The Indiana Fever came into Dallas looking to knock off a red-hot Wings team, winners of four straight. Indiana proved up to the challenge, playing focused basketball all night to come away with the victory, 92-87, tying the season series at one game apiece.
The Fever made a lineup adjustment, ramping up the size of their starting five. Indiana began the game with Kizer and Larkins underneath, while Wheeler and January managed the backcourt, putting the versatile Tamika Catchings back to her natural small forward position.
The adjustment paid off early as Indiana found their offensive rhythm quickly with 52 points on 57% shooting in the first half, marking the highest-scoring half they’ve produced in the past five games.
Strong defensive pressure, and the tight execution on the offensive end, provided Indiana with an 11-point advantage with 7:25 remaining in the second quarter. Dallas would find their touch from that point and tie the game at 48, before Indiana scored the final four points of the first half.
Stephanie White’s team stayed poised and answer several late runs by the home team. The Fever managed to sustain their teetering lead through the entire second half. The Wings had an opportunity to cut the Fever lead to one or tie it up with under 0:30 remaining in the fourth, but Dallas forward Aerial Powers missed a critical layup to help Indiana snap a two-game losing skid.
After the game, Coach White spoke to the Fever’s offensive flow: “We played the way that we want to play – we pushed pace, we got balanced scoring and we spread the floor. We were efficient with the basketball and we made the extra pass. When you make the extra pass, you don’t get just good shots, you get your best shot.”
The Fever delivered their scoring punch with 44 points in the paint and 26 made free throws.
Saturday’s matchup between the Fever and the Wings marked the one and only game that No. 24, Tamika Catchings, played a professional game in Dallas. Catchings was a state champion in basketball and volleyball when she attended high school in Duncanville, TX. As always, Catchings came out ready to go, making big-time fourth quarter jumpers on her way to scoring 15 points in front of her friends and family.
“Everybody was energized coming off a couple losses. We played the way we wanted to play. We didn’t turn the ball over on offense and we pushed the tempo. We played the way we want to play,” said Catchings.
Erlana Larkins had her inside game working, scoring a career-high 19 points to lead the way for the Fever. Briann January ran the offense effectively, dishing out a game-high seven assists while taking advantage of her own scoring opportunities with 15 points.
Karima Christmas and Odyssey Sims played well in defeat, scoring 21 and 18 points, respectively. Skylar Diggins played only 22 minutes in the game and was limited to eight points and four assists.
The Fever will look to pick up where they left off when they take the court in Chicago for a matinee contest against the Elena Delle Donne and the Sky on Wednesday, June 29.