STAR OF THE GAME
Ebony Hoffman
Hoffman continued her heroics for the Fever as she led the team with 16 points, including a three-poiner that began a 19-0 run for Indiana. Hoffman has scored in double-figures in four consecutive games and also added eight rebouds in the win over the Sparks.
UNSUNG HERO
Briann January
January played a key role for the Fever, coming off the bench and scoring 11 points. In addition to her scoring, January played good defense and found teammates in good positions, accounting for four assists.
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In general:
"We started the game very sluggishly. We played much better in the second half. I like Briann�s (January) ability to penetrate. We moved the ball from side to side better in the second half. Our energy on defense forced them into many turnovers. Making the extra pass helped our offense. We picked up the tempo and that helped our game in the second half."

Katie Douglas
On National Audience:
"It is fun for us to get exposure. At halftime we came in and held everyone accountable. Defensively in the second half, we made a more conscious effort. We were getting exposed in the first half. We did a much better job of anticipating on the defense in the second half. Our identity is on the defensive end. The Eastern conference is extremely close. We are not overconfident."

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 22, Sparks 22
Second-chance points:

Fever 22, Sparks 10
Fast-break points:

Fever 4, Sparks 2
Points off turnovers:

Fever 24, Sparks 14
Starters scoring:

Fever 44, Sparks 52
Bench scoring:

Fever 32, Sparks 5
Big Run, Big Win

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Los Angeles 6-16 21 15 9 12 57
at Indiana 14-7 22 13 21 20 76

By Tom Rietmann
By pro basketball standards, it was a run of staggering proportions. The Los Angeles Sparks couldn't stem the flow of points coming from the Indiana Fever.

The Fever, in survival mode early, ratcheted up their energy after halftime Thursday night and stunned the Sparks with a 25-2 scoring binge. The Sparks failed to score a field goal in nearly 10 minutes, missing 13 shots. Indiana converted a one-point deficit at halftime into a 76-57 rout in a game that propelled the Fever into sole ownership of first place in the WNBA Eastern Conference.

"I think it was our intensity," forward Ebony Hoffman, who led the Fever with 16 points and eight rebounds, said in an attempt to explain the difference in the halves. "We were just more alert (in the second half). We were in the right spots. We rotated well. We disrupted them from what they wanted to do."

The victory lifted Indiana to 14-7 ahead of Saturday night's road game against the Washington Mystics, who are second in the competitive East. It was Indiana's third straight win and fifth in six games.

Fever coach Lin Dunn started reserve point guard Briann January in the second half after Tully Bevilaqua went zero-for-four from the field in the first half. The Los Angeles defense was providing some good looks, but Indiana needed an igniter after hitting just 14-of-38 shots (36.8 percent) before halftime.

Handed the keys to the offense, January operated it nicely. She scored six points with two rebounds and two assists in the third quarter. She also helped Indiana hold Los Angeles to 3-of-12 shooting (25 percent) and force eight turnovers in the period.

Afterward, January played down her accomplishments. "Tully and I back each other up. We complement each other," January said. "At the time (Dunn) just called my number. You have to be there and be ready.

"What we really did was slow it down and start running through our sets and really execute. We were just getting good shots and not rushing things. Lin was telling me constantly, 'Run your team, run your team. Get them organized.' '"

It worked in the third quarter and carried to the fourth. Indiana outscored Los Angeles (6-16) by 20 points after halftime and held the Sparks to 6-of-26 shooting (23.1 percent). Los Angeles committed 14 turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

"Our energy from our defense really helped us," said Dunn, who also liked the ball movement. Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom stated it simply: "It's hard to win games when you shoot 6-for-26."

January's 11 points and Jessica Davenport's 13 helped Indiana's reserves outscore the Sparks' subs by 32-5. It marked the Fever's seventh game of 30-plus points from the bench, a franchise record. Indiana's Tamika Catchings, drawing extra defensive attention most of the night, took only six shots from the field, making three. She totaled 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.

"Every single time I got the ball ... a double team," Catchings said. "Instead of trying to be selfish, you just have to figure out where the open man is. Fortunately, we were able to get the ball moving around and hit a lot of our shots."

