Indiana Falls to Atlanta After Difficult 2nd Quarter

By Tom Rietmann | July 12, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- In the Indiana Fever locker room, it's known as “crawling out of the pit.” In this case, however, that pit proved too deep for the Fever.

A hurtful second quarter threw Indiana into a 21-point halftime hole, and even a much-improved second half couldn't rescue a home-team victory. The Atlanta Dream used slashing offense and some surprising 3-point shooting Saturday night to topple the Fever, 93-74, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“They (the Dream) just took it up a notch and used their speed and quickness attacking us,” Fever Coach Lin Dunn said about a second quarter that saw her team get outscored by a 32-13 count.

Through the first 4 ½ minutes of the second, Atlanta was 7-of-13 from the field and Indiana was 0-of-3. The Dream started the quarter with an 18-3 run.

For the entire period, the visitors forced six turnovers leading to 10 points and also connected on 4-of-6 3-pointers. Atlanta, the second-worst 3-point team in the WNBA, went on to total 10-of-18 from the arc.

“I just thought we looked a step slow,” Dunn said. “I thought they were going at 10 and we were going at about a 6.7. They're awfully quick, they're awfully athletic, they're really good.”

Atlanta is leading the Eastern Conference with a 14-5 record; Indiana is second at 10-11. The Dream won the season series against Indiana, 3-2. Oddly, the visiting team won in each of the five games.

Saturday night, the Fever did its best to extricate itself from that pit in the second half. Going to a zone defense against Atlanta helped. Also pushing Indiana's effort was star Tamika Catchings, who found her range after being held scoreless in the first half.

Catchings scored 10 straight points for her team at one point in the third quarter, helping to pull Indiana within 10 at 66-56. She wound up with a team-leading 14 points.

However, Atlanta's superior size proved difficult to handle all night. The Dream totaled 38 points in the paint to the Fever's 22. The visitors had 19 second-chance points to Indiana's seven.

The final rebounding numbers (Atlanta 37, Indiana 34) were closer than those of the first half when the Dream grabbed 23, including 11 on the offensive glass, and the Fever had 14.

“It's tough, but the biggest thing you have to do is just push them back,” Catchings said about boxing out Atlanta, the top rebounding club in the league. “We did eventually get a couple over-the-back calls, but we didn't start off the game with that same intensity of making sure.

“They came in and did a really good job of just attacking us and just being as active as they could be.”

Tiffany Hayes led Atlanta with 21 points. Erika DeSouza had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Angel McCoughtry and Jasmine Thomas each contributed 11 points.

Indiana's Briann January scored 13 before leaving the game with a right knee injury with 3:08 remaining in the third quarter. No update on January's condition was available afterward.

Fever center Erlana Larkins put up her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Next Home Game: It's Adopt A Pet Night on Tuesday, July 15th and the Indiana Fever host the Los Angeles Sparks at 8:00 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tickets start at $12! Good seats still remain -- reserve your seats today! Find Tickets »