20070606/HOUIND
Fever Dominate Comets, Cruise to Victory
By CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer

Indiana 84, Houston 59

INDIANAPOLIS, June 6 (AP) -- The Indiana Fever rebounded quickly from their first loss of the season. They did so at the Houston Comets' expense.

A night after losing in New York, Indiana routed Houston 84-59 on Wednesday.

An early 20-0 run sparked the Fever, and they never led by less than nine points the rest of the way.

"You just have to drop it, turn around, let it go and refocus,'' said Tammy Sutton-Brown, who led the Fever with 17 points. "That's what we wanted to do. That was one of our priorities -- to let last night go and move on.''

Indiana coach Brian Winters unleashed Tamika Catchings, and she was too much for the Comets. She tied the WNBA record with seven steals in the first half to help the Fever take a 44-27 lead at the break.

Catchings' five steals in the first quarter also tied a league record.

"She set the tone,'' Winters said. "We changed our defenses a little bit tonight and allowed her to freelance a little bit so she could position herself to get steals and be disruptive.''

Catchings finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven steals in 24 minutes. She sat out the fourth quarter because the Fever (5-1) had the game under control. Indiana led by as many as 27 points in the final period.

Michelle Snow led Houston (0-6) with 15 points, and Barbara Turner added 13. Forward Sheryl Swoopes sat out her second straight game because of inflammation in her lower back.

Houston's Tina Thompson, the league's No. 3 scorer, was shut out in the first half and finished with six points on 2-for-9 shooting.

"We tried to pressure her a lot when she was out on the floor,'' Winters said. "When she got in the post, we tried to come in and double her and make it hard on her.

Houston continued the worst start in team history. The Comets committed 24 turnovers and shot 39 percent from the field.

"Point blank, we didn't come out ready to play,'' Snow said. "We did not play a full 40 minutes of basketball. We just have to have the attitude that we can win against any team we play.''

Houston opened the second half on a 7-0 run to cut the Fever's lead to 44-34, but Indiana bumped the lead back up to 63-45 by the end of the period.

"I warned them at halftime,'' Winters said. "You get up, and you think the game's going to be easy. You've still got to work hard and do the things that got you the lead. We were a little bit sluggish coming out of the locker room, but then we weathered it and pushed the game away again.''

Turner said the comeback sapped the Comets' energy.

"Nothing good really came out of the loss,'' she said. "We didn't focus from the beginning. When we did make our run, it was hard to maintain our energy level.''

The loss left Houston searching for answers.

"We need to stop the bleeding,'' Houston coach Karleen Thompson said. "We're not going to give up until we get a win.''

Fever 84, Comets 59
Tamika Catchings had a WNBA record seven first-half steals against the Comets.