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Indiana scores 73-67 road win over New York

INDIANA FEVER AT NEW YORK LIBERTY

WNBA | Prudential Center

August 30, 2013

NEWARK, N.J. – Tamika Catchings scored 22 points and Shavonte Zellous added 21 Friday night to lead the Indiana Fever to a 73-67 win over the New York Liberty.

Clinging to a 66-65 lead in the final minutes, Zellous found Erlana Larkins for a layup and a 68-65 lead. The Liberty’s Katie Smith hit a baseline jumper to close the margin to one, but the Liberty never scored again.

Larkins hit the first of two free throw attempts with 2:14 to play and Zellous took Smith one-on-one for a driving layup with 27.5 seconds left to lift the Fever to a 4-point lead. After Leilani Mitchell missed on a deep 3-pointer in the final minutes, Larkins’ rebound led to Karima Christmas’ layin as time expired.

“I give a ton of credit to Shavonte,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn. “Just her grittiness, her toughness. That was a big play for us down the stretch. If she’s not the most improved player in the league, I don’t know who is.”

Rookie Kelsey Bone scored 13 points off the bench to pace New York, scoring six of the Liberty’s eight points during a 16-4 run to give the home team its only lead of the game, 54-52.

Catchings also added a game-high 10 rebounds for Indiana, recording the 87th double-double of her career.

“We knew it would be a game of highs and lows,” added Catchings. “We had to weather the storm, but once we got to the fourth, we really stepped up and responded when we needed to.”

In the midst of a four-game road swing, it was the Fever’s second win in three games and pulled Indiana (13-15) within a half-game of the Washington Mystics in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. New York (11-18) lost for the fourth time in five games.

“That was a real gritty, gut-check game,” added Fever coach Lin Dunn. “I thought we were able to disrupt Cappie [Pondexter]. I thought that was a key to the game. It was a big road win for us.”

Pondexter, who averages 17.7 points as the Liberty’s top scorer, was limited to 7 points by Indiana.

Catchings had eight points in the fourth quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers as the Fever scored the first 10 points of the period, opening a 62-54 advantage with 6:59 to play. Larkins, who also had two baskets during that run, scored seven of her nine points in the period.

In a game of runs, Indiana scored the game’s first 14 points but later saw its lead diminished when New York’s 16-4 run brought the Liberty within 31-30 late in the first half. Indiana led 38-33 at intermission.

Indiana continues its road stretch when it visits Atlanta and Chicago next week. The Fever hosts Connecticut on Saturday, Sept. 7 for Breast Health Awareness Night.