Fever falls short against Sun burst
|STAR OF THE GAME
Catchings led Indiana with 31 points shooting 10-for-15 from the field and 6-for-9 from behind the arc. She also went 5-for-5 from the line and grabbed 8 rebounds.
Douglas shot 47 percent from the field finishing with 23 points. She went 4-for-4 from the line and added four steals and three rebounds.
"I thought we did a good job on Tina Charles. We made it hard for her to score. But, their bench hurt us."
"We were flat in the third and regained our composure after Catchings went down. But, we weren’t able to extend it and they came up with bigger plays."
Points in the paint:
Fever 28, Sun 38
Fever 12, Sun 14
Fever 10, Sun 4
Points off turnovers:
Fever 27, Sun 20
Fever 67, Sun 56
Fever 14, Sun 33
Gameday Spotlight: Sun balance tops Fever duo
By Tom Rietmann | June 8, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- When Indiana's Tamika Catchings hit the floor following a third-quarter collision with teammate Tammy Sutton-Brown, a state of shock seemed to settle over the Fever.
“I think that shook us a little bit,” Fever Coach Lin Dunn said afterward.
Catchings would return to Friday night's game against the Connecticut Sun at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, albeit with a bandage on her lacerated lower lip. But the Sun staged an 8-0 run during the reigning league MVP's absence. That set the tone for a 24-7 Sun burst that catapulted the visiting team to an 89-81 victory.
Catchings, who received several stitches after the game, couldn't meet with the media to discuss her gutsy 31-point, eight-rebound performance. But teammate Katie Douglas talked about what Catchings means to the club.
“Tamika is playing at such a high level right now,” said Douglas, who scored 23 points. “Obviously, when she went down, everybody was kind of stunned. It's just hard to see a player of her caliber, our leader, go down like that and not know if she's going to come back. It kind of maybe rattled us a little mentally.”
No Indiana player other than Catchings and Douglas scored in double figures. The closest to them was guard Briann January with nine points. The Fever bench, which had been a strength this season, totaled 14 points, compared to the 33 produced by Connecticut's reserves.
“We need more balance,” Dunn said.
Dunn looked at the boxscore that showed her team holding Connecticut star Tina Charles to just 12 points.
“I thought we trapped, rotated and really made it hard for her to score,” Dunn said. “But I thought they really had some players that stepped up for them, in particular their bench. (Mistie Mims) came in and really hurt us. She was 6-for-6 from the field, and you don't expect that from somebody off the bench.”
Seven Sun players scored in double figures, led by Kara Lawson's 18 points. The Sun shot 47.1 percent from the field, compared to Indiana's 41.7. The visitors outrebounded the Fever 42-33, led by 14 from Charles.
Dunn mentioned the way the Fever started the third quarter in lethargic fashion. Connecticut outscored Indiana 26-13 in the quarter. Other moments of uneven play from Indiana led to the Sun building an 11-point lead at 74-63 with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter.
“Give Connecticut credit,” Douglas said. “They made some adjustments at halftime to (Indiana's first-half defensive changes). In the third quarter, we came out pretty flat, and they were able to crawl back in the game.”
Indiana briefly recaptured the lead at 79-78 when Catchings hit a 3-pointer with 3:12 left. But the Sun closed the game with an 11-2 run.
The Sun left town with a 5-1 record. Indiana dropped to 4-2 and must wait another week to play again -- next Friday at Washington.
“We want to play games,” Dunn said. “I think you get sharper when you're playing. These long waits are not good.”
There are problems to correct.
“I thought we played hard in spurts,” Dunn said, lamenting her team's inconsistency. “I'm not sure why that's happening.”
Postgame Notes:With tonight's loss, the Fever has lost two in a row for the first time since losing its last two of the 2011 campaign: at New York, 9/9, and vs. Atlanta, 9/11.
Connecticut’s win is its first on the Fever’s home floor since July 14, 2010, ending a two-game losing streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Overall, Connecticut has won three of the last four games in the series with the Fever—after Indiana won a franchise-high three straight against the Sun.
Tamika Catchings’s season-high 31 points tonight tied the most by any player in the WNBA in a non-overtime contest. She is the third player this season to have done so.
Katie Douglas added a season-high 23 points, giving Indiana two 20-point scorers in the same game for the second time in 2012, and the first time at home. Catchings and Douglas scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, at Chicago, 5/25.
Catchings’s six 3-pt FG tonight matched the Fever franchise record for a single game and it is the third time in her career that she has made six 3-pt FG in a game.
With 12 points and 14 rebounds, Tina Charles registered her fourth double-double of the season, and the 49th of her career. She is now ninth on the WNBA’s all-time career double-doubles list, one short of Margo Dydek, who is in 10th on the list.
Including 19 on nine turnovers in the first half, the Fever scored 27 points off 16 turnovers and allowed the Sun 20 points off 17 Indiana miscues. Indiana’s 27 points off turnovers is one shy of its most this season.
Briann January’s six assists tonight are the most by any Indiana player this season and the team’s total of 17 assists included three each from Jeanette Pohlen and Tammy Sutton-Brown. That tied Pohlen’s most assists this season and Sutton-Brown had more than one assist for the first time this season.
Though she came off the bench for the first time this season, Sutton-Brown snared a season-high eight rebounds in nearly 29 minutes. Her best rebounding effort coming into tonight had been two boards twice.
The WNBA’s all-time leader in steals, Tamika Catchings, had no thefts tonight.
The only Indiana player with more than one theft in the game was Katie Douglas with four, which gives her 591 in her career—fifth most all-time in WNBA history.
The bench had no player with more than four points and, as a unit, the reserves scored a season-low 14 points. In contrast, the Connecticut bench tallied 33 points—the most by any opposing bench against the Fever this season. No opposing bench had scored more than 18 points vs. the Fever this season prior to tonight.
Including its 13 tonight, Indiana has scored 25 points in the third quarter of the last two games combined.