Fourth Quarter Flurry Gives Fever 5th Straight Win
|STAR OF THE GAME
Scoring at least 24 points for the fifth time in seven games, Catchings scored 11 of her game-high 26 in the fourth quarter. The WNBA MVP candidate also paced Indiana with seven rebounds and seven assists. A 3-pointer and pair of free throws on consecutive possessions gave the Fever an 8-point lead with two minutes remaining.
Davenport was hardly unnoticed. Wearing her protective mask to protect a broken nose sustained Aug. 3, Davenport scored eight of her 10 points in the final quarter. She hit back-to-back-to-back jumpers for six straight points that brought the Fever from behind two, 63-61, into a four-point lead that it never relinquished.
On adjustments contributing to the 18-3 run:
"We were running a middle screen & roll and [Connecticut] was jumping to Catchings, leaving a 15-to-16 foot jumper open for Davenport. She kept knocking them down to force an adjustment and that left the middle open for Catchings."
On the 4th quarter sequence by Jessica Davenport:
"Jess hit the first one and then the second, and we told her, ‘You just stay in that same spot and we’re going to get it to you!’ She hit another one then they made an adjustment and it opened the middle for us down the stretch."
Points in the paint:
Fever 30, Sun 14
Fever 7, Sun 8
Fever 0, Sun 4
Points off turnovers:
Fever 12, Sun 13
Fever 50, Sun 52
Fever 29, Sun 14
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) - Tamika Catchings scored 26 points to help the Indiana Fever beat Connecticut 79-66 on Sunday, eliminating the Sun from playoff contention for the second straight season.
Indiana (21-10) increased its lead in the Eastern Conference to 1.5 games over idle New York. The Fever closed the game on an 18-3 run over the final 5 1/2 minutes.
Tina Charles led Connecticut with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Charles, who has 368 rebounds this season, set WNBA single season records for most rebounds in the season, surpassing Cheryl Ford's previous mark of 363. Charles also set a single season record with her 20th double-double.
Renee Montgomery added 12 points and Asjha Jones scored 11 for Connecticut (15-16).
Jones made a free throw with 5:36 left to give the Sun a 63-61 lead. Jessica Davenport scored six straight points for the Fever, including a foul line jumper with 4:36 left to give Indiana the lead for good.
Davenport scored eight of her 10 points in the final 6:21. She entered the game after Ebony Hoffman fouled out.
Katie Douglas scored 10 for the Fever.
The Sun used a 13-3 run at the end of the third period to take a 54-50 lead heading to the fourth period
Indiana won its fifth straight game to command a 1 ½-game lead over the New York Liberty in first place in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. The Fever won its third straight road game and the sixth in its last seven.
Indiana is at New York on Tuesday for a matchup with its closest contender for the Eastern Conference crown. The Liberty is the WNBA’s hottest team, winning eight straight games including a win at Conseco Fieldhouse on Aug. 3.
With the loss and a Washington win, Connecticut was eliminated from playoff contention.
MVP candidate Tamika Catchings led all scorers with 26 points, scoring at least 24 for the fifth time in the past seven games. Eleven of Catchings’ points came in the fourth quarter. She also led Indiana with seven rebounds and seven assists. Katie Douglas added 10 points in the winning cause and Jessica Davenport also added 10.
Davenport, wearing a custom-fitted mask to protect a broken nose sustained seven days earlier, scored in double figures for the third time in the past five games. Eight of her 10 points came in the final quarter – six on three successive baskets as Indiana regained the lead for good.
Trailing 63-61, the Fever ended the game on an 18-3 run ignited by three straight 15-foot jumpers by the 6-7 Davenport. A jumper by Tamika Catchings gave the Fever an 8-0 spurt and after three Sun free throws with 3:01 to play, Connecticut never scored again as the Fever scored the game’s last 10 points. Catchings scored seven points during the run, Davenport had six and Indiana ended the game with a 3-pointer by Katie Douglas and a jumper by Jessica Moore.
Indiana never trailed in the first half, but was outscored 17-8 in the third period as Connecticut took its first lead of the game.
The Sun led 54-50 entering the fourth quarter and Fever forward Ebony Hoffman fouled out of the contest with 7:19 to play, but reserve center Jessica Davenport shared the spotlight with Catchings to take over the game.
Indiana shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the third time in its last four games.
Connecticut rookie center Tina Charles established WNBA records for rebounds and double-doubles in a single season.