Indianapolis, Indiana — Emotions ran high in Sunday's game between the Indiana Fever and the New York Liberty. Two weeks before this meeting, the Liberty destroyed the Fever with a 32-point beatdown in Madison Square Garden — Indiana's worst loss of the season.
With revenge on their minds, Indiana set a fast-paced tempo early in the first half. The Fever found its success moving the ball around the arc. Indiana went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter, creating a three-point lead over New York.
Although, in the first minute of the game, Tiffany Mitchell swiftly worked her way through the lane for an easy layup and to put the Fever on the board first. However, Mitchell's overall performance was uncharacteristic. Mitchell missed two straight layups off of Liberty turnovers in the second quarter. Mitchell was held off to just nine points the entire game.
During the first half, New York had 12 turnovers, as opposed to Indiana's five. The Liberty lacked the ability to produce anything offensively.
Indiana led by as many as nine in the first half of the game and held a 42-37 advantage heading into the locker rooms. However, the momentum shifted in the third quarter. The Fever fell into foul trouble early and gave up five turnovers in just under five minutes. New York continued to keep the ball alive and pulling down offensive rebounds.
Veteran Tina Charles, was being double-teamed by Indiana's defense and still found ways to score, adding to her game-high 26 points. Swin Cash scored her first three of the season to give the Liberty a 49-46 edge, and New York didn't stop there. Shavonte Zellous stole the ball and went coast-to-coast, capping off a 15-0 run by New York.
A Fever airball in the final seconds of the quarter, forced head coach Stephanie White to throw her jacket off. The Fever were stone cold, only scoring four points in the entire third quarter — which matches a franchise-low for least points a single quarter.
Indiana Tamika Catchings, said she was not pleased with her team's performance today, especially in the third quarter.
"I just felt like as a team we didn't do the things that we know we're capable of doing," said Catchings, who scored a team-high 23 points. "I think it's the struggle of just trying to figure out our offensive flow."
Heading into the final quarter of regulation, New York was ahead, 53-46.
The Fever opened up the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run, tying the game at 55 and forcing a Liberty timeout.
Zellous ran over Briann January, trying to turn the corner off of a screen and strongly disagreed with the charge call. Zellous' animation and arguing with the refs received two technicals and a game ejection. She ended the game with eight points, three rebounds, one steal, one assist and one block. January added 15 points, two rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Fever.
Erlana Larkins grabbed her 1,000th career rebound and recorded her third double-double of the season with 10 points, 15 rebounds.
The Fever continued to outscore the Liberty, as Catchings sank a jumper with 40 seconds left in regulation; Indiana held on to a four-point lead.
But Sugar Rodgers hit a major three before the shot clock ran out, bringing the deficit to just one point. Rodgers then sank two free to tie the game up with under 16 seconds to play. Catchings tried to score a game-winning basket, but the ball bounced out, and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, Mitchell redeemed herself; she stole the ball from Charles before scoring a breakaway layup. Both team's exchanged points, but New York proved to be too much for Indiana.
Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer, said he believed his team's ability to get stops in overtime is what made the difference.
"We executed on offense, made a couple good easy buckets for ourselves, and we got the rebounds on our end, which was great," said coach Laimbeer.
The Liberty outscored the Fever 11-8 in overtime, leading to its 78-75 win.
New York leads the four-game regular season series 2-0 and now holds an 8-4 overall record. The Liberty will look for its fifth-straight win when they take on the Atlanta Dream in Georgia on June 22 at 2 p.m. ET.
This is Indiana's third straight home loss. The Fever are now 5-8 on the season. Indiana will begin a three-game road trip on June 22 against the Washington Mystics. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET.