New York – The Indiana Fever staved off the New York Liberty in an 82-70 win at Madison Square Garden on Thursday to mark the fifth Fever victory in the last six games. New York regained a brief lead in the third quarter before Marissa Coleman shot Indiana back in control with all 14 of her points in the final 11 minutes of action.
“I am so pleased to see Marissa [Coleman] have success today,” Fever head coach Stephanie White said. “She has been so selfless while fighting through her own shooting troubles. She has fought through a really tough time and I’m just happy for her to find her shot today.”
Indiana was outscored in the second and third quarter before holding New York to just 10 fourth-quarter points. The Fever committed just eight turnovers compared to 17 for the Liberty.
“I was really proud with our energy at both ends of the floor,” White said. “We kept attacking on offense and our ball movement was quick enough that we were able to catch [New York] out of rotation at times. That’s what happens when you make the extra pass, but really, it starts on the defensive end for us.”
Lynetta Kizer led the way with a career-high 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting in her sixth-straight double-figure scoring game. Her 10 field goals were the most by a Fever player in the past two seasons.
Coleman’s season-high 14 included 4-for-8 from downtown. Erlana Larkins added 10 points and six rebounds while Shenise Johnson chipped in 10 points and seven assists. Tamika Catchings tallied eight points and a season-high eight rebounds while swiping a game-high three steals.
Tina Charles was a one-woman band for New York with 25 points and 13 boards. Only Kiah Stokes and Sugar Rodgers–10 points apiece–reached double figures for New York.
A slow shooting start for Indiana didn’t take long to correct. Trailing 13-8 midway through the first quarter, the Fever launched an 18-2 run during a five-minute spell, highlighted by a pair of Shenise Johnson threes. Indiana outscored New York 18-4 in the final 5:27 of the quarter and held a 26-17 advantage after one period.
New York clawed back to a four-point game before an 8-0 Indiana run, including seven from Kizer. She scored 11 in the period and 15 of her 21 on 7-for-9 shooting by halftime. Indiana led 45-38 at the break.
The Fever went error-free in the game’s first 16 minutes and change. The first Fever turnover happened with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Indiana had just two turnovers at halftime compared to eight for New York.
The Liberty regained the lead, 56-55, late in the third quarter before back-to-back threes from Tiffany Mitchell and Coleman gave the Fever a 61-58 edge heading to the fourth.
Coleman would knock down her next three attempts early in the fourth quarter as she extended the Indiana lead to 13, helping the Fever run away from New York down the stretch.
Indiana shot 49.3 percent from the floor and avenged a 32-point loss in their last trip to Madison Square Garden on June 3.
Indiana hits the Olympic break with a .500 record of 12-12 while dropping New York to 18-8. After beating L.A. on Tuesday, Indiana has beaten two of the WNBA’s top three teams in less than 72 hours. Both Catchings (USA) and Natalie Achonwa (Canada) will be in Brazil for Olympic action before the Fever return to WNBA action on August 27.