For Hoffman, it marked her fourth straight outing in double-digit scoring after an uneven start this season. She has eliminated red meat from her diet and added a bounce to her step. Her 16 points included a couple of 3-pointers during the 25-2 run, during which she led the Fever with eight points.

"The confidence is high right now," Hoffman said. "My teammates have really helped me with that. They've really continued to just let me shoot the ball, getting me the ball where I can be successful. They've just been encouraging me."

FEVER TIDBITS
-- Joy Cheek, Indiana's third-round draft pick who was cut late in training camp and re-signed recently, made her official WNBA debut. She finished with seven points on 2-of-2 shooting from the floor, including a 3-pointer. "Quality minutes," Dunn said of the nine that the rookie forward played. "I thought she settled a little bit for more outside shots when she could have gotten down inside. I thought she did a really good job for us. She is a force in there. We need to get her the ball."
-- Indiana's Shavonte Zellous was on the bench in civilian clothes, sidelined with ankle tendinitis. Zellous is averaging 6.1 points this season.
-- The Purdue women's basketball program had something of a reunion Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Fever's Dunn coached the Boilermakers from 1987 to '96, including a trip to the Final Four in 1994. Carolyn Peck, who handled the commentary on ESPN2's telecast of the Sparks-Fever game, coached Purdue in the late 1990s and led the Boilermakers to the national title in '99. Fever star Katie Douglas was a standout on Peck's title team. Sparks reserve Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton was drafted out of Purdue following the 2008-09 season.


Game Notes

  • With tonight's win, the Fever has won three straight games for the first time since winning three in a row June 13-19. Three in a row represents the Fever's longest winning streak of the season.
  • Against the Sparks, the Fever has won five of the last seven meetings, after winning just one of its first 11 games ever vs. Los Angeles. The Fever has won four straight games vs. L.A. at Conseco Fieldhouse.
  • The Sparks' 57 points are one off the team's fewest ever vs. the Fever. It had 56 points in Indiana's only win (57-56) at STAPLES Center, 7/5/07.
  • Including 13 from Jessica Davenport and 11 from Briann January, the Fever bench outscored the L.A. reserves, 32-5. That is Indiana's seventh game of 30+ points from its bench, a franchise record. Previously Indiana got 30+ points from its bench in six games during the 2001 and 2003 seasons.
  • In limiting the Sparks to just 22-63 FG (.349), the Fever held L.A. to 6-26 from the floor (.230) in the second held the Sparks without a field goal for a period of more than 11 minutes in which they missed 13 straight shots.
  • The Fever is now 5-2 against Western Conference competition in 2010, matching its win total vs. the West of the previous two seasons.
  • Katie Douglas's first assist tonight was the 800th of her career and she is now just __ steals short of becoming the fourth player in WNBA history to record 800 assists and 500 steals in her career.
  • Including her team-high six tonight, Tamika Catchings has averaged 5.7 apg in the last three games. She is now averaging a team-high 3.86 apg for the season.
  • Including her team-high 16 points tonight, Ebony Hoffman has scored 10+ points in each of the Fever's four games since the All-Star break.
  • Indiana's 10 3-pt field goals made are its most at Conseco Fieldhouse this season and tied its most in any game. The Fever had 10 3-pt FG in its win at Chicago, 6/27.
  • Indiana is now 9-1 at home this season when carrying a lead into the fourth quarter. Overall, the Fever is 13-5 when leading at the end of three quarters.
  • L.A.'s nine points in the third quarter tied the fewest scored against the Fever in the third period this season.
  • Joy Cheek scored the first official points of her WNBA career on her first attempt from the floor, which happened to come from beyond the 3-pt arc. She finished the game 2-2 from the floor and 2-2 from the foul line.
  • The Fever's 19-point win is its largest ever against the Sparks.
  • Katie Douglas's three 3-pt FG tonight give her 50 on the season and she has hit at least 50 in each of her three seasons with the Fever. Her total this season is the seventh highest for a single season in Fever history.
  • Briann January's three 3-pt FG tied her career and are her most this season. That is only the third time in 2010 that January has made more than one shot from 3-pt range.