Sky Topped in Double Overtime

In a hard-fought, tightly contested game, the Sky lost to the Indiana Fever in double overtime, 75-70, in front of the season’s largest crowd at UIC Pavilion on Tuesday night. With the loss – and wins today by Washington and New York -- the Sky moved to last place in the Eastern Conference, trailing Washington by two games and New York by one game, with four games left to play.

The Fever went on a 12-0 run early in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead, but the Sky shot right back, ending the quarter on a 15-4 run of their own to take a 22-18 lead. Sky center Chasity Melvin got off to a hot start, scoring 10 early points.

The Sky extended their first-half lead to 10 points when Stacey Dales threaded the needle on a terrific bounce pass down the middle of the lane to Melvin for the lay-in. The Fever fired back with an 8-0 run of their own, capped off by back-to-back three-pointers by Tan White and Anna DeForge to get the score back to 30-28. At the half, the Sky led by two, 34-32.

Dales knocked down her second straight three-pointer with 5:44 to go in the third quarter to give the Sky a 46-38 lead. She scored 8 of her 10 points in the frame. Melvin put the Sky back up by 10 when she nailed a 6’ hook shot from the middle of the lane. Melvin finished the game with a season-high 26 points on 13-of-18 shooting and 10 rebounds, for her second straight double-double and her sixth of the year. At the end of three quarters, the Sky led by 6.

"With Kayte (Christensen) and Carla (Thomas) hurt, Chas has to play the whole time,” said Sky Head Coach Bo Overton. “She fought every second she was out there, and it shows in her stats."

Indiana shot out of a cannon at the start of the fourth quarter, going on an 8-0 run to take the lead at 57-55, after rookie Alison Bales grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back in for the bucket.

With 1:29 to go in regulation, Dominique Canty drove the lane and was fouled, making good on her lay-up. She knocked down her free-throw, leaving the score knotted up at 59-59. Canty scored 11 on the evening.

At the end of regulation, the Fever had the ball and an opportunity to win the ball game. Bales dumped the ball down into the post to Tamika Whitmore with just seconds left in the game. Whitmore’s lay-up rattled around the rim before falling into the hands of Candice Dupree to force overtime.

Dupree set a franchise record on the night with 20 rebounds, surpassing Melvin’s 15 rebounds in Washington earlier this season. Dupree struggled from the floor, finishing with just 4 points on 2-of-14 shooting.

The Sky took the ball out from underneath the basket with 36.2 seconds to go in the first overtime. Dales found a hard cutting Canty under the right side of the basket and Canty was fouled as she fired up a lay-up. She converted the three-point play with 34.9 seconds left to tie the game back up.

With just 21.2 seconds to go in overtime, the Sky appeared to have a chance to go down court and win the ball game, but Dupree’s inbounds pass was stolen by Tammy Sutton-Brown, who called time-out and gave Indiana a chance to win the game.

Tan White cut to the basket in the closing seconds of the first overtime, and her shot rimmed out as time expired, and the game moved onto double overtime.

Late in the second overtime, with the Sky trailing by a point, Dales came up with a huge steal but could not make good on her breakaway lay-up, as the ball went out of bounds with 1:12 to go in the game.

Tully Bevilaqua made good on one of her two free-throws with 15.6 seconds to go, giving the Fever a 3-point lead at 73-70.

Out of a time-out, Melvin received the inbounds pass and then handed the ball off to Jia Perkins, who launched up a three-point attempt that was no good.

Whitmore went back to the line and iced the game on a pair of free-throws.

“Our players fought real hard,” said Overton. “It was one of those days where a couple of lay-ups don't go in, a couple of looks don't go in. I'm just real proud of how we fought."

DeForge led the Fever with a team-high and season-high 16 points, and added a team-high and season-high 9 rebounds. Whitmore added 15 off the bench and Belivaqua scored a season-high 13 points.

Indiana All-Star Tamika Catchings missed her 8th consecutive game tonight; the Fever have a 3-6 record in her absence.

The Washington Mystics defeated the San Antonio Silver Stars earlier today, 77-73, moving two games up on the Sky for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Canty had this to say about the team’s chances of making the playoffs after the loss. "It’s possible. We just have to go out and work hard and stay focused. We just have to do the things that we do best and that will take care of itself."

The Sky will return to the court this Saturday at home, looking to end their four-game losing streak against the Connecticut Sun at 7pm CDT.

Click here to take a look at the WBNA Playoff picture.