INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Fever fell to the New York Liberty 78-75 in OT on Sunday (Jun. 19) in a game that counted nine lead changes at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana shot just 27.8 percent (10-for-36) in the second half and overtime. The Fever fall to 5-8 while New York improves to 8-4.
Tamika Catchings led the Fever with 23 points (8-for-19) and five boards while Briann January added 15 points (3-for-8) and five assists in the Father’s Day matinee.
Erlana Larkins packed her stat line with 10 points, 15 rebounds and four assists on a milestone night as the six-year veteran surpassed 1,000 career rebounds. It was Larkins’ third double-double of the season.
“I’m excited to reach another mark in the season but it would’ve been a whole lot better with a win,” Larkins said. “It’s always tough to rebound when you’re 6’2” and you have Kiah Stokes, Tina Charles and Carolyn Swords out there. I just get out there and try to do my thing amongst the trees.”
New York’s Tina Charles led all scorers with 26 points to go along with 15 rebounds and six assists. Kiah Stokes added eight points and a career-high 14 rebounds in 35 minutes off the bench.
The Fever jumped out on top early and led for the first nine minutes of the first quarter. New York snagged a 21-17 lead in the final minute before Catchings capped an eight-point quarter with a finger roll at the buzzer to make it 21-19, New York.
A 13-2 Fever run to open the second stanza was inspired by a flurry of steals and defensive pressure. Indiana forced New York into 12 turnovers by halftime while committing just five. January picked New York three times in the half. She connected on a jumper in the final seconds for a 42-37 Fever lead heading to the locker room.
Third quarter struggles continued for Indiana, though. A four-point effort in the third gave New York a 53-46 lead after three periods. The four points were tied for the fewest scored in a quarter in franchise history.
“I was disappointed in our lack of execution, especially in the third quarter,” Fever coach Stephanie White said. “Our third quarters have still been very poor. That’s something we as a staff have to evaluate.”
Marissa Coleman buried a trifecta early in the fourth to bring Indiana some fire. Catchings connected from 15 feet on the next possession before a crafty reverse-layup from Larkins put the life back in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. A layup from Tiffany Mitchell tied the game on the following possession at 55 apiece with 7:04 to play.
With a 66-62 Indiana advantage in the final minute, a three-point heave by New York’s Sugar Rodgers cut it to one (66-65) with just 22.1 left in the game. New York immediately fouled, sending January to the line where she went 1-for-2 to give Indiana a 67-65 lead.
Rodgers would draw a foul and tie the game at 67-all before Catchings’ last-second jumper rimmed short, sending the game to overtime.
New York jumped in front and held off Indiana 11-8 in the extra period for a 78-75 Liberty win.
Despite Larkins big night on the boards, New York won the rebounding battle 46-28–the largest deficit of the season for Indiana. The Liberty also created 14 second-chance points to just two for the Fever.
“New York is a great team,” White added. “Their strength is their interior and they certainly kicked our butt on the boards. We have to minimize our mistakes.”
The Fever will be in action again on Wednesday (Jun. 22) when they travel to Washington for the first of a three-game road trip.