Catchings' Late-Game Heroics Lift East To All-Star Victory

By Wheat Hotchkiss | July 19, 2014

PHOENIX WNBA All-Star 2014 was a thrilling showcase for some of the league's up-and-coming talent. But in the end, it was the veteran who had the last laugh.

In the game that marked her record-tying ninth All-Star selection, Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings came away with the two biggest plays in the East's thrilling 125-124 overtime win in Phoenix.

PHOTO GALLERY: Catchings and January at All-Star 2014 »

With the West clinging to a one-point lead, Minnesota's Maya Moore drove to the basket but missed a contested layup. Los Angeles' Nneka Ogwumike's putback attempt also missed, and Catchings hauled in the rebound.

"In the course of the moment, you've got two decisions: pass and go," Catchings said. "I remembered in the timeout Coach (Michael Cooper) had said, 'Whoever gets the rebound, we're going, we're just playing.'"

Go Catchings did, taking off down the left side of the court, coast-to-coast for the go-ahead layup with six seconds remaining.

But she wasn't done there.

Catchings, the WNBA's all-time leader in steals, proved her defensive prowess on the next possession, stripping the ball from a driving Skylar Diggins to seal the victory.

"That's vintage Catch right there," said Briann January, Catchings' Fever and East teammate. "I've seen that time and time again. That's why she's an All-Star. That's why she's been here nine years."

Catchings finished with the game's only double-double registering 14 points, 13 rebounds, and five steals in the victory. In her first All-Star appearance, January connected on 3-of-5 shots from 3-point range and finished with nine points and four assists in 16:53.

It was a remarkable showcase for the WNBA, featuring multiple dramatic comebacks and the first overtime period in All-Star history.

First, the West rallied from a nine-point deficit to force overtime, with Diggins scoring eight points (including the tying layup) in a 12-2 run over the final 2:50.

Then in overtime, the East fought back from seven points down in the final 1:15. Former Fever star Katie Douglas and Atlanta Dream rookie Shoni Schimmel hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the margin to one, setting the stage for Catchings' heroics.

"The highs and lows in the game, the runs, I think that's what the excitement was all about," Catchings said. "This is definitely one of the most exciting (All-Star) games we've had in the WNBA."

Three of the game's young stars eclipsed the previous All-Star game scoring record of 23 points, set last year by Candace Parker. Atlanta Dream rookie guard Schimmel took home MVP honors, hitting seven 3-pointers and finishing with 29 points and eight assists. Second-year guard Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock had 27 points and seven assists, while Minnesota's Maya Moore, currently in her fourth WNBA season, amassed 24 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.

But in the end, it was Catchings' star that shone the brightest in winning time.

See Tamika and Bri In Action: Don't miss your chance to see the Fever's All-Stars in action this season. Good seats are still available for each of the Fever's remaining home games! Find Tickets »