Catchings scores 25, Fever top slumping Sky 82-64

 

Associated Press

The message on the board in the Indiana locker room was "Finish Strong," something the Fever have struggled to do.

But in a matchup with the slumping Chicago Sky, the Fever found their game and surged to a win.

Tamika Catchings scored 25 points, and Briann January added 14 as the Fever sent the Sky to their sixth straight loss, 82-64 on Thursday night.

Indiana outscored Chicago 29-16 in the fourth quarter.

"We have been talking about it," Catchings said. "We were determined to not to lose."

Catchings scored 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Fever (11-12).

Indiana built a 53-36 lead late in the third quarter after first half runs of 17-2 and 9-2. But, Chicago (8-14) stormed back with an 11-0 spurt to close the period and get within 53-48.

"I made some subs, and my bench came in with energy, a little bit of enthusiasm," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said.

Indiana answered with an 11-0 run to open the final period, stretching its lead to 80-56 with 1:37 to play when January rolled in a fast-break layup.

January returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game. Her bucket gave the Fever a 24-point lead, their biggest of the season.

"Our bench came in and gave us some great minutes," January said. "It gave (the starters) time to catch our wind and rest up."

Allie Quigley had 17 points to lead Chicago, which has dropped 13 of 16. Sylvia Fowels had 15 points — all in the first half — and 11 rebounds.

"Sylvia dominated the first half," Catchings said. "In the second half we all came together and was collectively going to help (Erlana Larkins) out and not put her one-on-one with her."

The Sky were again without starters Courtney Vandersloot and Elena Delle Donne and fell to 1-6 without them.

The Fever trailed by four with 21.5 seconds left in the first period, but Krystal Thomas hit a jumper, and Layshia Clarendon made a buzzer-beating reverse layup to tie it 21-21.

Clarendon, who finished with four points, then rolled in another layup nearly two minutes into the second quarter to give the Fever a lead they didn't relinquish.

"I thought as a staff we did a better job keeping our starters under 30 (minutes)," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "That was our goal. I thought that we were less fatigued at the end of the game."

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