Indiana routs East favorites in Game 1 of East Semis, 85-72

INDIANA FEVER AT CHICAGO SKY

WNBA | Allstate Arena

September 20, 2013

CHICAGO – Shavonte Zellous scored 20 points to lead five scorers in double figures and the Indiana Fever shot a a season-high 50.8 percent from the floor to upend the top-seeded Chicago Sky, 85-72, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Indiana, the No. 4 seed in the East, won at Allstate Arena for the third time this season and became the third-winningest playoff team in WNBA history (25 wins in 10 seasons).

From the start, the defending WNBA champions dismantled this year’s East favorite. Indiana scored a season-high in points and held the Sky beneath their 79-point average.

Zellous paced a balanced lineup that got a playoff career-high 16 points from Karima Christmas and another 16 from Briann January. Erlana Larkins had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, 2012 Finals MVP Tamika Catchings added 11 points.

Christmas pitched in nine rebounds and Catchings added six as the Fever outrebounded Chicago 32-21.

The Sky, playing the first playoff game in franchise history, got 20 points from WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne. Epiphanny Prince added 19 points and Sylvia Fowles added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

But it wasn’t enough for the Sky who finished 0-3 on its home floor to the Fever this year. Once the Fever opened a double-digit lead early in the second quarter, the gap never got closer.

The Fever, playing minus All-Star Katie Douglas (lower back) who returned to the club from injury just last week, shot 57 percent in the first half while racing to a 50-37 advantage at intermission. Overall, Indiana matched a franchise playoff record by shooting 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) from 3-point range and never slowed – extending their lead in every quarter until the fourth.

“Anytime we shoot 50 percent from the field, we have a great chance to win,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn.

“I am thrilled to come in here shorthanded and win this game. This is a great win for us because Chicago is a great team. We know they’ll give us their best shot on Sunday.”

Indiana led by as many as 19 points, 63-44, following a jumper from Catchings with 5:55 left in the third quarter. The Sky never got closer than 12 the rest of the way.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday at 3:00 p.m., where the Fever clinched last year’s championship over the Minnesota Lynx.