STAR OF THE GAME
Katie Douglas
In 35 minutes, Douglas torched the Liberty for 21 points on seven of 15 shooting. She also grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists to help lead teh Fever.
UNSUNG HERO
Tamika Catchings
Catchings scored 17 points, ripped down eight rebounds, and had three assists.Catchings stepped up her play in the fourth quarter with a huge three pointer to help the Fever pull away.
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In general:
“Once again I want to thank the fans for being loud, wild and crazy. It really energized us. We did all the things we needed to do defensively. At the end of the day, our defense won the game. We set the tone early. We got to the free throw line. We kept Pondexter (Cappie) under control by having five different people guard her. There is more to being valuable than just scoring and Catchings (Tamika) does it all.”

Tamika Catchings
On the intensity of the game:
“It was a very physical game. I think we knew it was going to be based on the first two games. Tonight the difference between the last game and this game was our aggressiveness as a team.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 28, Liberty 32
Second-chance points:

Fever 11, Liberty 8
Fast-break points:

Fever 8 Liberty 8
Points off turnovers:

Fever 26, Liberty 8
Starters scoring:

Fever 60, Liberty 48
Bench scoring:

Fever 12, Liberty 14
Fever beats Liberty to advance to East finals

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
New York 1-2 17 19 12 14 62
at Indiana 2-1 17 23 14 18 72

By Tom Rietmann | Sept. 17, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Fever Coach Lin Dunn made it clear whom she was crediting for her team's series-clinching win on Monday night.

“I want to thank our fans,” Dunn said as she opened her post-game news conference following the Fever's 72-62 victory over the New York Liberty. “They were loud and wild and crazy. They really energized us. That's what it's all about.”

A Conseco Fieldhouse crowd of 7,368 provided the noisy backdrop as the Fever eliminated New York in the third game of the WNBA Eastern Conference semifinals and advanced to meet Atlanta in the conference finals. The best-of-three series against the Dream begins Thursday night at The Fieldhouse, where Indiana is now 5-0 in elimination games and 12-4 overall in the team's playoff history.

Monday night, the Fever won a fiercely contested and physical game against the Liberty by turning up the defensive pressure and forcing 20 turnovers that led to 26 points.

“We knew we had to take it up a notch,” said Dunn, who watched her team fall 87-72 on Saturday in Game 2 on the Liberty's court. “I thought tonight we were really disruptive. At the end of the day, that was really key for us.”

Also key was some timely scoring by Katie Douglas, who led the Fever with 21 points, and Tamika Catchings, who had 17 points with a game-high eight rebounds. An 11-0 run in the fourth quarter blew the game open for Indiana, with Douglas and Catchings combining for nine.

For Catchings, a leading candidate for MVP in the league, it was a nice comeback from Saturday's game, when she totaled just two points. But Catchings refused to go into a funk after Game 2. When the team returned to Indianapolis on Sunday, she went to the gym, worked on the types of shots she missed and watched some film. She made the necessary corrections.

Said Dunn about her star player's performance on Monday: “It was a classic Catchings' night.”

As for Douglas, she is having perhaps the best playoff series of her 10-year career, averaging 22 points a game. She added four rebounds and a pair of assists Monday night.

“I can say this: This is probably the most focused and locked in that I've been,” Douglas said. “I'm just in a good rhythm.”

Point guard Erin Phillips scored 12 points for Indiana and added five steals, three assists and three rebounds. Phillips also played a big role in holding Liberty star Cappie Pondexter to 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting. When Phillips wasn't guarding Pondexter, four other Fever players were rotating on her.

“Tonight, we really matched their physicality and played through the ups and downs,” Phillips said.

New York coach John Whisenant pointed to the free throw disparity as a major factor in the game. Indiana hit 21-of-25. The Liberty was 7-of-9.

Indiana is now 5-0 against the Liberty in playoff games at the fieldhouse. Every game has come with intense, tough play.

How tough was this one? With 39.1 seconds left in the first quarter, Catchings and Nicole Powell were both called for technical fouls after a battle in the lane. Nineteen seconds later, Catchings had the ball, took a jab step and pulled up for a 15-foot field goal as Powell fell backward on the fake. The crowd went bonkers.

“I knew I had to come out and be better defensively on Nicole,” Catchings said. “In the beginning, I had to be in her face and all over her. I think that kind of helped us from a defensive standpoint.

“This was a very physical game. The difference between last game and this game was our aggressiveness as a team.”

Postgame Notes:

  • With tonight's win the Fever advances to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth time in its history, doing so in each of the odd numbered years (2005, 2007, 2009 & 2011) since 2005.
  • With tonight's win, the Fever extends its postseason winning streak at home against the Liberty to five straight. The Liberty has never won a playoff game in Conseco Fieldhouse.
  • Tying the second most steals in a single game by a Fever player, Erin Phillips's five thefts in tonight's game are her most ever in a postseason-game.
  • As a team, the Fever had 11 steals, tying its second most ever in a playoff game. That is its most in a playoff game since recording a franchise record 18 a game against the Washington Mystics in the first round of the 2009 postseason.
  • Including reg. season and playoffs, Katie Douglas has scored 20+ points in a season-high four straight games. she has averaged 24.0 ppg in that span.
  • While Indiana committed just 14 turnovers tonight and allowed the Liberty just eight points from those errors, the Fever scored 26 points off New York's series-high 20 turnovers.
  • New York's 62 points tonight are the fewest allowed by the Fever in a playoff game since it held Connecticut to 59 points in the first round of the playoffs in 2007. Overall, it is the fifth lowest total by an Indiana opponent in a playoff game--four of which have been registered by the Liberty.
  • After blocking just three shots in the first two games of the playoff series with New York, the WNBA's third best shoot-blocking team, the Fever, had seven blocks tonight, including two each from Tangela Smith and Tammy Sutton-Brown.
  • Outscored in the paint, 32-28, the Fever has won its two games in the series with New York in which it was outscored in the paint. The Fever outscored the Liberty, 36-34, in its loss at Prudential Center Saturday.
  • The Fever's 10 assists tonight are its third fewest ever in a playoff game.