Fever Continues Post-Olympics Surge
|STAR OF THE GAME
Douglas scored a game-high 18 points while hitting 7-of-11 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 3-pointers. She finished with four assists to move into 15th place on the WNBA career list for assists with 983.
Davenport rallied for another strong effort off the bench, scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and contributing five rebounds. She hit 6 of 7 free throws and helped Indiana outrebound its opponent for the fourth time in six games since the Olympic break.
"We won the boards again. I’m happy to come back home and get this win. We are getting continued help from our bench. We are definitely benefiting from the Olympic break.”
On her complete game
“I just try to be big in the paint. I got some good looks. I got into a rhythm. I felt good coming into this game. I also knew we just came off a West Coast trip and we might be a little sluggish. We fought through that and got the win.”
Points in the paint:
Fever 30, Mystics 26
Fever 11, Mystics 16
Fever 10, Mystics 6
Points off turnovers:
Fever 21, Mystics 12
Fever 52, Mystics 24
Fever 31, Mystics 44
By Tom Rietmann | August 28, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- The defense? Fitful and disconnected, especially in the first half as the Indiana Fever tried to shake off the effects of last week's tiring Western Conference trip.
But the Indiana team found ways to compensate Tuesday night in a satisfying 83-68 victory over the visiting Washington Mystics.
The Fever players buried 3-pointers, hitting 10-of-17. They found their stride defensively, holding Washington to 31 second-half points. And they spread the wealth around, putting five players in double-digit scoring, led by Katie Douglas with 18.
“We got back to Fever basketball after halftime, and that's when we started pulling away,” point guard Briann January said.
Indiana gave up 62.5 percent shooting in the first half but righted the ship with some halftime coaxing from Coach Lin Dunn. Washington hit only 38.9 percent in the final two quarters.
“I thought in the second half we came out with more energy, and we defended a lot better,” Dunn said.
Dunn also pointed out how her team outrebounded Washington 34-30 and how the Fever scored
30 points in the paint, helped considerably by reserve center Jessica Davenport's 16 points off the bench. With improved inside play recently, the Fever has a tough one-two punch with its WNBA-best 3-point shooting.
Tamika Catchings scored 17 points with five rebounds and five assists. Shavonte Zellous contributed 13 points and four assists on her 26th birthday. Erin Phillips scored 10.
Indiana is 5-1 since the Olympic Games break ended. While Catchings was away winning a gold medal with the U.S. Team, the rest of the Fever squad worked diligently at upgrading individual skills as well as team rebounding.
For example, Douglas worked on her 3-point stroke and has connected on 19-of-34 (55.9 percent) in the past six games. Douglas has made 56 3-pointers this year and is on pace for 83, which would break the franchise's single-season mark. Davenport took advantage of the break to drill on her low-post play and has scored 36 points in the past three games.
“It was just about us during the Olympic break,” Douglas said, “not having to focus on opponents and really focusing on us and trying to get better individually and collectively. I think we did a great job of having a lot of intensity and enthusiasm. I think everybody got a lot of rest but also a lot of (repetitions).”
Indiana has upped its season mark to 15-8 and is challenging Connecticut (18-6) for first place in the Eastern Conference. Among the Fever players, there is a definite belief in each other as they head into the WNBA's stretch run.
“The way we practiced during the Olympic break,” Phillips said, “it just gave us a lot of confidence and momentum.”
Catchings summed it up.
“I feel like a sense of urgency is there,” said the 2011 league MVP, whose speech to teammates following her return from the Olympics focused on realizing how strong they can be collectively. “If everybody on this team does her job, we can be a really good team and we can have a really big shot at winning the (WNBA) championship.”
Postgame Notes: With tonight’s win the Fever has won three straight, its longest streak since winning the first four games of the 2012 regular season.
Indiana has won three straight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, its longest home winning streak of the season.
On her 26th birthday, Shavonte Zellous recorded 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Her three 3-pt FG tonight tied her career-high set earlier this season.
With her four assists tonight Katie Douglas surpassed Nikki Teasley for 15th place on the WNBA’s all-time career assists list.
With her four 3-pt FG tonight, Katie Douglas has made 56 this season and is on a pace to hit 83 for the season, which would shatter the current single season team record of 76 held by Tamika Catchings (2002).
With four players having four or more assists, the Fever totaled 22 assists on its 30 field goals. That is one short of the Fever’s season-high in assists and it is the team’s seventh game with 20+ assists this season. Indiana has had 20 or more assists in four of the last six games.
Having held the Mystics to 26 points in the paint tonight, Indiana has limited the opposition to less than 30 points in the paint in each of the last three games—its longest such streak of the season.
Indiana’s 53.6 percent shooting from the floor is its second best mark of the season and the Fever has shot 50+ percent from the floor three times (3-0) this season.
Including two in a 10-0 first quarter run that gave Indiana the lead for good, the Fever made 10 3-pt FG tonight. That is the seventh time this season that the Fever has made 10 or more 3-pt FG.
The Fever outrebounded the Mystics, 29-23, and Washington’s total is the fewest by an Indiana opponent in 2012.
Accounting for half the Fever’s total of eight, Erlana Larkins had a career-high four steals—tying the most by any member of the Fever this season.
Jessica Davenport’s bench-high 16 points are her most since having a season-high 19 vs. Chicago, 6/16.
As a group, the bench totaled 31 points, its most in the last five games and its third highest total of the season. In the last three games, the bench has averaged 27.0 ppg.
Washington’s three free throws made and seven attempts from the foul line are both opponent season-lows. The three free throws made are one off a Fever opponent single-game record low.