STAR OF THE GAME
Tamika Catchings
Catchings finished the game with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds for her 19th career postseason double-double. She also added three assists and two steals in over 33 minutes of play.
UNSUNG HERO
Briann January
Despite missing the third quarter after getting the wind knocked out of her, January finshed the game with 10 points, including a key jumpshot to get the Fever within five points in the fourth quarter. She also added two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In General:
"I did think that we fought back and looked like the Indiana team I recognized in the fourth quarter. It took us three quarters to wake up. We need to regroup, bring our A game and start with an energy and intensity.”

Katie Douglas
In General
“We’ll be ready Sunday. We’re going to take 11 women, our coaches and staff. We need to go with more of a sense of urgency and start with more confidence."

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 32, Dream 44
Second-chance points:

Fever 9, Dream 12
Fast-break points:

Fever 12, Dream 13
Points off turnovers:

Fever 7, Dream 22
Starters scoring:

Fever 41, Dream 67
Bench scoring:

Fever 25, Dream 8
Fever's rally not enough against Dream

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Atlanta 1-0 25 16 18 16 75
at Indiana 0-1 15 17 14 20 66

By Tom Rietmann | September 28, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana's rousing comeback fell short. The Fever players excavated a hole that was too deep. A statistics sheet loaded with ruinous numbers ultimately did them in.

The Atlanta Dream dumped the Fever, 75-66, in Friday night's opening game of their best-of-three semifinal series in the WNBA Eastern Conference playoffs. Poor 3-point shooting (3-of-13) hurt the Fever. Yielding too many easy points in the paint (44) also impaired Indiana.

But the most damaging stat of all was rebounds.

“They hurt us so bad on the boards,” Fever Coach Lin Dunn said. “When you get beat on the boards 40-29 by a team like that, it's really going to be tough.”

And it likely won't get easier on Sunday.

Indiana is forced to move into survival mode as it heads to Atlanta for Game 2. The Fever club, seeded No. 2 in the conference, isn't concerned about what might be said around the league after its loss to the third-seeded Dream. Indiana is focused only on advancing the series to a third game in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

“We don't need people on our bandwagon,” said guard Katie Douglas, who led Indiana with 13 points. “We just need the 11 people in the locker room and the coaches. … We just need the 11 women to go (to Atlanta) with more of a sense of urgency, more confident.”

Atlanta led by double digits through much of the first three quarters and opened a 16-point bulge with 6:27 left in the game. That's when Briann January returned to the Indiana lineup after suffering an upper-body injury that floored her for several minutes late in the first half. No foul was called.

“I can only tell you what I thought happened to her,” Dunn said about January's injury. “We trapped Angel McCoughtry, and she slung her elbows right and left to get out of the trap and hit Bri in the chest with -- I don't know how to say it -- a knockout punch.”

But January's fourth-quarter reappearance seemed to inject life into the Fever. Indiana went on a 13-0 run, slicing a 67-51 deficit to three points at 67-64. January contributed four points in the push. Erin Phillips had five.

“Our intensity, our energy, our communication picked up,” Phillips said. “We hit a couple of big shots and it was a spark for us.”

Added Dunn about the final quarter: “We looked like the Fever team that I recognize.”

The rally ended, however, when Lindsey Harding connected on six straight points for Atlanta in the final 1:10. Harding led the Dream with 23 points. McCoughtry scored 16.

The 44 points in the paint surrendered by the Fever was an opponent season high.

“You have to anticipate a little better,” Dunn said about her team's defense, “and you have to do a better job of closing off the baseline.”

Indiana, which tied for the WNBA lead with a .400 regular-season mark from 3-point range, never looked comfortable on its way to a .231 number against Atlanta. Douglas went 1-of-5 on treys. Tamika Catchings was 0-of-2.

“Tamika and I, as soon as we caught the ball, we were seeing traffic,” Douglas said. “(Atlanta was) just making it very difficult for us to get any kind of clean looks.”

Atlanta, which has advanced to the league finals each of the past two years, won its opening game on the road for a fifth straight time in Eastern Conference playoff series. Indiana knows the Dream will be ready again on Sunday.

“It's gut check,” said Catchings, whose 10 points and 11 rebounds gave her a double-double for the 19th time in 38 postseason games.

Postgame Notes:

  • With today’s game, Katie Douglas has made an appearance in the postseason for the 10th consecutive year, setting the WNBA record. Prior to 2012, Douglas had shared the record of nine postseasons in a row with Ruth Riley.
  • Her 10 appearances in the postseason are tied with several players for third most in WNBA history.
  • With her 10 points and game-high 11 rebounds Tamika Catchings recorded her 19th double-double in 38 career playoff games.
  • Tonight’s crowd of 7,776 is the team’s largest in the Eastern Conference Semifinals since 2009 and its third largest ever in the Conference Semifinals
  • Atlanta’s 44 points in the paint are the most by a Fever opponent in 2012 and just the second time the opposition has scored 40+ points in the paint.
  • Atlanta’s 14 steals are one short of the Fever opponent playoff record set by the Dream in 2011.
  • The first team in the 2012 WNBA playoffs to register a road win, the Dream has opened its third straight postseason with a win on the road. The last two years, Atlanta reached the WNBA Finals.
  • Making her first appearance in the WNBA Playoffs since 2008, Erlana Larkins led the Fever bench with a postseason career-high 11 points on 4-5 FG and 3-4 FT. Her field goals made tied her career-high and her three free throws made are her most ever in the playoffs.
  • Larkins’s four offensive rebounds tied her regular season career-best, but were one below her postseason career-high set while playing for the New York Liberty.
  • With a team-high two, Larkins had multiple blocked shots in a playoff game for the first time in her career.
  • On her way to 10 points off the bench, Erin Phillips tied a postseason career-high with four field goals made.