|STAR OF THE GAME
Catchings tied her own franchise record for points scored in a half with 22. She shot 15 of 17 from the foul stripe and 6 of 13 from the floor. She also added rebounds, 5 assists and two steals in 31 minutes of play.
Streimikyte scored 10 points and grabbed five key offensive rebounds in 21 minutes. Her late putback with 1:00 remaining helped seal the victory.
On the game:
“We were much better defensively in both halves tonight. We felt like if we could hold [Diana] Taurasi and [Anna] DeForge under forty, we would have a good night. Offensively in the first half, it was one pass and a shot. In the second half, we were more patient. We settled down offensively in the second half. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. Overall, it was a good team win.”
On Tamika Catchings:
“She finally found her shot in the second half. She stayed under control. We got the ball to her late in the game and she made her free throws.”
On the Fever’s improvements:
“In the second half, we slowed down and started making passes, forcing them to play defense. We were able to find the open player and hit shots.”
On improvements for the next game:
“We need to improve defensively. We want to be a defensive team. We play good defense in spurts, but need to be more consistent. We need to continue to focus on becoming a better defensive team. And on offense, we need to focus on slowing down and finding the open player.”
Points in the paint:
Mercury 32, Fever 22
Mercury 4, Fever 3
Fever 15, Mercury 14
Points off turnovers:
Fever 18, Mercury 6
Fever 63, Mercury 52
Mercury 24, Fever 20
Box Score |
||Fever 83, Mercury 76
May 24, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
INDIANAPOLIS— Tamika Catchings’ game-high points (28), rebounds (9) and assists (5) led the Indiana Fever to an 83-76 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Leading 69-68 with just 1:54 in the game, Catchings and Kelly Miller combined to go 9-for-12 from the charity stripe in the final seconds of the game to keep things in Indiana’s favor. Catchings finished the night with a 15-for-17 clip from the free throw line, which each set Fever records, while Miller went 5-for 6.
The biggest play, though, may have come from Lithuanian forward Jurgita Streimikyte whose rebound tip-in following a pair of missed free throws by Tully Bevilaqua, staked Indiana (2-0) to a three-point advantage, 71-68. For the second straight game, Streimikyte came off the Fever bench to score 10 points.
Catchings’ and Miller’s second-half free throws helped the Fever to 23 second-half free throws overall – only the third time in franchise history that Indiana has made at least 23 free throws in a single half. The Fever scored 50 points in the second half to mark just the fourth time in franchise history scoring 50 or more in a period.
The narrow finish was not indicative of Indiana’s lead throughout the contest, however. Indiana took a 21-19 lead at the 8:37 mark in the first half after a lay up from Natalie Williams and never trailed. Williams was clutch in the first 20 minutes of play, scoring six of her 12 points. The Fever, who led 33-30 at the half, went up by as many as nine on three different occasions.
The Fever took advantage of 15 Phoenix turnovers, compared to just 10 for Indiana. Indiana scored 18 points off of those turnovers, compared to just six by the Mercury (0-2).
Catchings notched 22 of her 28 points in the second half, which matched her own franchise record for points in a half.
Williams went 6-for-8 from the field, finishing with 12 points on the night. Kelly Schumacher also finished in double figures, with 10 points and four rebounds.
“We were much better defensively in both halves tonight,” Head Fever Coach Brian Winters said. “We felt like if we could hold [Diana] Taurasi and [Anna] DeForge under forty, we would have a good night. Offensively in the first half, it was one pass and a shot. In the second half we were more patient. Overall, it was a good team win.”
Taurasi finished with 24 points and five assists. Plenette Pierson scored 15 points for the Mercury, 12 in the second half. DeForge added 14 points and seven boards for the Mercury who fell to Indiana for the third time in two weeks, counting two preseason games.
The Fever are back in action on Thursday, May 26 when they travel to New York to take on the Liberty in their first regular-season road game of the year.
With tonight's win, the Fever is 2-0 in a season for just the second time in its history. The Fever was 2-0 to start the 2002 regular season. Indiana has never been 3-0 in a regular season.
The Fever has now won five of its last six regular season games against Phoenix and has won four in a row vs. the Mercury at Conseco Fieldhouse.
With a mark of 5-3 against the Mercury all-time, Phoenix is one of two Western Conference teams against which the has an advantage in the all-time series.
Tamika Catchings' 22 points in the second half tied a franchise record that she set in August, 2002, against the Orlando Miracle.
Indiana's 50 points in the second half is the fourth 50-point half in team history. That is one point off the Fever's most points in a half at Conseco Fieldhouse. Indiana scored 51 points in a half at the Fieldhouse vs. Detroit, 6/9/04. 50 points ties the most ever scored by the Fever in a second half at the Fieldhouse.
For the game, the Fever scored 83 points, four short of its most ever in a non-overtime game.
Since the beginning of the 2002 season, the Fever is 31-7 when scoring 70 or more points, including tonight's win/
Catchings' 15 free throws made and 17 free attempts are both franchise single-game records.
Indiana scored 13 points off the Mercury's eight turnovers in the second half and scored a total of 18 points off Phoenix's 15 turnovers in the game. Conversely, the Mercury scored just six points on the Fever's season-low 10 turnovers.
Jurgita Streimikyte's five offensive rebounds tonight tied her WNBA career-high.
After shooting 14-40 FG in the first half (.350), Indiana shot 13-22 FG (.591) in the second half.
Indiana's 27 free throw attempts in the second half tied the second most in a half in franchise history. The Fever's 23 free throws made in the second half also tied the second most in a half in franchise history.