Wednesday night, Tamika Catchings obtained her 94th career double-double, as the Indiana Fever got their fifth straight win, with a narrow victory at home against the Tulsa Shock.
The Tulsa Shock are no strangers to adversity, struggling with injuries and drama both on and off the court. However, this Tulsa team has still somewhat managed to keep it together and compete at a high level on the court.
Indiana came out hot in the first quarter, as guard Layshia Clarendon lead the pack scoring first for the Fever. Indiana kept up the tempo going on an 8-0 run to put them up 10-2 forcing Tulsa to call a timeout and regroup.
Coming out of the huddle, Tulsa guard Karima Christmas scored immediately with a layup, getting the three-point play. Still, the Shock had no answer for the Fever's defense which created more scoring opportunities at the other end, and put them on top of the Shock 30-22 going into the second quarter.
"I think the best stat would be defense... I think we're all capable of scoring, assists. I love to play in the open court, and that is what we got to do tonight," Clarendon expressed. "We got to run, push, come off of screens, get other people shots and threes in transition."
Fever guard Jeanette Pohlen scored first in the second quarter, with the assist from teammate Shavonte Zellous, who followed up with a 14-foot jumper. Indiana was now pulling away fast.
Although Tulsa guard Riquna Williams scored 14 of her 31 points for the night in the second quarter it was not enough. The Shock continued to miss easy shots, and their lack of rebounding allowed for too many second chances for Indiana.
"We kind of dug a hole for ourselves and kept the door open for them," said Williams.
At the end of the quarter, it was Zellous versus Williams. Zellous made a 16-foot field goal with 42 seconds left, followed by a perfect 3-3 from the free throw line. Williams - on the other hand - finished the quarter with three straight three-point shots sending Tulsa into the half only down 45-52.
Both teams came out with little energy to start the second half. Neither the Shock or the Fever were making shots, and fouls made it a stop and go game or "free throw fest", as Tulsa head coach Fred Williams called it.
He was right. There were a combined 22 fouls in the third quarter alone, resulting in 13 trips to the free throw line, and Indiana outscoring Tulsa 18-15, to finish the quarter with their lead still intact at 70-60.
The fourth quarter is where the Shock would finally catch up.
Tulsa's Odyssey Sims made a driving layup that would set the tone for the quarter. The Shock went on a 3-0 run, got more involved in the paint, and closed in on the Fever's lead.
Indiana has been known to blow big leads, and this was no different. The team that was once up by 15 points, was now only up by three with a little over two minutes left in the game, and Zellous - who led Indiana with 16 points - fouled out.
But, Catchings, who finished the night with 11 points and 11 rebounds, kept Tulsa at bay. Her rebounding at both ends and strong presence at the free throw line was something Tulsa had no response for.
Even with the Fever literally falling apart at the end and being outscored 20-13 in the fourth quarter it, was not quite enough for the Shock to get the win.
"I thought our team hung in there," said Williams. "Indiana made some key plays at the end and we didn't put the shots down like we needed to."
Indiana tries to extend their win streak to six on the road Friday against Washington.