

After a Sun free throw by Margo Dydek, Catchings scored on a fastbreak layup on Indiana’s next possession. Catchings made another steal and was fouled, hitting a free throw with 14:01 remaining. Thirty seconds later, she blocked a 3-point attempt, pocketed the loose ball and fought through the defense for another attack to the basket. Fouled, she missed the first free throw and replaced her left contact between tries, hitting the second to knot the game at 38 with 13:25 left in the game.

The teams traded baskets before Deanna Jackson gave Indiana its first lead of the second half, on a pair of free throws, at 42-40. A free throw by Tan White and a Jackson layup gave the Fever a brief five-point advantage that was erased by five straight points from Asjha Jones and Katie Douglas.

Knotted at 45, Connecticut went over the foul limit and Catchings’ free throws with 8:09 to play that gave the Fever its lead for good. Her free throws opened an 11-4 Fever run that helped Indiana to outscore Connecticut 44-24 in the second half.

Nykesha Sales’ jumper brought the Sun within 56-53 with 1:24 remaining, but six straight Fever free throws and a layup by Tully Bevilaqua sealed Indiana’s victory, its sixth in seven games against the Eastern Conference.

The Sun controlled the game in the first half and built a 29-20 halftime lead. The Fever struggled from the field, connecting on only 25 percent of field goal attempts in the half. Shaking off the slow start, though, Indiana scored the opening six points after the intermission and turned up the defensive pressure. The Fever continuously ran the court, applying full-court pressure on defense, and pushing the ball on offense. Indiana recorded a franchise-record 13 steals in the second half, one shy of the WNBA record.

For the game, Indiana’s 19 steals were one shy of its club record. Catchings’ eight steals were one short of her existing franchise mark.

The Sun couldn’t stop the pressure of Indiana’s defense, and committed a Suns’ regulation record 24 turnovers. The Fever also became the only WNBA team to hold the league’s highest scoring offense to less than 60 points.

Kelly Miller added 15 points for the Fever on 7-of-11 shooting. Jackson came off the bench to score 11. Sales had 15 points for the Sun and Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored 14. Douglas, the former local star at Perry Meridian High School and Purdue University, contributed 11 points and seven rebounds in her homecoming.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • Today's win is the 50th home win in Fever history.
  • Today's win ends the Fever's six-game losing streak to Connecticut and it gives the Sun its first two-game losing streak of the season.
  • The Sun's 53 points are its lowest of the season. Prior to today, Connecticut had not scored less than 60 points in any of its 15 regular season games.
  • With 19 steals and 18 turnovers, the Fever had more steal than turnovers for the second time this season. Indiana's 19 steals are one short of the club record. The Fever had a franchise record 13 steals in the second half.
  • Tamika Catchings' eight steals are the most by any player in the WNBA this season and are one short of the franchise record. Her eight steals are two short of the WNBA record held by Ticha Penicheiro.
  • Indiana's 13 steals in the second half tied the second most ever in the WNBA and represent the Fever franchise record for steals in a half.
  • Connecticut's 24 turnovers tied the most by a Fever opponent this season and they tied the Sun's most ever in a non-overtime contest.
  • The Fever bench outscored Connecticut's reserves, 20-7, today, including a difference of 16-2 in the second half.
  • Deanna Jackson's 11 points off the bench is one point off her best effort of the season.
  • This season the Fever is 9-2 when Jackson makes at least one free throw and the team is 0-4 when she fails to hit at least one free throw.
  • Indiana's 20 points in the first half is its lowest for any half this season.
  • Indiana's eight assists today are a season-low. Tully Bevilaqua led the Fever with four assists, one off her most with the Fever.