Phoenix – The Indiana Fever packaged a 30-10 third quarter on Friday night (July 8) to steal a road win against the Phoenix Mercury, 78-60. Defensive pressure for Indiana forced 27 turnovers on the night, resulting in 36 Fever points. It was the second-highest number of turnovers by a Fever defense and the most in the WNBA this season.
Indiana finished the game 47.1 percent from the floor after shooting just 25 percent in the first quarter. They outscored Phoenix 48-28 in the paint and swiped 18 steals in a second half runaway.
Erlana Larkins led the Fever with 13 points and 10 rebounds on a 6-for-8 night from the floor. Briann January also scored 13 points. She pick-pocketed the Mercury six times in the contest as well. Tiffany Mitchell added 12 points while Lynetta Kizer (10 points) was the fourth Fever player in double figures. Erica Wheeler and Tamika Catchings added nine points apiece.
Only Diana Taurasi and Kelsi Bone reached double figures for Phoenix. Bone grabbed five rebounds and Taurasi notched nine of her 13 on 3-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Fever started the game with a solid defensive effort en route to a 6-2 lead. A pair of threes from Taurasi brought Phoenix back to life with a 13-10 advantage just under two minutes to play in the quarter. The second Taurasi triple sparked a small run by Phoenix who ended the quarter up 19-12.
Both teams were scoreless through the first 2:13 of the second period until a left-handed runner from Tiffany Mitchell broke the silence. The Fever–still in a defensive battle–bridged the gap to just one point (29-28) with 12.1 seconds left in the half as Larkins tipped home a January miss.
The Fever outscored the Mercury 16-10 in the second period as the 29-28 halftime score was illustrative of both sides’ offensive struggles. Larkins’ 11 points and five rebounds led both teams at the half.
Those offensive woes were reversed early in the second half as Indiana spurred a 12-2 run to open the third quarter. Lynetta Kizer then scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a 16-4 run and open up a 44-33 lead for the Fever.
A flurry of Phoenix turnovers allowed Indiana to extend the lead to 19 by quarter’s end. The Fever took a 58-39 advantage into the fourth quarter after outscoring the Mercury 30-10 in the third; the largest single-quarter advantage for the Fever this season. Indiana scored more points in the third period than the entire first half. Larkins recorded her double-double before the start of the fourth as well.
Sonja Petrovic buried a three for Phoenix on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, but a set of buckets by Mitchell pushed the lead up to 20 and removed any comeback aspirations for Phoenix as Indiana strolled to a 78-60 victory.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Fever who improved to 8-11 on the year. Phoenix dropped their record to 8-12. Indiana will close out their three-game road trip with a visit to Seattle on Sunday evening (July 10) before returning home next Wednesday (July 13). Sunday’s tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.