Catchings leads Fever past Silver Stars, 82-78
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Tamika Catchings had 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Indiana Fever to an 82-78 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday night.
Katie Douglas added 18 points, Briann January had 12 and Shavonte Zellous 11 for the Fever (18-9), who moved 1 1/2 games behind first-place Connecticut in the Eastern Conference. Indiana handed San Antonio its second straight home loss after winning its previous nine at the AT&T Center.
"We're excited to a steal a win," Douglas said. "San Antonio is a great team and they play great on their home court, so I feel like we came in a stole one. We just feel fortunate to get out of here with a win."
Becky Hammon had 15 points to lead San Antonio (17-10). Shameka Christon, Sophia Young and Jia Perkins each had 13 points.
The Silver Stars led throughout much of the game, but were outscored 22-13 in the final 6 minutes.
The Fever made all 15 of their free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to rally from a five-point deficit. The Silver Stars took only three free throws in the quarter, with Perkins missing the second of three after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.
Indiana had only taken six free throws through three quarters - making all but one - before forcing the action in the fourth.
Catchings scored eight points in the fourth, going 2 for 3 from the field and 3 for 3 on free throws.
"When we got them in early foul trouble and were in the bonus, the plan was attack and don't settle," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "I thought Catchings did a super job of putting her head down and just attacking the rim right down the middle."
Indiana held a 12-7 rebounding advantage in the fourth, but San Antonio dominated early.
Offensive rebounding enabled the Silver Stars to maintain their lead in the opening minutes. Jayne Appel scored off an offensive board for a 61-58 lead and Young followed her own miss for a 65-60 lead with 6:11 remaining.
Douglas made two straight 3-pointers in the final quarter after missing her first three attempts of the game. Her first 3 cut the deficit to 65-63, but Hammon responded with an up-and-under layup after faking Catchings in the paint. Douglas' second 3 gave the Fever a 71-68 advantage - their first since they were up 11-8.
"I'm a shooter, I feel like every shot is going to go in," Douglas said. "The first three, I don't know, maybe I rushed them a little bit, but the second two definitely felt good. (January) did a good job finding me and I was able to knock them down and get the team over the hump."
Perkins hit a 3 to give the Stars a one-point lead, but Catchings hit a 3-pointer and Erlana Larkins made a pair of free throws for a 76-72 advantage.
Perkins' free throws pulled the Silver Stars within 78-76 with 57.7 seconds left, but Catchings and Larkins each made a pair of free throws to preserve the victory.
"It was two halves," San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. "The first half I felt offensively we scored well. Then in the second half there was a lot more defense involved. They're a good team. We were just a couple plays short."
There were five ties in the first 4 minutes of the game before the Silver Stars used their 3-point shooting to take command.
Catchings hit a 3 that gave the Fever their 11-8 lead with 6:46 left in the first, but Christon responded with her own 3 about 30 seconds later to tie the game. Christon then made two more 3s over the next 90 seconds to give San Antonio at 19-15 lead.
The Silver Stars made three free throws to take a 36-23 lead after Jeanette Pohlen was assessed a technical for arguing a foul on Christon. Official Denise Brooks told Dunn that Pohlen "waved her off" after she told the Indiana guard to stop arguing about the call.
San Antonio led by double digits throughout much of the second quarter, building its advantage to 14 points before Indiana rallied. The Fever closed the half on a 9-0 run, including a 3 by Zellous that pulled them to 42-35.
Douglas missed a 3 that would have tied the game in the final seconds of the third quarter. The Silver Stars took advantage of the miss, scoring on a fastbreak layup by Perkins with 0.7 seconds left for a 59-54 lead.
"I thought we started off the game really well," Young said. "Coach (Hughes) thought we did extremely well, and we did some stuff in the second quarter that took us away from what we were doing well."
Updated September 7, 2012