STAR OF THE GAME
Erlana Larkins
In what was just the second start of her career, the former training camp free agent responded with one of the greatest rebounding efforts in WNBA history. Larkins pulled down 20 rebounds to match Tamika Catchings' franchise playoff record which also is the second-best in WNBA Playoffs history. Larkins produced the first double-double of her career, regular season or otherwise, by adding a career-tying 16 points for the second straight game. Her nine offensive rebounds established a new Fever playoffs record and matched the WNBA playoffs mark set by Chasity Melvin in 2006..
UNSUNG HERO
Briann January
Engineering the Fever offensive attack with 16 points and a game-high five assists, January also took a charge and came up with a pair of steals.
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In General:
"I think one of the things that we did that actually affected the outcome of the game was the boards. When you can win the boards 46-25 you have a chance to win. I think we did a good job countering the matchups they made. At the end of the day I thought our effort, intensity and balance [was the difference]. Once again, we had four people in double figures. It was a really good gut check game for us.”

Katie Douglas
In General
“I think Tamika and I definitely realized that we can’t win it by ourselves and we need each person. I think as long as we stay balanced, we will be a hard team to beat. When we have to rely too much on me and Tamika it just makes things so much tougher when our teammates aren’t looking to be aggressive. As long as we have this kind of balance, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 40, Dream 30
Second-chance points:

Fever 14, Dream 8
Fast-break points:

Fever 19, Dream 6
Points off turnovers:

Fever 11, Dream 19
Starters scoring:

Fever 72, Dream 58
Bench scoring:

Fever 3, Dream 6
Fever Headed To Another Conference Finals

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Atlanta 1-2 17 22 12 13 64
at Indiana 2-1 25 14 15 21 75

By Tom Rietmann | October 2, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the last players to make the Indiana Fever roster in May has developed into one of the team's toughest and most reliable players in September and October.

Erlana Larkins, who wasn't part of a WNBA roster for two seasons before signing with Indiana in 2012, is known as “Larkins the lion” among her teammates. Tuesday night, she showed why, battling her way to 20 rebounds and 16 points as the Fever defeated visiting Atlanta, 75-64, and closed out the Dream in the third game of their best-of-three series in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Indiana advanced to the conference finals for the fifth time in eight seasons. The No. 2-seeded Fever will open a best-of-three series Friday night against top-seeded Connecticut at the Sun's arena.

Larkins' 20 rebounds tied Indiana's playoff record, set by Tamika Catchings in a triple-overtime loss at Connecticut in 2006. It also tied for second-most in league postseason history behind the 23 grabbed by Detroit's Cheryl Ford in 2007.

“Back in May, she showed glimpses of what she could do, and I think now she has just blossomed,” Fever guard Erin Phillips said about Larkins.

“People can score 30 points a game. But getting 20 rebounds, that's better than anything, I think. It's relentlessness. It's sacrificing your body, your energy, your effort to go for the rebounds and get extra possessions for the team.”

Fever Coach Lin Dunn moved Larkins into the starting lineup after a series-opening loss to Atlanta and the 6-foot-1 forward responded. She collected 16 points and seven rebounds in the second game at Atlanta. And Tuesday, she moved into the limelight.

Some might say Larkins is undersized for her position. That never concerned Dunn.

“She sure plays big, doesn't she?” the coach said. “It's almost like as the game goes along, she gets taller and taller.”

Larkins had the first double-double of her career by the second quarter.

“I'm not really shocked at myself,” Larkins said. “I think I'm shocking everybody else because at one point I was forgotten about. But Indiana gave me a chance to come here and contribute to their team.

“Relentless and tenacious,” Larkins said when asked to describe her style. “(Dunn) always preaches rebounding is about effort and hustle. You can't coach that.”

Katie Douglas scored 24 to lead Indiana. Her big game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse came two days after she struggled mightily in the Fever's Game 2 victory at Atlanta, getting just three points on 1-of-6 shooting.

