Fowles reaches 2,000 career point plateau as Sky falter late
The Sky were so close to getting the monkey off their back.
After a valiant fourth quarter comeback where the Sky erased a 13-point deficit, the Fever held on for a dramatic 88-86 overtime victory on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Sylvia Fowles was tremendous as she finished with her 13th double-double in 15 games with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Fowles entered the contest with 1,999 career points as she became only the third Sky player in franchise history to record 2,000 points in her career.
With another double-digit scoring performance, Fowles streak now stands at 83 consecutive games with ten or more points. The record is 92 set in the late 1990s by WNBA great Cynthia Cooper.
Sky forward Swin Cash poured in 17 of her 18 points in the second half and overtime while Shay Murphy chipped in with a season-high 20 points off the bench. Willingham was the fourth Sky player in double figures as she contributed with ten points.
Turnovers hurt the Sky as they turned it over 27 times, tying their season high. The game was won at the free throw line however as Indiana went to the line 38 times, converting on 28 compared to the Sky’s 14-22 performance from the line.
Reigning MVP Tamika Catchings led a balanced Fever attack with 18 points as she was one of five players to reach double figures. Jessica Davenport (15), Shavonte Zellous (14), Katie Douglas (13) and Briann January (13) were the others in double figures.
The Sky sputtered out of the gates to begin the game as they were not able to get anything to fall. Indiana scored the first five points of the contest as Chicago turned the ball over six times in the quarter to trail 25-15 after one, thanks in large part to a perfect 10-10 shooting from the charity stripe for the Fever in the first.
Zellous had seven in the quarter while Willingham paced the Sky with six points as Chicago held Indiana to 35% from the field while shooting 38%.
The Sky struggles continued in the second quarter as they turned the ball another seven times to put their total at 13 at the half. Despite the hardships the Sky endured, the bench played magnificently as they kept Chicago in the game. Down 34-22 with 2:17 left in the second, the Sky would outscore the Fever 11-3 to head into the break down four, 37-33, as Murphy scorched Indiana with three buckets from beyond the arc, including a desperation three to beat the buzzer at the end of the half.
Chicago’s stingy defense continued to hold strong as the Fever were 10-33 from the field through the first two quarters, good for only 30%. Fowles headed into the break well on her way to posting another double-double as she had eight points and nine rebounds.
After struggling in her previous two games, Cash came to life to start the second half as she posted seven early points to keep the Sky within striking distance. Foul trouble and turnovers plagued Chicago as the Fever used a late third quarter surge to pull ahead 64-51 after three.
Fowles tried to do everything she could to bring the Sky back and propel them to victory by scoring four early points and setting up two easy layups for Cash with her stellar defense to cut the Fever lead to seven, 68-61, with 6:40 left in the game. After a steal by Courtney Vandersloot, the second year point guard from Gonzaga found a wide-open Willingham for a layup. Murphy would steal the ensuing inbound pass and lay it in to cut the lead to three, 68-65, with 6:09 left in the quarter. Murphy’s layup capped off a spectacular 12-0 Sky run.
After a Catchings layup, Murphy hit a huge three, her fourth of the game, to tie it up at 70 before Cash converted on two free throws to give them a 72-70 lead with just under four minutes to play.
Fowles scored her tenth point of the quarter with an easy lay up to give the Sky a 76-75 lead with 1:11 left. After Briann January split a pair of free throws, Chicago would not get a shot off to head in overtime.
The Sky outscored the Fever 25-12 in the fourth quarter as Indiana went ice cold and couldn’t seal the game.
Cash began the overtime with a jumper to put the Sky ahead 78-76 before an Indiana free throw and jumper would give them the 79-78 advantage. Cash responded with another field goal to move ahead with less than four minutes to play. After two Davenport layups, Murphy and January exchanged buckets to keep Indiana’s lead at three, 85-82 with 1:47 left. Fowles lay-in with 43 seconds left cut the Indiana lead to the slimmest of margins, 85-84.
After a January running layup, Indiana got bailed out after committing an ill-advised foul when Fowles missed a free throw to potentially tie the contest up at 87 with 20 seconds left. Douglas split a pair of free throws before Penicheiro committed turnover 27 for the Sky on the game as Indiana held on to prevail by two.
The Sky welcomes the red-hot San Antonio Silver Stars to town on Wednesday, July 11 as they look to head into the Olympic Break with some momentum. It’s Camp Day at Allstate Arena as the game is slated for an 11:30 AM tip. If you can’t attend the matinee game, you can catch it on WNBA LiveAccess by visiting www.chicagosky.net.