Sky Rally To Top Fever
Jia Perkins was simply on fire for the Sky in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of her team-high 17 points in the quarter, and was the leader of a 12-0 run to get back in the game. With 42.6 seconds remaining in the game, the Sky trailed by 2 points and needed a big basket. Perkins got the ball on a pass from Canty, in the corner in front of the Sky bench, and connected on the night’s biggest shot, nailing a three-pointer to put the Sky up by a point.
"She's been incredible,” said Sky head Coach Bo Overton. “She's been doing that since the 39 point game in Sacramento. The match-up was good tonight and we have her the go-to."
Out of a time-out, Indiana executed Head Coach Brian Winters’ play to perfection as they found Sheri Sam all alone for a wide open three. Sam could not connect and Perkins was then fouled with 24.8 seconds to go. Perkins missed both her free-throws, but got her own rebound and was fouled. She went back to the line and made good on one of two free-throws to put the Sky up 67-65 with just over 20 seconds to go in the game.
The Fever’s Tan White drove the middle of the lane and kicked the ball out to a wide open Tamika Whitmore was unable to connect on a great look at the basket. Canty grabbed the rebound and was fouled; she made one of her two free throws to put the Sky up 68-65 for good.
The loss for Indiana marked the first time all season that they have lost two consecutive games. The Fever was without All-Star forward Tamika Catchings, who suffered a left foot injury in Friday’s loss to the Detroit Shock. Catchings is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
Whitmore scored a season high 26 points for the Fever, leading all scorers on 11-of-16 shooting. She was 7-for-7 in the first half.
"I was really worried because I know how good Whitmore is,” said Overton. “For her to be able to get turned loose now, she's a really great player. She's a beast down low. It was kind of like choosing which poison you want: a dose of Catchings or a dose of Whitmore? They're both great players."
Sky All-Star forward Candice Dupree finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds; she scored 8 of her points in the first quarter. She had 1 point in the second and didn’t score again until 8 minutes into the fourth. Dominique Canty scored 12 points to go along with her team-high 5 assists, a return to her May/June form. Rookie guard Armintie Price and center Chasity Melvin added 11 points. Melvin reached her 8,000th career minute with a minute left in the first half. Only 15 other WNBA players have reached the mark.
“We showed enormous character out there tonight,” said Melvin. “Indiana played extremely well and they made tough shots. We didn’t play all that well. We missed free throws, turned the ball over, but we never gave up."
The Sky’s win ends a five-game losing streak and put the team (9-13) in a tie with Washington for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, a game and half behind New York. The Fever fell to 16-6, one game behind first-place Detroit in the East.
"Winning helps our confidence. They're a great team,” said Overton. “We played at their place on Wednesday and I told our guys, you can play. It's a matter of defending people and rebounding. We're hard to guard, too, and I thought it was that way tonight."
The team will take to the court again tomorrow night at UIC Pavilion when they host the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Silver Stars at 5pm.