Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings managed to make her 400th career game much more memorable, as she played a key role in her team's 92-84 win over the Connecticut Sun Tuesday at the Mohegan Sun.
Catchings, the WNBA's active leader in points scored, notched her third double-double of the season as she scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. On a nearly perfect shooting night, Catchings went 9-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from both the three-point and free throw line. It was a huge turnaround for Catchings, given that she was in a 5-of-28 shooting slump over her previous three games leading up to Tuesday.
The first quarter featured a fast-paced game from both teams. Crisp passing leading to easy looks had the Fever leading 27-26 at the end of one-quarter. Catchings scored seven points while shooting 3-for-3 from the field, but an early substitution for forward Lynnetta Kizer, who scored five quick points out of the post, helped the Fever stay on top of the Sun.
The fast pace continued in the second quarter with the Fever leading 49-44 going into halftime. Both teams shot 58 percent from the field, but the Fever proved to be more aggressive early, and it showed with seven trips to the free-throw line compared to just three attempts from the Sun.
The Fever (4-6) continued to feed Catchings in the second quarter, and she didn't disappoint, as she remained perfect from the field and scored five points -- Catchings finished the half with 12 points, five rebounds and two assists.
The Sun played well offensively in the first half, despite trailing 49-44 after two-quarters. As a team, the Sun shot 58 percent from the field in the first half as forward Kelsey Bone led the way with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. Guard Jasmine Thomas hit two big three-pointers to keep the Fever lead from getting out of hand. She finished the half with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
The back-and-forth game stopped in the third quarter as the Fever continued to enforce their will and increase their lead. With a 30-10 run to start the quarter, the Fever took a 74-51 lead with less than three minutes to go in the period. Through three-quarters, the Fever led 74-55 with a complete team effort on offense - nine different players scored at least four points.
The Sun (8-2) trimmed what was a 23-point deficit to just 11 points with stingy defense and good looks on the offensive end to start the fourth quarter. A 10-0 run by the Sun cut the Fever lead to 81-76, and brought life back into a crowd that had all but checked out of the game during the third quarter.
Bone was ejected after a Flagrant 2 foul with 1:05 left in the game. It was a massive blow to the Sun, which had just cut their deficit to 85-82 after an Alex Bentley three pointer. Bone led the Sun in scoring with 21 points on 9-of-15 from the field, while Bentley added 18 points and five assists.
With the loss, the Sun failed to match their best nine-game start to a season in franchise history. The franchise started 8-1 in 2008 and 2005, respectively.
Overall, the Fever shot 55.4 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from three-point range.