Sutton-Brown Makes History, Fever Drops Dream
|STAR OF THE GAME
Sutton-Brown scored the first four points of the game and never looked back as she had a season-high 16 points in just 22 minutes on the floor. Sutton-Brown made history at the 9:03 mark of the third quarter as she scored her 3,000th career point. In doing so she also became just the fifth player in WNBA history with 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds, and 400 blocks.
Hoffman drilled a 3-pointer with 3:55 left in the game and two second left on the shot clock to increase the Fever lead from two to five. Hoffman also made a free-throw with 5.4 seconds left to help Indiana secure the victory. Hoffman also collected five rebounds and two steals.
“Even with our lead at halftime, we knew Atlanta would come at us. We knew we could get a stop at the end and Ebony’s (Hoffman) three was huge. Atlanta made adjustments defensively to get back into the game, but our bench was again a key to our win. At moments, I see us looking like a very good team. And at other moments we are still a work in progress. At crunch time we were able to get the stops we needed.”
On her crucial 3-pointer:
“I was set. I was going to pass it to Katie (Douglas) but I didn’t think she would be able to get the shot away in time. So it put it up.”
Points in the paint:
Fever 38, Dream 42
Fever 5, Dream 15
Fever 12, Dream 10
Points off turnovers:
Fever 35, Dream 12
Fever 65, Dream 73
Fever 29, Dream 18
By Tom Rietmann
Two victories over WNBA leaders in a three-day stretch gave the surging Indiana Fever a reason to feel a sense of attainment. But if that was the players' reaction Saturday night after a 94-91 squeaker over Atlanta, they did a nice job of concealing it.
“We don't really have the time or energy to celebrate,” guard Katie Douglas, who collected 17 points and five assists, said as she iced her aching knees. “We did what we were supposed to do. We took care of our home court.”
The Fever grabbed a 17-point first-half lead over the Dream and then held off the Eastern Conference leaders in the final 10.4 seconds with three key free throws and a timely defensive play by Tamika Catchings. The victory, coming on the heels of an important win over West-leading Seattle on Thursday, boosted Indiana's record to 8-4, a half-game behind the Dream.
But Indiana, which has won six straight home games, will now say goodbye to Conseco Fieldhouse until July 8. The Fever plays four straight games on the road, starting next Friday at Seattle.
“Sure, it was a good week for us,” said Indiana center Tammy Sutton-Brown, whose season-high 16 points put her over the 3,000 mark and made her the fifth player in WNBA history with 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 400 blocks. “We can celebrate tonight -- enjoy it and have some fun and have dinner. But then, it's back to work on Monday.”
The Fever took a 42-25 lead over Atlanta midway through the second quarter. Indiana's reserves did the damage, building a 19-8 run. Jessica Davenport totaled 10 points on the night, and Briann January added nine.
“Once again our bench showed why they're the best bench in the league.” said Catchings, who had 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
None of Catchings' steals was bigger than one with 10.4 seconds left in the game. Atlanta, shooting 60 percent (9-of-15), outscored Indiana 28-19 in the third quarter. The Dream kept the heat turned up in the fourth, too, and had the deficit at only two, 91-89, in the final minute. But after Atlanta attempted to set up a play during a timeout with 21.2 seconds left, Catchings jumped in the lane and intercepted a pass by Iziane Castro Marques.
“I saw it develop because we got burned like five times during the game,” Catchings said. “I knew whoever was driving in didn't really want to shoot it. They wanted to pass to the post underneath.”
Catchings strategy? “Stay low, sneak in and get it.” she said.
Two free throws by Douglas and one by Ebony Hoffman were sandwiched around a pair by Castro Marques, making the score 94-91 with 7.1 seconds left. Atlanta's Shalee Lehning failed to connect on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We knew when we got ahead at half (55-41) that we were still going to get a great shot back from Atlanta,” Fever coach Lin Dunn said. “They're so talented and good. They came out like gangbusters in the second half.”
Hoffman, who had 12 points and five rebounds, echoed her coach's words.
“Atlanta has a great team,” said Hoffman, whose 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 3:45 left gave Indiana some breathing room at 84-79. “They're fast, athletic, big and strong. You're not going to stop them all the time. You just hope you do the right thing at the right time. In the second half, they started getting shots. I think we held our composure and stayed with it to get the 'W.' ”
Indiana's 93 points represented a season high. The Fever needed the offensive output to ward off an Atlanta team that hit 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field.
Indiana forced 23 turnovers by the Dream, which led to 35 Fever points.
Indiana has won eight of its last 10 games, but Dunn sees plenty of room for improvement.
“We certainly haven't peaked,” the coach said. “We're not playing A-plus basketball all the time. We still have a lot of room to grow. I think that's a good sign. We're not where we need to be and we're still winning.”
-- Atlanta received a big night from Sancho Lyttle, who totaled 20 points and 20 rebounds. Angel McCoughtry and Castro Marques each scored 21. Lyttle's 20 rebounds were the most ever against the Fever, and a Conseco Fieldhouse record by a WNBA player.
-- Coach Lin Dunn on Sutton-Brown's statistical accomplishments during her nine years in the WNBA: “Not only has she done a great job defensively, now she's in a very elite club. It doesn't surprise me a bit.”
-- Dunn said a key factor in the game was Indiana's refusal to give up the lead, even when Atlanta was playing its best in the second half.
With 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Tamika Catchings led her team in all three departments for the second time this season.
Missing her first free throw of the game, Tamika Catchings's streak of consecutive free throws came to an end at 33 in a row.
Tonight's win is Indiana's sixth straight home win and its fourth in a row at home against the Dream.
Since starting the season with six straight wins, Atlanta has won three of its last seven games. Tonight's Atlanta loss ended a two-game winning streak and is the Dream's second in its last five games overall.
With her eighth point tonight, Tammy Sutton-Brown became the fifth player in WNBA history with 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 400 blocks, joining Margo Dydek, Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson and Tangela Smith.
Sutton-Brown totaled 16 points, her most this season.
Indiana's 94 points are its most this season and tied the third highest total in franchise history.
With her 12th point tonight Katie Douglas hit the 3,800-point mark in her WNBA career.
Sancho Lyttle's 20 rebounds tonight are her career-high and are the most by any player in the WNBA this season, one more than Connecticut's Tina Charles had last night at Los Angeles. It is the most rebounds ever by a Fever opponent at Conseco Fieldhouse, and tied the most ever by an Indiana opposing player.
Atlanta's 53.6 percent from the field tonight is the best against the Fever this season, and it is the third time an Indiana foe has shot 50+ percent FG in 2010.
Outrebounded by the Dream, 38-32, the Fever had a season-high tying 14 offensive rebounds. But, Atlanta outscored the Fever, 15-5, in second chance points. The Dream had 10 offensive boards.
Indiana had a season-low 12 turnovers for the second straight game and the Dream's 12 points off those turnovers are the second fewest scored against the Fever this season. Minnesota scored just six points off the Fever's16 turnovers at Target Center, 6/6.
With a season-high 16 steals tonight, the Fever had more steals than turnovers for the first time in 2010.
Indiana's 29 points in the first quarter and 55 points in the first half are its most in those periods this season. Indiana's 55 points in the first half tied its best first half ever, and the third best half ever, overall.
Ebony Hoffman was 3-3 from 3-pt range tonight, tying the most 3-pt FG without a miss by a Fever player this season. Tamika Catchings was 3-3 from long distance at Minnesota, 6/6.
Jessica Davenport led the Indiana bench with 10 points tonight and the Fever has had a reserve score in double figures in eight of 12 games this season. Davenport has done so three times this season.