Fever

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By KATE HEDLIN, STATS Writer

The Indiana Fever have remained competitive in the Eastern Conference despite the absence of last year's leading scorer, Tamika Catchings.

Catchings is set to finally return at the end of the weekend, but the Fever may not need her Friday when they visit the winless Atlanta Dream.

Indiana (4-3) announced Thursday that Catchings will be back on the court Sunday when the Fever host San Antonio. A five-time WNBA All-Star and the defensive player of the year in 2005 and '06, she has been sidelined since tearing her Achilles' tendon during last year's Eastern Conference finals against Detroit.

"We're thrilled that she'll be back with us on Sunday," coach Linda Dunn told the Fever's official Web site. "We have certainly missed her 100 percent effort, her leadership and her overall game."

Indiana, in third place in the East - three games behind conference leader Connecticut - could have used Catchings on Wednesday when it suffered a 64-53 loss to the Silver Stars in one of its worst offensive games of the season.

The Fever led at the end of the first quarter but scored just eight points in the second, when they shot 3-of-18 from the field. Indiana, which shot a season-low 31.7 percent overall, got a team-high 13 points from Katie Douglas and Tan White.

"They were making it pretty tough out there," Douglas said. "So we have to do a better job, as that second quarter was the ugliest basketball that I've ever seen. We couldn't do anything out there."

The Fever had won three of their previous four. Douglas, in her first season with Indiana after five years with Connecticut, leads Indiana with 20.0 points per game. She was 4-of-16 from the field Wednesday, however.

While the Fever won't have Catchings available Friday, she may not be missed against an expansion Atlanta team still trying for its first win.

The Dream (0-8) are coming off an 81-77 loss to New York on Wednesday. Betty Lennox scored 28 points while Ivory Latta and Tamera Young each had 13, but Atlanta blew a 12-point lead with 7:09 remaining to fall to 0-5 at home.

"I can truly say that coming into this game that everybody was confident," Latta said. "Everybody was enthused. It just flashed before our eyes, that turnaround in the last 5 minutes. I really can't explain it right now. I don't think the loss has hit me yet."

The Dream are allowing 85.6 points per game - second-most in the WNBA. They have the worst point differential, scoring just 71.6 points a game.

The Fever have the second-lowest scoring offense in the league, averaging 70.6 points, but the best scoring defense at 66.6.

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