Indianapolis — The Los Angeles Sparks used a 19-point third quarter run to defeat the Indiana Fever 84-73 on a special night for the WNBA Saturday in Indianapolis. The frontcourt of Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike provided the Sparks with 39 points and 19 rebounds.
The Fever honored Tamika Catchings at halftime, retiring her No. 24 jersey in the rafters of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Former Fever coaches Linn Dunn and Stephanie White were in attendance, along with WNBA president Lisa Borders, to celebrate Catchings’ ceremony. The franchise leader in nearly every statistical category, Catchings is now the team’s director of player programs and development.
While it was a special night in Indianapolis, the top-ranked offense of Los Angeles gave the Fever just their second home loss of the season.
“We let the best offensive team in the league find comfort,” said Fever head coach Pokey Chatman. “Even though we were scoring the basketball, that’s a dangerous thing to do.”
Ogwumike led the Sparks with 21 points on an 80 percent shooting night. Parker filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, tallying her third double-double of the season. Chelsea Gray added 17 for Los Angeles.
“I would like to see Nneka not be able to go right and score eight of her 10 shots,” Chatman said. “We all guard similar actions. It comes down to knowing your personnel and locking in. We didn’t lock in.”
Candice Dupree recorded her seventh straight double-figure game of the season with 14 points for Indiana. Erica Wheeler was dialed in once again, scoring 12 points on only threes while shooting 4-for-7 from deep. It was Wheeler’s fifth double-figure game in the last six outings. Shenise Johnson added 13 for Indiana, as well.
Erlana Larkins also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, passing Ebony Hoffman for second place in franchise history with 1,120.
Dupree notched 10 of her 14 points in the first 6:36 of the first quarter, giving the Fever a 23-20 edge at quarter’s end. Indiana began the second quarter on a 5-0 run in the opening minute to take a 28-20 advantage, their largest lead of the game.
Los Angeles responded with a 13-3 scoring spree over the next three minutes to take their first lead of the game, 33-31, and never looked back. L.A. held control in the second quarter and carried a 46-40 lead into the half behind a first-half double-double from Parker.
Following the halftime ceremonies, L.A. sparked a third quarter takeover with a 19-0 run in the opening four minutes, pushing the lead up to 25.
“We didn’t come out and match their intensity,” said Dupree. “Our defense was pretty much nonexistent. We let our offense predicate our defense, and we weren’t making any shots.”
The Fever answered with a 12-0 run of their own to close the quarter, but L.A. was too much in the fourth. Indiana never recovered to within 10 following the 19-point stretch.
The Sparks shot 53 percent thanks a frontcourt that controlled the paint, 34-22, while also knocking down 8-of-17 3-point attempts. The Fever shot just 42 percent from the floor and less than 30 percent from deep.
Indiana falls to 6-7 on the season while the Sparks improve to 9-3 with their fifth straight win. Indiana will travel to Chicago on Wednesday.