Seattle, WA -- The Seattle Storm's game against the Indiana Fever was like sitting on a seesaw for the Fever, who took an early lead, then lost it, and then regained it in the end. Finally, they got away in the fourth, winning 93-82, as both teams continue to try and solidify themselves a spot post-season.
Fever head coach Stephanie White said, "Well, it wasn't pretty. I was proud of our resilience and really fighting through some things to be able to come away with a win."
Despite not scoring a single field goal in the first couple of minutes, Indiana took an early lead on free throws, scoring all six of their points from the charity line.
The Fever continued to get the ball inside the paint, causing the Storm to pick up fouls that sent their opponent to the free throw line, where they continued to extend their lead to nine. After falling behind significantly, Seattle decided to take a time out that served them well, coming back from the quick break with confidence, going on a quick 4-0 run.
With Storm guard Jewell Lloyd, saddled with foul trouble, this allowed forward Kamu Tokashiki to step up. Tokashiki scored four points in a blink of an eye, while forward Alysha Clark, hit a three-pointer that brought the game within five, ending the quarter 25-18, as the Fever managed to stay ahead.
The Storm took their late-first quarter energy into the second quarter, beginning with a spectacular defensive play, which forced a shot clock violation for Indiana on the first possession.
A defensive breakdown allowed the Storm to get within three points of the Fever, chopping down a nine-point deficit. Seattle forward Breanna Stewart, hit a huge three-point shot that tied the score at 27-27, as the Storm went on a 9-0 run of their own.
"Seattle is a good, young team. They're never out of it and their confidence is always high so we had to make sure we were doing what we're supposed to do on our end," said Fever's Shenise Johnson. "We tried to make sure we locked in on our defensive schemes because we were missing rotations on Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd and letting them get offensive rebounds."
A strong, And-one drive by forward Crystal Langhorne, gave the Storm their first lead of the night, changing the score to 29-30. Seattle went on a 19-4 run with three minutes left to play in the first half, capitalizing on the back-to-back turnovers by Indiana and gaining their biggest lead of the night by seven.
Stewart continued to show up big for the Storm, scoring 18 points in the first half, as the Storm led the game into the second half, 50-44.
Although the Storm came into the second half with a six-point lead, the Fever managed to bring that lead down to three within the first six minutes of the third quarter.
As Indiana began to play at a different speed than before, a shot by Erica Wheeler, eventually managed to tie the game up at 53-53. A jump shot by Tiffany Mitchell, then gave the Fever their first lead since early in the second quarter.
"We tried to take it up a notch in the second half and we got up one notch, not much more than that. But at the same time, we found ways and that's what it's about - our growth," said White.
Indiana got ahead seven, but Seattle came back at them mostly in part to free throws, coming within three. As the game went on, Indiana broke away again, but Seattle quickly chased them, and a last second three-pointer by Seattle's Stewart, changed the score to 69-66. Indiana would remain slightly ahead of the Storm.
The Fever then took off in the last quarter of the game, extending their lead to 10. The score stayed stagnate for a little less than two minutes, until the Storm took a much-needed timeout.
Eventually, guard Sue Bird, managed to hit a field goal for the Storm, and Stewart also added a few huge points to their side of the scoreboard, bringing a little excitement to their team, as they struggled throughout the fourth quarter.
"We ran out of gas," said Storm head coach Jenny Boucek. "We had four games in six nights in four cities, just came back from the East coast, and it's a tough schedule right now. On the other hand, Indiana is starting to look like the Championship team that they are, that made it to the finals last year."
Indiana continued to consistently hit open shots, especially Shenise Johnson, which extended their lead to 13 points, and they continued to lead for the rest of the game, defeating the Storm 93-82.
"I really liked our energy, especially in the second half. We didn't really have a good second quarter, but we came out after halftime and really executed offensively and defensively - moving the ball, knocking down shots and our posts were battling down low," said Fever's Catchings.
The top players of the night for the Fever were Shenise Johnson with 18 points, Tamika Catchings with 15 points, Lynetta Kizer and Devereaux Peters both added 12 points.
Stewart had another big game, putting up 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Seattle. Clark would add 11 points, while Loyd and Tokashiki would both attribute 10 points each.
The Fever are now 9-11 overall, coming in at fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Storm drop to 7-13.