Fever Cruises Through Storm, 78-68

STAR OF THE GAME
TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Catchings finished just one rebound shy of a fourth consecutive double-double, which would have been a franchise record. She finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and six assists.
UNSUNG HERO
TULLY BEVILAQUA
Bevilaqua shot 3-of-6 from the field - all from behind the three-point line. Her aggressive play helped her add five assists, three steals and one rebound to her personal stat sheet.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the game:
“Everybody who played, played well. We played terrific defense in the first half. This game and the Connecticut game have been our best home games of the season.”

On Tamika Catchings:
“She had a tremendous game. Her shooting percentage was unbelievable. She’s been conscious of her shooting percentage and has really been working on it.”

TAMIKA CATCHINGS
On the Fever's level of play:
“We played really well tonight, (especially) defensively. We had those early steals that led us into our offense. We want to make it to the playoffs. Once we make it, we’ll have a good opportunity.”

NATALIE WILLIAMS
Was this the Fever's most complete game of the season?
“It was a great first half, offensively and defensively. Both aspects of the game tonight came together. In the second half, our defense went down a little. But our offense stayed consistent. The key tonight was keeping them off the boards and our defense did a great job.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Storm 30, Fever 28
Fast-break points:
Storm 14, Fever 8
Second-chance points:
Storm 9, Fever 7
Points off turnovers:
Storm 18, Fever 17
Starters scoring:
Fever 57, Storm 37
Bench scoring:
Storm 31, Fever 21
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Fever 78, Storm 68

August 4, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

INDIANAPOLIS—Tamika Catchings had 24 points and nine rebounds to lift the Indiana Fever to a 78-68 victory over the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm on Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse, before a season-high crowd of 9,290.

Indiana won for the seventh time in 10 games since the WNBA All-Star Break, and matched its franchise record with its 11th home win of the season (11-2). Indiana remains one win shy of matching its franchise record for wins overall, with still 10 regular season games remaining.

Indiana moved within 3 ˝ games of Eastern Conference leader Connecticut, whom the Fever hosts on Saturday. Indiana built a 2 ˝-game cushion ahead of Washington in third place while bidding for its first playoff spot in three seasons. Indiana plays at Washington on Sunday.

For Seattle, 14-11, the loss snapped a six-game winning streak and dropped the Storm 4 ˝ games behind Western-leading Sacramento, which defeated Charlotte on Thursday.

MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Catchings dominated both ends of the court and fell one rebound shy of a franchise record fourth-straight double-double. She shot 9-of-11 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. She also contributed six assists and seven steals, en route to becoming the 14th player in WNBA history to reach 300 career steals.

Natalie Williams notched 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and point guard Tully Bevilaqua, who helped Seattle to its 2004 WNBA title, played against her former team for the first time. After sitting out the first meeting with the Storm due to an injury, Bevilaqua contributed nine points, including a 3-of-6 clip from 3-point range.

Indiana, which led the entire game, made a season-high nine 3-pointers to go along with its highest 3-point shooting effort of the season (.563) on a 9-of-16 performance.

The Fever, which raced to a 16-2 lead in the game’s opening minutes, led from wire-to-wire in a game that was never really contested. Indiana gained a 19-point lead, its largest of the game, after Kelly Schumacher sank two free throws with 2:46 remaining in the game.

Betty Lennox provided the Storm with a spark to start the second half, as she scored six consecutive points to bring Seattle within six, 36-30, just three minutes into the second half. It was the closest the Storm would get, though, as Bevilaqua sparked a 13-5 run with a pair of 3s, which was followed by another from Jurgita Streimikyte.

The WNBA’s third-leading scorer, Lauren Jackson finished with.a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds. Lennox scored 12 points for the Storm, 10 of which came in the second half. Suzy Batkovic contributed 13 points.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • Tonight's win ends the Fever's three-game losing streak to the Storm and is Indiana's second victory in its last nine games with Seattle. The Fever is 5-6 against the West this season, including a mark of 5-2 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
  • Tonight's win is the Fever's 11th (11-2) at home, matching the team's most home wins ever.
  • Overall, the Fever is 15-9 just one win short of the team's most ever in a WNBA season.
  • Seattle's loss ends a season-long six-game winning streak.
  • Seattle's 68 points tonight are the most by an opponent in a Fever win since the Detroit Shock scored 79 points in an overtime win, 6/15. Prior to tonight, the Fever had held the opposition to less than 60 points in eight straight wins.
  • With her game-high seven steals, Tamika Catchings has become the 14th player in WNBA history to register 300+ steals in her career. Catchings now has 302 thefts in her career.
  • Catchings' seven steals tonight are one short of the most by any player in the WNBA this season.
  • Ebony Hoffman's bench-high seven points featured her first 3-pt FG of the season and the sixth of her brief WNBA career.
  • Indiana had three players with four or more assists tonight and totaled a season-high tying 21 assists.
  • Tan White's bench-leading four assists tonight are her career-best.
  • Indiana's 28-53 FG (.528) represents a season-best in FG percentage and it marks just the second time in 2005 that the Fever has shot 50+ percent from the floor. However, the Fever is just 1-1 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor.
  • Indiana shot better from 3-pt range (9-16, .563) than it did from 2-pt range (19-37, .514) tonight.
  • Tully Bevilaqua tied a season-high with three 3-pt FG tonight. That is her fourth game with three 3-pt FG this season.
  • After scoring in double figures twice in her first 21 games this season, Natalie Williams has scored 10+ points in each of the last three games and in that span has 13.7 ppg and shot 18-32 FG (.563).
  • Tonight's attendance of 9,290 is a season-best.
  • Tonight's win is the Fever's second wire-to-wire win of the season.