Fever Clamps Down, Closes Out Liberty

STAR OF THE GAME
TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Catchings scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, adding two assists and a steal for good measure.
UNSUNG HERO
NATALIE WILLIAMS
Williams continued her strong inside play of late, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the game:
“This was not the prettiest game, but we got the job done. Our defense was terrific. We managed to stay focused. I give New York a lot of credit. They had many injuries."

On coaching the Fever:
"It’s fun to coach this team. They get along very well. They have a lot of pride in what they do.”

On Natalie Williams:
“She’s been a warrior all of her career. She was lively tonight. She pressured a lot of people. She played a tremendous game. She has lots of pride about her game.”

TAMIKA CATCHINGS
On the Fever's growth this season:
“The biggest thing, we had one goal, to make the playoffs and contend for the championship. Every game we have gotten better and better offensively and defensively. We have really pulled together as a team.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Liberty 18, Fever 14
Fast-break points:
Fever 8, Liberty 6
Second-chance points:
Fever 8, Liberty 4
Points off turnovers:
Fever 16, Liberty 7
Starters scoring:
Fever 50, Liberty 41
Bench scoring:
Liberty 9, Fever 8
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Fever 58, Liberty 50

September 1, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Tamika Catchings and Kelly Miller gave the Indiana Fever their first postseason series win.

Catchings and Miller combined for all the points in a decisive second-half surge as the Fever regrouped for a 58-50 victory over the New York Liberty and a sweep of their best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Fever avenged a conference semifinal loss to the Liberty in 2002, their only other appearance in the postseason. They await the winner of the Connecticut-Detroit series.

The Liberty were eliminated in the opening round for the first time in their history. An original WNBA franchise, they have made the playoffs every year except 1998 and 2003.

Named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year earlier Thursday, Catchings collected 19 points and 12 rebounds. Miller, whose late 3-pointer was the dagger in Indiana's Game One win, added 11 points.

Indiana squandered a 14-point first-half lead and trailed, 37-35, after a basket by New York's La'Keshia Frett with 7:47 to go. The hoop capped a 21-8 run to open the second half after an awful first half by the Liberty.

Catchings sank a 3-pointer and Miller made a jumper and 3-pointer to give the Fever a 43-37 advantage with 5:57 left. It was at least a two-possession game thereafter.

Natalie Williams added 13 points and 10 boards for the Fever, who won despite shooting just 28 percent (16-of-57) from the field. They made 21-of-25 free throws and held a 38-25 advantage on the glass.

Becky Hammon scored 14 points and Frett added 13 for the Liberty, who trailed, 27-16, after a first half in which they had five baskets and 11 turnovers.