In Game 3, Atlanta slightly altered its defense, yielding Douglas some open opportunities. She capitalized, hitting 9-of-19 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range.

“I'm a shooter. I'm a scorer,” Douglas said. “If they give me an open look, I'm going to take it. I felt good tonight. The ball was coming off my hands really well.

“It's saying 'thank you' to my teammates after Sunday, because I did not want to finish my season with that kind of performance. I definitely wanted to come out and put in a better effort tonight.”

Catchings and Briann January each contributed 16 points. January had seven points and an assist in the fourth quarter when the Fever applied the knockout punch. Catchings garnered four points and six rebounds in the quarter.

Using a 10-0 run, Indiana bolted from a six-point edge to a 16-point bulge at 75-59 with 1:07 remaining.

“They had a lot of runs in them,” Dunn said about Atlanta, “but we had the last run.”

A long 3-pointer by Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry tied the game at 39-all just before halftime. McCoughtry, the WNBA's leading scorer in the regular season, finished with 16 points. She hit only 1-of-9 shots in the second half and was whistled for a technical foul when she slapped the ball away from January during a stoppage in play.

Indiana's players vowed during halftime that they wouldn't be denied a victory. Catchings, who through much of the second half played with a bloody chin that required stitches, said it was an emotional locker room at the break.

“We came in here and said, 'Look, we're not going to let this go. We have 20 minutes to play Fever basketball.' I felt like we did a great job,” Catchings said.

FEVER TO HOLD PLAYOFFS RALLY
The Fever will be part of a playoffs rally for fans from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Nora Kroger at 1365 East 86th Street. A number of Fever players will be on hand from 5 to 6 p.m.

Postgame Notes:

  • With today’s win, the Fever advances to the Eastern Conference finals for the fifth time in the last eight years and will meet Connecticut in Game 1 at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday at 8:00 p.m.
  • Erlana Larkins’s career-high 20 rebounds matched the Fever franchise postseason record and represent just the third 20-rebound game in WNBA Playoffs history. Tamika Catchings had 20 rebounds in a triple overtime game in Connecticut in 2007 and Cheryl Ford had a record 23 boards vs. Connecticut in 2006.
  • Larkins’s nine offensive rebounds set the Fever franchise playoff record and matched the WNBA postseason record held by Chasity Melvin at Connecticut in 2006.
  • Indiana’s 46 rebounds tonight are its second most ever in a postseason game. The all-time Fever record is 52 in a triple overtime game at Connecticut, 8/23/07
  • As a team, the Fever had 16 offensive boards tonight, fifth most in franchise postseason history and two short of the team’s playoff record.
  • Larkins added a career-high tying 16 points for the second straight game, giving her the first double-double of her WNBA career (reg. season or playoffs).
  • Tamika Catchings added 11 boards and 16 points and Indiana had two players with double-doubles in the same game for just the fourth time in franchise postseason history.
  • Catchings' double-double was her 21st in 40 career postseason games.
  • Catchings' five free throws moved her into a tie with Lisa Leslie as the WNBA's all-time postseason leader for free throws (202).
  • Going back to the end of the regular season, Catchings has had four straight double-doubles, the longest streak in franchise history.
  • Katie Douglas scored 16 of her game-high 24 points in the first half, matching her scoring total of the first two games in the series combined.
  • Atlanta’s three free throws made and five attempts from the line are both Fever opponent records for a postseason game.
  • With today’s win the Fever is now 7-1 at home in elimination games.
  • Indiana’s 22 turnovers tonight are its most in all of 2012.
  • Atlanta’s 10 turnovers were the fewest by any Fever opponent in 2012 and they tied the second fewest by the opposition in a playoff game in Fever history.
  • Tying the second most in Fever postseason history, Tamika Catchings had a postseason career-high tying four blocked shots tonight.
  • As a team, Indiana had 10 blocked shots, its most ever in a playoff game and its most in any game in 2012.