81

68

STAR OF THE GAME
Tamika Catchings
Catchings set the tone for the Fever by scoring 21 points, ripping down six rebounds and dishing out three assists.
UNSUNG HERO
Erin Phillips
Philips continues to play well since the All-Star break. She had 18 points and three assists on six of seven shoothng
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In general:
“When we win the boards, good things happen. We did a good job on Becky (Hammon) and Sophia (Young). Our defense is more effective as the game goes on because we are more aware of the opponent’s offense. The turnovers bothered me, but we played good defense to make up for them.”

Erin Phillips
In general:
It was a good team effort. It was really disappointing against Chicago and I think it was a great way to respond to our loss. We had energy and a sense of urgency. Defense especially we had to pick up. Very disappointing against Chicago. We had a good practice in between Chicago and San Antonio. We got a lot of things back on track.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 24, Silver Stars 22
Second-chance points:

Fever 11, Silver Stars 6
Fast-break points:

Fever 3, Silver Stars 0
Points off turnovers:

Fever 11, Silver Stars 19
Starters scoring:

Fever 59, Silver Stars 55
Bench scoring:

Fever 22, Silver Stars 13
Fever stifles Silver Stars' comeback

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Indiana 16-7 19 20 24 18 81
San Antonio 12-9 18 5 21 24 68

By Tom Rietmann | August 9, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- When Tamika Catchings got a little chatty with the referees with 6:41 remaining in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, they hit her with a technical foul.

Thereafter, Catchings took her frustration out on the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Catchings scored nine of Indiana's final 16 points as the Fever pulled away in an 81-68 victory at Conseco Fieldhouse. Her leadership and energy inspired a Fever team that let a 20-point lead slip to nine with 2:50 left against San Antonio. As she has many times before, Catchings, who totaled a game-high 21 points, willed Indiana to a victory when it needed it most.

As Fever Coach Lin Dunn warned after the game when somebody mentioned her star forward's fiery fourth-quarter performance: “Don't make Catchings mad.”

The triumph elevated Indiana's record to 16-7 and solidified its lead atop the WNBA Eastern Conference. Two nights earlier, Indiana had lost by 19 at Chicago in a game that left everybody on the team miffed and determined.

Nobody was more miffed that Catchings, who scored just six points against the Sky.

Tuesday, the Fever standout hit 7-of-13 from the field and collected six rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots. She played with an unmistakable fierceness from the opening tip. As for the technical foul … well …

“I was just trying to find different ways to kind of get us inspired and get that extra motivation,” Catchings said. “Getting that tech, it's a bad thing overall but a good thing as far as a sparkplug for this team.

“After the tech, it was all of us coming together and just saying, 'Hey, we have to step it up, pick it up and not let the refs get in our heads.' From that point on, it seems like we all picked it up offensively and defensively.”

Fever point guard Erin Phillips hit 6-of-7 shots and totaled 18 points. Katie Douglas added 13 points.

For Phillips, it was her second-best scoring night of the season and her eighth double-digit game. She and backup Shannon Bobbitt have turned into a formidable one-two punch in the wake of a season-ending knee injury to Briann January.

Dunn made a point Tuesday night of lauding Phillips for her scoring and the way she is leading the fast break. The Fever coach pointed to Phillips' ability to hit 3-pointers as well as mid-range shots and also maneuver in the pick-and-roll.

“I think some of the best teams have point guards who score,” Dunn said. “I think if you're going to be a really good team, you have to have scoring from your point position. … (Phillips) is just growing and growing with learning our system.”

Phillips stayed low-key.

“If Bobbitt and I can pick up some points here and there and take some pressure off the primary scorers on our team, that definitely helps,” said the native Australian.

Indiana did its best to put the game away in the second quarter, holding the Stars to 1-of-14 shooting (7.1 percent) and outscoring them 20-5.

“I think our defense really bothered them,” Dunn said. “Nothing came easy.”

San Antonio (12-9) shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) for the game. Becky Hammon led the Stars with 19 points, followed by Sophia Young with 13. Point guard Tully Bevilaqua, a favorite of Indianapolis fans during her six seasons with the Fever through 2010, had three points.

Indiana outrebounded the visitors 35-28. “When we win the boards, good things happen,” Dunn said.

What Dunn seemed happiest about was the way her team came back from the 88-69 loss at Chicago.

“I think that game really got our attention,” the coach said. “You have a choice (when) you face some adversity. Are you going to get bitter or going to get better? I thought we really bounced back from a tough loss up there.”

Postgame Notes:

  • Scoring 20+ points for the first time in seven games, and just the third time this season, Tamika Catchings led all scorers with 21 points--one short of her season-high.
  • Indiana held the Silver Stars to just five points in the second quarter, marking the fourth time in franchise history that the Fever defense has held an opponent to five or fewer points in a single quarter.
  • Catchings was 3-3 from 3-pt range tonight, tying her most 3-pt FG of the season. Catchings was also 3-3 from beyond the arc at Connecticut, 7/28.
  • With a team-high eight tonight, Jessica Davenport had her most rebounds of the last five games, and tied her second most of the last 17 games.
  • The Fever had 13 steals tonight, tying its most of the season, as Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown each had three. That is one short of both players' season-high. Indiana also had 13 steals at Tulsa this past Friday night (8/5).
  • Eight of the 10 Fever players in uniform had at least one steal tonight.
  • Averaging 16.8 ppg on the season, Becky Hammon scored almost that many in the second half with 16 of her team-high 19 points coming in the final 20 minutes.
  • Missing just one of her seven shots from the floor (2-3 3-pt FG), Erin Phillips's 18 points tied her second best offensive production of the season.
  • The Fever outrebounded the Silver Stars, 35-28, getting four or more rebounds from five different players and six or more from Tamika Catchings (6), Shavonte Zellous (7) and Jessica Davenport (8). Zellous's seven tied her career-high and were her most this season.
  • Indiana committed 21 turnovers, its most in a win this season.
  • While all five starters had at least one assist, the bench garnered just one assist and the team's total of 11 is its second fewest of the season--and lowest since having eight at Seattle, 6/17.
  • The only Indiana player with more than one blocked shot tonight, Tamika Catchings tied her season-high with three rejections.
  • With her 21 points tonight, Tamika Catchings has drawn to with seven points of becoming the sixth player in WNBA history to score 5,000 points in her career.