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Dancing Fever: Playoff-bound Indiana beats down Sun

Indiana struggled early on in the season, but Stephanie White stayed the course, and now the Fever are in the playoffs. The first-year head coach has done a remarkable job.

Chris Poss

Things were off to a slow start in Indianapolis with a scoreless game until Tamika Catchings scored off of a jump shot 2:20 into the contest. By the end of the first quarter, Indiana was 7-21 shooting, but it was still enough to have a double-digit lead going into the second quarter.

Once The Fever (18-12) was able to break away from the Sun (13-18), they never looked back widening the gap to 26 points by halftime.

"When we move the ball offensively, we look really good," said Catchings, who nearly outscored the entire Connecticut team in the first half. She posted 13 with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Natasha Howard added to the 81-51 blowout, scoring double digits for the second time this season with 10 points. Marissa Coleman and Layshia Clarendon put up eight apiece, and Shenise Johnson snagged three rebounds and scored five for Indiana.

The Fever squad showed why they lead the league in 3-point percentage shooting 40% from behind the arc, and with a perfect free throw game, Indiana continued to dominate offensively.

Even more impressive than their offense was the Fever's defense that held the Sun to single digits in both the first and second quarter. They took away second chances from Connecticut with 37 defensive rebounds and only allowed 22 points in the paint.

Briann January missed her second consecutive game with a knee injury, but even with January out, the odds were in Indiana's favor before either team stepped foot on the court.

The Fever claimed the first three wins in this series with the Sun, and in their most recent contest in Indianapolis, Indiana cruised to an easy 83-70 victory over Connecticut. The Fever also had the home court advantage where they held a 16-14 record against the Sun before the night's game, so playing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse made Indiana the favorite.

Connecticut gave Indiana the opportunity to break their 3-game losing streak (team's longest streak this season), but what the Fever was actually playing for was a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs (team's 11th consecutive playoff run).

Catchings commented, "Now that we're in the playoffs, [I always tell my team] don't focus on the positioning. I think what we need to do is focus on every single game where we can get better."

Connecticut desperately needed a win tonight to keep their postseason hopes alive, but even with center Kelsey Bone posting 17 and grabbing four rebounds, the Sun eliminated their chance at the playoffs with the loss for their third straight year. As a whole, the team shot only 33% from the field and 67% at the line.

Indiana travels to Minneapolis to take on the number one seed in the Western Conference, the Lynx, with forward Maya Moore coming off of an impressive 28-point game against the Mercury. Connecticut makes their way to San Antonio to face the Stars; both games are set to tip-off on September 4.