Indiana 74, New York 59 (F)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Fever didn't consider Thursday night's game against New York as being meaningless.
Despite being locked into the fourth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, Indiana jumped out to a big early lead and cruised to a 74-59 victory over the Liberty.
Tammy Sutton-Brown scored 16 points to lead the Fever (16-17), who will face top-seeded Detroit in the first round of the postseason next week. Indiana finishes the regular season at home against Phoenix on Sunday.
"This game was definitely important for us,'' Sutton-Brown said. "Going into the playoffs, momentum is key.''
The Fever jumped out to a 20-3 lead on Khadijah Whittington's jumper late in the first quarter.
"Our focus was like a playoff focus from the beginning,'' Indiana forward Tamika Catchings said. "Hopefully, we can play 40 minutes like that from here on out.''
Third-place New York (18-14) fell 2 1/2 games behind Detroit (21-12) and remained 1 1/2 games behind second-place Connecticut. The Liberty play at Chicago on Friday and host Detroit on Sunday.
"We have two more games to focus on,'' New York forward Shameka Christon said. "We need to finish out the regular season.''
Tan White had 13 points, Whittington scored 10 and Catchings added 10 points and eight rebounds for Indiana, which beat New York at home for the 11th straight time in the regular season. The Liberty haven't won at Indianapolis since July 19, 2002.
"There's not really a secret plan ... or anything like that. I think it's just being able to focus and play really well against them,'' Catchings said. "We match up really well with New York.''
Jessica Davenport finished with 12 points and Erlana Larkins scored nine for the Liberty, who played without Janel McCarville (back spasms) for the second straight game and Tiffany Jackson (stress fracture) for the seventh time in a row.
"We can't play catch-up, catch-up, catch-up,'' Liberty coach Pat Coyle said of Indiana's 17-point first-quarter lead.
New York managed to cut the deficit to 38-27 at the half, thanks in part to hitting 6-of-8 3-point attempts. However, Indiana pushed an 11-point third-quarter lead to 64-49 on White's 3-pointer with 6 minutes left in the game.
"We played with a lot more effort and energy all game long,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "We must have this going into the playoffs.''