Prince dominates but Sky drop contest

Epiphanny Prince dominated the Indiana Fever as she scored 22 points, on 9-19 shooting from the field, Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN.

Prince also added five rebounds, two steals and a block in what was her best game since returning from injury.

The Sky, however, dropped the contest as they lost 81-64 and sit at 9-16 with nine games left in the 2012 season.

The Fever were led by Briann January’s 19 points while Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings chipped in with 17 points each. Catchings also added ten rebounds to record her sixth double-double of the season.

Carolyn Swords and Le’coe Willingham were the other Sky players in double figures as they scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.

The Fever shot 45% from the field and were 18-19 from the charity stripe while holding the Sky to 41% shooting. Turnovers hurt the Sky as they committed 21 while only forcing nine Indiana turnovers.

Indiana swept the regular season series against Chicago as they won all five meetings. The Fever are now 24-5 all-time against the Sky and 14-1 at home. Chicago has lost six straight meetings to Indiana and 13 of the last 14.

The Sky started the game how they would have liked to as they raced out of the gates and scored the first six points of the game, highlighted by a nifty pass from Swin Cash to Sylvia Fowles who went up and under with the reverse layup, to take an early lead. The Sky went up by as much as ten in the first quarter and Indiana did not convert on their first field goal until the 4:20 mark of the first. The Fever struggled to start the game as they went 1-9 from the field to start before catching fire.

Trailing 18-8 with two and a half minutes left in the first, Karima Christmas hit two quick three-pointers to spark a 10-2 Fever run to end the first as the Sky lead 20-18. The Fever were held to 33% shooting in the first as January led all scorers with nine points. Willingham and Prince paced the Sky with seven and six points in the quarter, respectively.

The second quarter belonged to the Fever as they outscored the Sky 27-11 to take a 45-31 lead into the half. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Douglas matched the Sky with 11 points of her own in the frame, including a spectacular three-pointer she banked in to beat the buzzer at the end of the second quarter. Prince knocked down a three-pointer with 4:24 left to give the Sky a 29-28 lead but Chicago went ice cold for the rest of the quarter.

As they did at the end of the first, Indiana went on another run to end the second quarter, this time a 17-2 run. The Fever were 12-18, 67%, in the quarter as they took a fourteen point lead into the break. January led all scorers with 13 points while Prince led the Sky with 11 points.

The Sky’s cold shooting continued in the third as they were 38% from the field through three quarters. Being outscored 18-16, the Sky trailed 63-47 heading into the final period. Foul trouble and turnovers plagued the Sky through the first three quarters as Indiana’s transition offense was too much for Chicago to handle.

Prince had 18 points through three quarters while the Fever’s Douglas paced her team with 17 points on 6-10 shooting.

Never giving up, the Sky made it interesting in the fourth as Swords scored six early points to keep Chicago within striking distance. After a traditional three-point play by reigning MVP Catchings, January beat the shot clock with a running jumper to extend the Fever lead to 17 with 5:35 left in the game. The Fever would lead by as much as 19 in the quarter as they coasted to an easy victory.

The Sky are right back at it on Sunday night when they welcome the red-hot Los Angeles Sparks to town. The Illinois-native Candace Parker, who hasn’t played against the Sky in over two years due to injuries, returns home and is slated to play. It’s Military Night at the Allstate Arena as the Sky say thanks to all the men and women in uniform. Tip off is slated for 5 PM CDT. You can catch all the action on Comcast CN 100 or on WNBA LiveAccess by visiting www.chicagosky.net.