Indiana's Anna DeForge, center, will look to continue her torrid scoring in Game 3 against Katie Douglas and the Sun.
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
After the Sun's incredible triple-overtime victory last Thursday in Game 1, the Fever fought back with a 19-point series-tying win on Saturday, their first win over Connecticut in six tries this season. Now with Game 3 set for Monday night back in Indy, the Fever are feeling pretty good about their situation.
Their undisputed leader so far on the court has been All-Star Anna DeForge. Averaging just 8.7 points a game during the regular season, the wing has scored 31 and 26 points, respectively, in Games 1 and 2. Superstar teammate Tamika Catchings has also put in a yeoman's effort, returning from a 13-game injury hiatus to average 14.5 points and 16.5 rebounds in 37 minutes through the first two tilts.
But All-Star post Tammy Sutton-Brown has struggled for the Fever. Through two games, she is just 2-12 from the floor and is averaging 2.5 points. Tan White, who stepped into a starting role during Catchings's time away and is capable of putting up impressive scoring numbers, is averaging just 1.0 per game in reserve duty.
Battling through three extra periods in Game 1, the Sun looked tired in Game 2. Connecticut shot just 37.1 percent from the floor and 15 percent from 3-point range. Chief among their struggling players has been All-Star Katie Douglas, who missed several open shots during Game 1's overtime periods, had just 11 points in Game 2 and is 9-33 in the series. Point guard Lindsay Whalen was just 1-9 on Saturday.
But the Sun are capable of bouncing back. If All-Star Asjha Jones can finally get on track -- after just six points in Game 2 -- it would open up the perimeter for Douglas, Whalen and veteran Nykesha Sales, who followed up her 25 points in Game 1 with just five on Saturday. Margo Dydek, Kristen Rasmussen and Erika De Souza can also help out on the inside with rebounding and solid defense.
Game 3: Sacramento at San Antonio
9 p.m. ET on NBA TV
In much the same fashion as the above series, Sacramento scored a solid Game 1 victory in its home arena, while San Antonio rebounded impressively to knot it up at a game apiece with Saturday's blowout win in its home arena. And again, with Monday's series-deciding Game 3 set for the Alamo City, the Silver Stars feel they have a decided advantage, having won all three home games this season against the Monarchs.
Leading the way for San Antonio is veteran guard Becky Hammon, who is hoping to score a Conference Finals berth in her first season in the West. Her 20 points, 15 of which came in the first half, led the way for the Silver Stars, who really wanted to improve on their performance from Thursday.
"We wanted to come out, play hard and not get outhustled like we did in
Game 1,'' Hammon told the Associated Press. "We wanted to come out, be
aggressive and set the tone on our home court.''
"We know how they (Sacramento) feel; it's the same way we felt at Sacramento," Hammon continued. "Game 3 will be an all-out war."
Also stepping up with a big-time Game 2 performance was the speedy Marie Ferdinand-Harris, who posted a season-high 17 points off the bench. All-Star forward Sophia Young has faced a tough matchup down low all series long against Rebekkah Brunson, but she and Ruth Riley have stood up well against the Monarchs' stiff post defense.
Brunson has been big in the middle for Sacramento, averaging a team-high 17.5 ppg through two games. All-time great Yolanda Griffith has also been solid down low, but the Monarchs' troubles are coming from the outside. Typically a sharpshooter, Nicole Powell is hitting just .318 from the field, and went 1-9 for four points in Game 2. Reserve guard Kara Lawson has done her part, but she'll need to be more involved offensively for Sacramento to flourish.
But offense is not the Monarchs' trademark. "For us it starts and ends with our defense," coach Jenny Boucek told the AP. "We go as our defense goes and our defense was off." Improving on their 86 points allowed in Game 2 will be paramount. If the defensively sound backcourt duo of stopper Chelsea Newton and point guard Ticha Penicheiro can stay out of foul trouble, they will be key components of that plan.