Catchings scores 5,000th point; Fever beats Liberty
|STAR OF THE GAME
On a night when she became the only player in WNBA history with 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds, and, 1,000 assists, Catchings tied a career high with 32 points.
Zellous paced the Fever bench scoring nine points. Zellous shot four for eight from the field and ripped down two rebounds to help Indiana beat New York.
“Tamika (Catchings) is just a great, great player. She takes what she is being given every night. Her effort is unmatched. Whether she is scoring or rebounding or getting a big steal or a block, she makes big plays every time on the floor.”
On Her Scoring 5,000 points:
“The most important thing about that is that I’m probably the first one to do that without winning a championship. The most important thing to me is keeping focused and trying to win a championship.”
Points in the paint:
Fever 24, Liberty 34
Fever 9, Liberty 6
Fever 6, Liberty 14
Points off turnovers:
Fever 25, Liberty 21
Fever 59, Liberty 42
Fever 23, Liberty 29
| New York
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Tamika Catchings tied a career high with 32 points, surpassing 5,000 for her career, and the Indiana Fever beat the New York Liberty 82-71 on Saturday night.
Catchings became just the sixth player to reach 5,000 points when she made a jumper from near the free throw line late in the first quarter. Catchings also set a franchise record by making 17 free throws. She already became the league's career leader in steals earlier this season.
Tangela Smith added 10 points for the Fever (17-7), who have won seven of their past eight games. All but one of the wins have been by double digits.
Cappie Pondexter scored 30 points and Essence Carson added 16 for New York (13-11), which has lost three of four.
New York committed 23 turnovers that led to 25 points for Indiana.
Indiana, which leads the league with 11 home wins, outscored New York 25-12 from the free throw line.
Indiana led 38-32 at halftime, then started the second half strong. A steal and layup by Catchings gave Indiana a 45-34 lead and forced New York to call timeout just 80 seconds into the third quarter.
The timeout didn't slow Indiana's momentum. The Fever scored the next seven points, including a 3-pointer by Katie Douglas. The Fever led 64-47 at the end of the third quarter.
New York tried to rally late. A layup by Carson cut Indiana's lead to 71-59 with just under 5 minutes to play, but New York couldn't trim its deficit to single digits.
Postgame Notes: Tonight's win is the Fever's 77th with Lin Dunn as head coach, one short of the franchise's all-time record set by Brian Winters.
With her seventh point tonight, Tamika Catchings became the sixth player in WNBA history to have scored 5,000 points in her WNBA career. She is the first player in league history with 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career.
With a game-high 32 points, Catchings tied her career-high.
Catchings's 32 points included a franchise record 17 free throws made on a franchise record 19 attempts.
Catchings had no rebounds tonight for just the second time in her career. She also went without a rebound vs. Minnesota, 6/7/09.
The Fever forced New York into 223 turnovers, the most for any Indiana opponent in 2011. That is the Liberty's first game with 20+ turnovers this season.
Cappie Pondexter's eight turnovers are the most for any single player against the Fever this season.
The Fever's magic number to clinch a spot in the 2011 Eastern Conference playoff is now just four. The team's magic number to clinch the regular season Eastern Conference title is now just nine.
With tonight's win, the Fever is 5-0 in 2011 in games played on Saturday.
With a season-high 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Cappie Pondexter is the first Liberty player to lead her team in points, rebounds and assists in the same game this season. Her eight boards were one short of her season-best.
Including its 82 points tonight the Fever has averaged 83.0 ppg in the last five games.
Tangela Smith's three 3-pt FG tonight are her most since having four in the season opener vs. Chicago, 6/4. Since going nine straight games with no more than nine points, Smith has scored 10+ points in six of her last 13 games.
Tamika Catchings added three steals tonight, tying her most of the last 10 games. Catchings entered tonight's game fourth in the WNBA with an average of 2.04 spg.
Having shot 2-2 from the line tonight, Erin Phillips has made 22 of her last 23 FT and leads the league in FT accuracy with a mark of 92.3 percent (36-39).