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Hoffman's FTs lift Fever past Liberty in OT
Posted Jun 26 2009 10:55PM
NEW YORK(AP) After missing every shot in the first half, Katie Douglas didn't get discouraged. She used her poise to stay calm and had a big second half for the Indiana Fever.
Douglas scored all of her 28 points after halftime, and Ebony Hoffman hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Fever to an 82-81 victory over the New York Liberty on Friday night.
"I couldn't make a shot,'' said Douglas, who was 0 for 9 from the field in the first two quarters. "Maybe in my younger years I would have gotten rattled, but I know its eventually going to go down. I just need to see the ball go through the net one time. I opened up the third quarter, it went through one time, and I was able to gain some confidence from that.''
Douglas, 11 for 18 after the break, got started early in the second half when she scored seven consecutive points on two jumpers and 3-pointer in a 1-minute span.
Tamika Catchings had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Hoffman finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Indiana (5-2), which rallied from a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter. The Fever beat New York for the 10th time in the last 12 meetings. Exactly one year earlier, the Liberty won 102-96 in triple-overtime at Madison Square Garden.
The Fever have won five straight for the second time in franchise history and can match the team mark set in July 2007 when they host the Liberty in the completion of a home-and-home series Saturday night.
Shameka Christon scored 20 points, Loree Moore had 15 and Janel McCarville 14 for New York (2-5), which had a five-point lead with 1:05 left in overtime.
"We can't be too down about it,'' Christon said. "This was a tough loss. Everybody came out and played as hard as they could play. We had some mistakes on our part that cost us the game, but ... we have to pick our heads up and go out and play tomorrow.''
Douglas made a jumper to get Indiana within a point with 28 seconds remaining in overtime. Ashley Battle's inbounds pass was stolen by the Fever's Tully Bevilaqua. Douglas missed a jumper with time winding down, but Hoffman got the ball and was fouled to set up her winning free throws.
Douglas got fired up after an altercation with Christon late in the third quarter. After she missed a 3-point shot, Douglas and Christon got tangled up and Douglas was knocked to the floor. Leilani Mitchell converted the fastbreak layup on the other end to give New York its biggest lead of the game, 50-33 with 2 1/2 minutes to go in the third.
However, when the teams came back downcourt, Douglas and Christon had to be separated. After officials reviewed what happened, Douglas was charged with an offensive foul and Christon was issued a technical.
"There's a lot of things that go on in a game,'' Douglas said. "I'm not a dirty player and she's not, either. Things in the heat of the moment. The refs did a good job cleaning it up and making the right call.''
Douglas converted the technical free throw, starting a 21-5 run that pulled Indiana within one. Douglas scored the Fever's last 13 points of the run, including three 3s - the last cutting the deficit to 55-54 with about 7 minutes left in the game.
Douglas hit her fifth 3 to tie the game at 59 with 4:50 left.
"Not a lot of things are going to get me too fired up,'' she said. "I was just disappointed in some of the things that happened in the first half and my performance, individually. I just knew I could do much better in the second half.''
Battle made five free throws in a 1:20 span late in the fourth quarter, the last giving New York a 68-63 lead with 27 seconds to go in regulation.
Douglas hit a jumper almost 3 seconds later to pull Indiana within three. After McCarville missed two free throws, Catchings made a tying 3 from the left corner with 14 seconds left.
"I didn't think we played as hard as we could play in the first half, so we might have had a little energy left in the second half,'' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "We kept saying 'get within 10, get within 12, get under 10, stay close, get to nine, get to eight.' And then when we got to five, it was like 'OK, here we go.'''