INDIANAPOLIS – After erasing a 17-point deficit and taking their only lead of the game (87-86) in the final minute, the Indiana Fever fell just short in their comeback attempt Sunday evening (Jun. 12) in a 90-88 loss to Seattle.
“I was proud of how we fought,” head coach Stephanie White said. “I was proud of how we competed down the stretch, but we’ve got to find a way to a way to start better.”
Tamika Catchings led all scorers with 27 points on 9-for-14 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Her 27 points were the most by a Fever player this season and her best outing since a 27-point effort a season ago. Her one three-pointer of the evening moved her into a tie with Nicole Powell (580) for eighth place all-time in WNBA history.
Briann January added 15 points on a 4-for-5 performance from three-point range in a season-high 31 minutes. Shenise Johnson tallied 13 points, four rebounds and two assists as well.
Seattle was led by Jewell Loyd’s 20 points while Crystal Langhorne and Sue Bird chipped in 17 and 16, respectively. Bird was 4-for-7 from 3-point range while grabbing six boards, but she committed seven turnovers in the contest. It was a pair of free throws from Loyd that finished Indiana in the end.
The Storm jumped out to an early 13-3 lead just 3:04 into the game. That lead was extended to 17 (29-12) by quarter’s end thanks to 10 first-quarter points from Sue Bird. Back-to-back threes from January and Catchings opened a second-quarter resurgence for Indiana. The Fever trimmed the lead as narrow as two points (38-36) before ending the half in a 42-36 deficit.
Indiana brought the difference to within two points again (48-46) before Seattle reeled off a 10-0 run in the middle of the third quarter. The double-digit lead (66-54) carried into the fourth before Catchings sparked another comeback attempt.
She opened the final stanza with a three-point play before scoring 15 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter.
“It felt like I needed to step up,’” Catchings said. “Tonight, I just wanted to go out there with more of an attack mentality and get myself going toward the basket.”
January added two threes in the final quarter, one from the top of the key to trim the lead to two (84-82) with just under a minute to play.
Following a pair of Seattle free throws from Crystal Langhorne, Johnson connected on a three from the corner to bring Indiana within one (86-85) before Tiffany Mitchell swiped a pass and finished a fast break for the first Indiana lead (87-86) with just 31 seconds left.
Loyd buried a jumper just eight seconds later to retake the lead for Seattle (88-87) before a loose ball foul sent Johnson to the line where she hit one-of-two to make it 88-all.
With just eight seconds to play, Loyd dribbled the length of the floor and drew a foul on Johnson with 2.4 seconds left in regulation. She knocked in both free throws to seal the win for Seattle, 90-88.
“Very frustrating,” Johnson said. “We just haven’t found that consistency yet. We’re battling against ourselves right now. We’ll try to take the positives and carry it over to our next game.”
The Fever fall to 4-6 on the season after their second consecutive loss to end a two-game home stand. The Storm improve to 4-6 while snapping a two-game skid.
Indiana resumes play Tuesday (Jun. 14) at Minnesota with tip-off scheduled for 8:00 p.m.