The Indiana Fever slipped to the Connecticut Sun 89-87 in an important game for playoff seeding after leading by double digits in the third quarter. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for Indiana while Connecticut ended a three-game losing streak.
Indiana shot 52.5 percent but committed 21 turnovers that led to 27 points for the Sun.
“You’re just not going to win a lot of games when you turn the ball over 21 times and those lead to 27 points,” Fever Head Coach Stephanie White said. “I thought we shot well enough to win, but we didn’t defend well and we didn’t handle pressure.”
Shenise Johnson led Indiana with a career-high 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting. It was Johnson’s ninth double figure game in her last 11 contests. Tamika Catchings netted 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals while Marissa Coleman notched 13 points and eight boards.
Jasmine Thomas led the Sun with 21 points, six assists and five boards. Five Connecticut players reached double figures.
The Fever jumped out to an early advantage before Connecticut took its first lead at 16-15 later in the first quarter. With a one-point difference, both squads traded leads 16 times in the first half.
Johnson knocked down two free throws early in the second period to break Catchings’ franchise record for consecutive free throws made with 34. The Miami product packaged a monster first half with 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, helping Indiana take a 47-41 halftime lead.
After winning the opening minutes of the second half, Indiana nurtured a 10-point cushion for much of the third period. Connecticut closed the gap to 70-66 by quarter’s end on a Shekinna Stricklen 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Sun scored four quick points in the opening minute of the fourth to tie the game at 70 apiece. After battling to an 80-all game coming down the stretch, Thomas nailed a crucial 3-pointer with 2:08 to play for Connecticut.
A 3-point play by Jonquel Jones with 1:07 gave the Sun a five-point advantage and sealed the comeback win for Sun. Catchings buried a meaningless halfcourt heave at the buzzer to cap her final appearance in Connecticut.
The loss dropped Indiana back to .500 at 16-16 while Connecticut–already eliminated from playoff contention–improved to 12-20.
“We still have a lot at stake and we have to come out every ballgame and play hard,” White added.