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Indiana Falls in OT at Connecticut

INDIANA FEVER AT CONNECTICUT SUN

WNBA | Mohegan Sun Arena

September 15, 2013

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Iziane Castro Marques hit a pair of free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime to push the Connecticut Sun past the Indiana Fever, 82-80, to close the WNBA regular season for both teams.

Indiana, playing for seeding in the upcoming WNBA Playoffs, lost for just the second time in its last five games.

In the overtime, the game remained tied at 77 before Castro-Marques’ 3-pointer lifted the Sun to an 80-77 advantage, but Katie Douglas knotted it again with a three of her own with just 40 seconds to play.

Douglas’ shot was reviewed by officials but confirmed her foot behind the arc.

In the final seconds, Mistie Bass missed a pair of shot attempts, but the Sun maintained possession and called a final timeout with 5.3 seconds remaining. Coming out of the timeout, Castro-Marques missed a short layup but after another offensive rebound, she was fouled by Douglas on the putback, setting up the winning free throws.

“I thought the difference was we didn’t hit our free throws,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn referring to Indiana’s eight misses on 24 attempts. “We missed some and they didn’t. It was a nip-and-tuck game – them with their Super 7 and us with our Super 7. Free throws mattered.”

Both teams played with just seven players.

“Looking ahead to the playoffs, nothing could have been better for this crew,” added Dunn, whose team will face either Chicago or Atlanta in an Eastern Conference semifinal series beginning next week. “Our backups got some very good time. Karima Christmas had a helluva game and [Layshia] Clarendon, our backup point guard, played 39 minutes in front of a big crowd and an OT atmosphere.”

Castro Marques led five Sun players in double figures, scoring 19. Bass had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Renee Montgomery also added 16 points. Kalana Greene scored 13 and Kelsey Griffin pitched in 10.

The Fever, playing without ordinary starters Tamika Catchings, Briann January and Shavonte Zellous, got career-high scoring from Christmas with 21 points. Douglas had 14 and Clarendon had 10. Erlana Larkins and Jeanette Pohlen each contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.

Christmas and rookie forward Jasmine Hassell, who scored a career-best nine points, combined to score the first six points of the fourth quarter to stake Indiana to its largest lead of the game at 54-48.

After Connecticut briefly regained the lead, Douglas answered for a 58-57 lead and Indiana never trailed again until Castro Marques’ free throws with 1.9 seconds left in the extra session.

Douglas hit a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left in regulation to break a tie at 69, but Griffin’s turnaround jumper forced overtime with just 0:00.4 on the clock.

The defending champion Fever begin the WNBA playoffs next week against the top-seeded Sky or No. 2-seed Dream, pending the outcome of Sunday’s later games. The Fever will conduct a Rally In The Alley presented by Indiana Members Credit Union, Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m., on Bankers Life Court on the north end of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.