#Fever15 Moments: 2007 Playoff Series with Connecticut

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The Dates: August 23-27, 2007

The 2007 first round playoff series between the Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun featured two of the most memorable WNBA playoff games in league history.

In 2005, the Fever swept New York in the first round of the playoffs to advance to their first conference finals in franchise history. But in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Sun won Game 1 in Indiana 63-58, then topped the Fever 77-67 in overtime in Game 2.

In 2007, the Fever finished with a better record than the Sun franchise (the team existed as the Orlando Miracle from 1999-2002) for the first time ever. But Connecticut still boasted a formidable squad, headlined by leading scorer and Indianapolis native Katie Douglas. In fact, despite finishing three games behind the Fever in the final standings, the Sun swept Indiana in their four-game regular season series. Second-seeded Indiana (21-13) and third-seeded Connecticut (18-13) prepared for a first round showdown.

PHOTOS: 2007 Playoff Series with Connecticut

In Game 1 in Connecticut, the Fever trailed by 12 points heading into the fourth quarter, but rallied back to force overtime behind the sharp shooting of Anna DeForge. DeForge scored Indiana's final 10 points of regulation, hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game with 1:19 remaining and then draining another triple with 20 seconds remaining to force overtime.

In the extra session, DeForge hit two more 3-pointers, including one with 10 seconds remaining to extend the game to double overtime. Connecticut led by as many five points in the second extra period, but the Fever rallied back again. Tamika Catchings hit two free throws with three seconds left to force the first triple overtime period in WNBA Playoffs history.

Tamika Whitmore scored seven points early in the third overtime to help Indiana take an 88-83 lead. But this time, it was Connecticut who fought back, holding the Fever scoreless over the final 2:44 to rally for a 93-88 victory.

DeForge finished with 31 points in the loss. Whitmore added 24 off the bench, while Catchings recorded a double-double with 14 points and 20 rebounds.

Nykesha Sales led Connecticut with 25 points, while Asjha Jones added 20.

The series then shifted back to Indianapolis for the series' final games. In Game 2, the Fever jumped out to a 19-point halftime lead and rode another strong performance from DeForge to beat the Sun for the first time all season, 78-59. DeForge scored a game-high 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

"My shot feels good, I am confident," DeForge said after the game. "My teammates have been good at getting me set up for good shots."

Catchings posted her second straight double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds), while Whitmore chipped in 12. Douglas (11 points) was the only Connecticut player to reach double figures.

Two days later, the two teams returned to the court at then-Conseco Fieldhouse for a decisive Game 3. In the series finale, the Sun surged out to a 22-point lead in the first half and led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter.

But the Fever fought back and actually took a three-point lead with 20 seconds left after a pair of Tamika Catchings free throws. Douglas missed a 3-pointer, but Connecticut got the loose ball, and Sales made a three to tie the game at 75 with seven seconds remaining.

In a wild sequence, Douglas fouled Catchings as she brought the ball upcourt, and Catchings made two free throws with 5.8 seconds left to give the Fever a 77-75 lead. Connecticut quickly moved the ball downcourt, and Douglas redeemed herself with a layup with 1.5 seconds left that forced overtime.

In the extra session, Catchings' 3-pointer with 31 seconds left gave the Fever the lead for good, as they held on for a 93-88 victory.

Catchings led the way with 30 points (hitting 16-of-17 free throws), 13 rebounds, and six assists. Whitmore added 24 points and DeForge finished with 18. Douglas led Connecticut with 27 points, including five 3-pointers.

With the win, the Fever advanced to the conference finals for the second time in franchise history. But doing so, wasn't easy, as the Fever had to make the biggest comeback in WNBA playoff history, erasing their 22-point first-half deficit and enduring their fourth overtime period in three games.

"I can't say enough about my players," Fever head coach Brian Winters told reporters after the comeback victory. "They dug down deep and had a lot of heart. People that saw this game on TV saw how good WNBA basketball can be."

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