Second-Half Run Fires Liberty to 67-53 Win Over Fever
July 31, 2005 at Madison Square Garden (New York, N.Y.)
Elena Baranova and Shameka Christon each scored 14 points for the Liberty, who broke a two-game losing skid. Liberty scoring leader Becky Hammon, limited to just two points in the first half, scored nine of her 11 in the second period.
Natalie Williams scored a season-high 15 points for Indiana, two nights after a season-high 14 in a win over Washington, but it was not enough to hold off the Liberty's second half rally. Tamika Catchings had 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Tan White and Kelly Miller each netted eight for the Fever.
Losing for just the third time in nine games since the All-Star Break, Indiana surrendered a 28-23 halftime advantage - after once leading 11-4 to begin the contest.
The Liberty, 12-11, outscored Fever 7-2 to begin second half and knotted the score at 30, to tie the score for the first time since the opening tip. The run became 24-8 over the first nine minutes of the final half, including Wauters’ fast-break layup to give N.Y. its first lead, 37-36, with 13:07 remaining.
Wauters scored again on the next possession as the Liberty commanded a 39-36 lead, and back-to-back 3-pointers by Vicki Johnson and Shameka Christon contributed to 14 unanswered Liberty points. Indiana was scoreless for over four minutes before Deanna Jackson's driving layup ended the Fever drought.
New York led by as many as 11 midway through the final period, but the Fever climbed back within 52-48 with 5:35 remaining on the strength of consecutive 3-pointers and a driving layup by rookie Tan White, her first points of the game. The Fever never got closer, though, as Christon’s NBA-range 3-pointer pushed the Liberty lead back to seven with 4:35 to play, and late N.Y. free throws put Indiana down by double figures again.
Indiana remains two wins shy of its franchise record for wins in a season (16), with 11 regular season games remaining. The Fever, 14-9, also retains a 2 1/2 game lead over the Liberty in the Eastern Conference standings and a 10-3 record against the Eastern Conference, the best in the WNBA. It was the Fever’s first loss to the Liberty this season, and its first at Madison Square Garden in the past two seasons.
Three early steals by Catchings, Tully Bevilaqua and Jurgita Streimikyte led to an 11-4 Indiana lead during the game’s first four minutes. Another steal by Catchings and a coast-to-coast layup made a 13-4 lead, its largest of the half, with just five minutes elapsed. New York climbed within one, but the Fever maintained a 28-23 lead at the intermission.