Williams Leads Fever Past Mercury

STAR OF THE GAME
NATALIE WILLIAMS
Celebrating the fifth birthday of her adopted twins, Sydney and Turasi, Williams matched a season-high 15 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Her jumper with 3:30 remaining gave the Fever its final lead.
UNSUNG HERO
DEANNA JACKSON
Jackson keyed a bench effort that outscored the Mercury 24-1. Jackson's 13 points included 7-of-8 from the free throw line, including a pair to seal the win with 3.1 seconds to play.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the big win:
“I thought we played with a tremendous amount of grit and intensity. We were disappointed in the loss last night in L.A., but we rebounded well and really had a great team win.”

On player contributions:
“Natalie [Williams] gave us a great game tonight, and we got great contributions from our bench. And of course, Tamika [Catchings] had her typicall all-around night. I thought Kelly Miller was huge in the final minute. She hit a very big 3 and then knocked down four straight free throws.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 26, Mercury 24
Second-chance points:
Fever 12, Mercury 10
Fast-break points:
Fever 5, Mercury 2
Points off turnovers:
Fever 15, Mercury 14
Starters scoring:
Fever 36, Mercury 55
Bench scoring:
Fever 24, Mercury 1
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Fever 62, Mercury 56

August 14, 2005 at America West Arena (Phoenix, Ariz.)

PHOENIX (AP) - The Indiana Fever came through with a late-game rally, and got its franchise-record 17th win. Natalie Williams had a season-high 15 points and nine rebounds, helping the Fever beat the Phoenix Mercury 62-56 Sunday night.

Against the Mercury, the Fever ran off nine straight points after falling behind by four and got the lead for good on Williams' bucket with 3:30 remaining to win its franchise-best sixth road game of the season.

"We have lost games right in the last few minutes,'' Williams said. "But it was really a focus for us tonight to maintain and run our offense and stay poised down the stretch.''

Tamika Catchings added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Fever, 17-12, who won for the second time in three games and maintained a one-game lead over third-place New York in the Eastern Conference.

"I think we all were really disappointed that we lost to L.A. since we were in a position to win,'' Catchings said. "Tonight, we were in the same situation, and everybody pushed to not let this one get away.''

Anna DeForge scored a game-high 18 for the Mercury, 13-14, who lost for just the third time in 13 games. Three Phoenix starters fouled out in the final 4:37, including leading-scorer Diana Taurasi with 2:20 left.

"I don't think I have ever been involved with a team where three starters have fouled out,'' Mercury coach Carrie Graf said. "It's going to be hard to win a contest when you are in this type of situation.''

Phoenix was whistled for 27 fouls, and Indiana 19. The Fever took advantage, making 21 of 22 free throws.

"Obviously, Diana Taurasi going out of the game was a big factor,'' Indiana coach Brian Winters said. "We took a couple of nice charges on her and got her out of the game. That certainly helps when you take probably their best player off their game, their point guard and their decision-maker.''

Williams hit a 15-footer with 3:30 left to give Indiana a 51-50 lead, then grabbed a key offensive rebound with 1:30 left that led to Kelly Schumacher's free throws 16 seconds later.

Kelly Miller hit a 3-pointer and four free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

Maria Stepanova followed a miss to get the Mercury within 58-56 with eight seconds remaining, but Miller and Deanna Jackson hit their free throws for the final margin.

Phoenix is a half-game ahead of Los Angeles for the fourth and final playoff berth in the West.

Indiana, the worst shooting team in the WNBA, overcame a 32-percent effort from the field. The Fever led 30-29 at halftime.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • Indiana hosts three of its final five regular season games at Conseco Fieldhouse - including games on Aug. 18 vs. Washington, and Aug. 20 vs. Charlotte.
  • Indiana won for the 17th time in 2005, erasing the previous franchise record for wins - matched in 2002 (16-16) and 2003 (16-18).
  • Indiana earned its sixth road win of the season to match its franchise record for road wins in a season - 6, set in 2002.