Fever Holds On To Defeat Monarchs, 61-60

STAR OF THE GAME
TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Catchings scored two back-to-back three-point baskets early in the game and never looked back. She was extremely active defensively and finished with four steals and five rebounds to supplement her game-high 18 points.
UNSUNG HERO
TAN WHITE
White scored a career-high 17 points, including 10 in the first half. White was frequently the finisher during fast-break opportunities and also recorded three steals and three rebounds.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the game:
“It was great to beat Sacramento. We knew they were great coming in. They have very quick front line players. We got a good performance from everyone. It was a very hard fought game. We made stops when we needed to. Yolanda Paige sat most of the game, but made a big free throw at the end.”

On Tully Bevilaqua's late-game injury:
"The doctor thinks it's just a sprain. He said the knee is strong and hopefully she won't miss too much time."

On Tan White:
“She usually plays fast and maybe a little too fast. Tonight, I felt like she played more under control. We could not have won without her.”

On Tamika Catchings:
“She hurt her leg in the Houston game and didn't practice for two days. We had to use her sparingly.”

TAMIKA CATCHINGS
On the key to victory tonight:
“Down the stretch, making sure we didn't foul. I thought we did a good job pressuring their wings. We knew the type of intensity they had on the defensive end. And we needed to bring our intensity. The way their team is designed, their post players are quick and long. Their guards provide good help defense. I thought we had good looks and needed to go inside-outside. Yolanda Paige stepped up big hitting the free throw down the stretch. It was not a rookie play."

On recovering from a double-overtime loss:
“It was a good team comeback. Last year it seemed after we lost we couldn't get back on the winning track."

TAN WHITE
On her new role coming off the bench:
“Sometimes it's difficult. But, I can see the flow of the game and come in and give a spark off the bench. As long as I help my teammates coming off the bench, that's what I'm here for."

On adjusting from college to professional basketball:
“I just pick up what I had done in college. I can show that when I get a chance to get out there. On defense, I am still learning the plays and adjustments. Tonight, I came in to pick up the flow in transition. I just tried to get the defense going."

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Monarchs 28, Fever 18
Fast-break points:
Fever 12, Monarchs 5
Second-chance points:
Monarchs 7, Fever 2
Points off turnovers:
Fever 27, Monarchs 17
Starters scoring:
Fever 39, Monarchs 33
Bench scoring:
Monarchs 28, Fever 21
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Fever 61, Monarchs 60

June 1, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)

INDIANAPOLIS — Rookie guard Yolanda Paige’s critical free throw with 52 seconds remaining in the game was enough for the Indiana Fever to hand the Sacramento Monarchs their first loss of the season, 61-60, in a close battle Wednesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Sacramento point guard Ticha Penicheiro had a top-of-the-key desperation shot glance off the rim as Indiana secured its fourth win in five games.

Paige was summoned from the Fever bench after guard Tully Bevilaqua was fouled hard underneath the basket on a breakaway lay-up, forcing her to leave the game with a sprained knee. Per WNBA rule, Sacramento coach John Whisenant chose Paige to shoot Bevilaqua’s free throws. She missed the front end of her two shots, but connected on the second to give Indiana (4-1) its third consecutive win at home, and fourth win in five games.

“It was great to beat Sacramento,” said Fever Head Coach Brian Winters. “We knew they were great coming in. It was a very hard-fought game. We made stops when we needed to. Yolanda Paige sat most of the game, but made a big free throw at the end.”

It was Page’s only point of the game. Indiana was led by Tamika Catchings’ 18 points, and a career-high 17 from its other rookie guard, Tan White.

After Paige’s free throw, the Monarchs (4-1) hurried the ball up the court, but forward Tamika Catchings stepped in the passing lane for a steal with 49 seconds remaining. Indiana had a chance to increase the lead, but Catchings’ shot fell short. Down by a point with seconds ticking away, DeMya Walker dribbled into pressure and was tied up by the Fever’s Natalie Williams to force a jump ball with 5.4 seconds to play.

The Monarchs controlled the tip, but harassed by Indiana’s pressure, Penicheiro’s final shot was off the mark.

For the game, Indiana’s quickness and defensive pressure forced the Monarchs into a season-high 24 turnovers, matching the second-most ever by a Fever opponent. Indiana scored 27 points off Sacramento turnovers, and contributed 16 steals for the third time in Indiana history.

In a game with 11 lead changes and 11 ties, Catchings brought the Fever within two, 60-58, on free throws with 2:08 to play. Walker tied the score at 60 on a jumper with 1:48 to play. White followed with a 3-point miss, but on the Monarch’s ensuing rebound and trip up the floor, a steal by Bevilaqua set up the game’s final drama. Bevilaqua was fouled by Penicheiro on a breakaway, and was sent to the locker room with the Indiana training staff while Whisenant plucked Paige from the Fever bench to attempt her first free throws of the season.

White was crucial down the stretch, including a clutch three-pointer at the 4:47 mark to put the Fever up three, 58-55. White, 6-of-12 from the floor, also had three steals and three rebounds. Catchings finished the night 6-of-15 overall, 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and added five rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Neither team led by more than six the entire way, and Indiana held a three-point margin at the break, 37-34. After Sacramento opened the game with a 5-0 lead, Indiana put together a 9-0 run, sparked by Catchings’ back-to-back threes. The Monarchs answered with a 9-0 run of their own.

The Monarchs were led by Walker, who had 12 points. Rookie point guard Kristin Haynie and forward Yolanda Griffith each pitched in 10 points. Griffith also collected a game-high nine rebounds.

Indiana travels to Seattle to face the defending WNBA champion Storm on Saturday. The Fever and Monarchs meet again on Tuesday, June 7, when Indiana closes its two-game West Coast road trip in Sacramento.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • The Fever has won four of its first five games for the first time in its history and is now three games above .500 (4-1) for the first time since it was 12-9 last season.
  • Indiana is the first team in the WNBA to win four games this season and the team is just percentage points behind the division-leading Detroit Shock, which is the lone remaining undefeated team (3-0).
  • Tan White's 17 points are her career-high and it is the second time she has scored in double figures this season.
  • Indiana's season-high 16 steals tied the second most steals in a single game in Fever history.
  • Sacramento's loss is its first of the season, leaving the Detroit Shock (3-0) as the only undefeated team in the WNBA.
  • Kelly Schumacher's three blocked shots tonight are the most by any Fever player this season.
  • Sacramento's 24 turnovers are the most by a Fever opponent this season and that figure tied the second most by a Fever opponent in the team's history.
  • With tonight's win, the Fever has won three straight home games against the Monarchs and has won four of the last six games vs. Sacramento, overall.
  • Indiana's 37 points in the first half represents the team's best first half of the season. Indiana's 24-point second half marks its lowest scoring half (first or second) of the season.
  • The Monarchs' 26 points in the second half represent the fewest points allowed in any half by the Fever defense this season.
  • Eight different Fever players had at least one assist tonight, but the Fever totaled a season-low 10 assists. Tamika Catchings was the only Indiana player with more than one and she led the team in assists for the third time in the last four games with three.
  • Sacramento rookie Kristin Haynie's bench-high 10 points tonight are the first points of her WNBA regular season career.
  • Haynie also had a career-high five steals tonight.