A night of milestones for Tamika Catchings as Indiana Fever tops Connecticut Sun, 92-84
Indiana (4-6) ended Connecticut’s seven-game win streak with a 92-84 road victory at Mohegan Sun Tuesday night. The Fever’s Tamika Catchings reached two major milestones during the game as she grabbed her 3000th rebound and played in her 400th game. She is only the fourth player to reach 3000 rebounds in her career and the 13th player to play in 400 games.
“You can tell when Tamika is feeling well,” said Fever head coach Stephanie White. “Today was one of those days. We put the ball in her hands. She’s just a rock and it’s no surprise why she has been such a rock for this franchise for so many years.”
With her 93rd double-double, she led her team with 26 points and grabbed ten rebounds. She was 9-10 from the floor, 4-4 from beyond the arc, and did not miss her first shot until 8:06 left in the fourth quarter.
Connecticut (7-2) was down 21 with 9:24 left in the fourth quarter before the Sun went on a 27-9 run to close within at 85-82. This was the closest the score had been since the 2:01 mark in the second quarter.
Indiana had a season high 12 field goals in the first quarter to go with 27 points. This is the most points allowed in a single quarter by the Sun this season.
The Fever’s bench outscored the Sun’s bench 33-7. It is the first time Connecticut’s bench has been outscored since the season opener against Washington on June 5th.
Shenise Johnson also had double figures for the Sun with 13 points and Natalie Achonwa scored 10 and pulled down six rebounds.
It was the second straight game that five Connecticut Sun players scored in double figures. All five starters had twelve or more points. Kelsey Bone led the team with 21 points plus four rebounds. The only other game Bone had more points was on June 19 when she had 27 points in 90-78 overtime win over Phoenix. She was ejected from the game with 1:05 left after a flagrant foul that resulted in a pair of free throws by Achonwa. The free throws, plus two more from Catchings followed with a steal by the veteran helped seal the deal for Indiana.
Alex Bentley contributed 18 points plus six assists while Jasmine Thomas finished with 14 points, five assists and four steals. Alyssa Thomas and Camille Little had 12 points and five rebounds each.
- Catchings is just 14 rebounds from becoming the No. 3 career rebounder in league history.
- The Sun’s win streak was the longest since they won seven in a row from July 20th through September 5th of 2008. The franchise record is 12 straight in 2006. Connecticut is now 7-2 on the season leading the East.
- Connecticut had first half season highs in points (44), field goals (18), field goal percentage (58.1%), assists (13), and three point percentage (55.6%). The Sun tied their season high with five three point field goals.
- Connecticut scored a season high 29 points in the fourth quarter going 11-of-17 from the floor and shot 64.7 percent. This ties for the most field goals made in a quarter for the Sun this season since they had 11 against Phoenix on June 19th.
- The 84 points scored by the Sun is the most points in regulation this season for Connecticut. The 92 points allowed by the Sun is the most for a Connecticut opponent this season.
- Indiana had their most points (92) in a regular season win since a 95-61 victory over Connecticut on June 21, 2012. It also the most points in a regular season road win for the Fever since they beat Phoenix 104-82 on August 8th, 2010.
- The last time the road team won in the regular season in the Connecticut, Indiana series was June 8th, 2012 when Connecticut beat Indiana at Indiana 89-81. The Sun are 38-21 all time against the Fever.
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Fever 32, Sun 38
Second Chance Points: Fever 13, Sun 5
Fastbreak Points: Fever 2, Sun 11
Biggest Lead: Fever 23, Sun 6
Lead Changes: 9
Times Tied: 7
Head coach Anne Donovan
On Kelsey Bone’s 10-point fourth quarter before the flagrant foul
“She went back in the game after sitting there for a long time and you can tell she wanted to make an impact. As untimely as that play was, I can’t fault her for how she was playing.”
Her reaction to the flagrant foul that resulted in Bone’s ejection
“I’d like to start by saying she is a four-year player. She’s still a very young player in this league and I’m not going to fault her for playing that hard. Like I said, it was untimely but I want somebody that goes to the basket and goes to battle in the post against a team like Indiana that’s extremely physical. That’s the kind of fight I want and she hasn’t made mistakes like that very often. I’m not going to get on her for that. I appreciate the effort and the real battle mentality from her to go and get that win.”
On what she saw from Indiana’s offense that scored 92 points tonight
“Yeah defensively it’s tough. They shot the lights out. Some of our keys that we put on the board were to defend the three-point line. Clearly we didn’t do that for most of the game. But it’s hard when you play a team with (Tamika) Catchings that is one of the best players in the game that is just playing brilliantly. Catchings missed one shot and Camille (Little) is no slouch defensively. So you have to give credit to Indiana in the end on how well they scored against us.”
On Tamika Catching’s 26-point night
“I mean she hadn’t been shooting the three very well thus far. The last couple games have been better but I haven’t seen her play that well in a long time. If you step outside of this game, it’s nice to see one of the greatest players in the game and one of the finest individuals I know play like that.”
On her mindset on the play where she was handed a flagrant foul leading to an ejection
“I think all successful teams have that and I have no problem being the villain. I pretty much have been the villain my whole life so it’s not something that I can shake. My last name is Bone so it kind of comes with the territory. But one thing I can say is that play was not an intention play. We were on a roll and I know how important I am to this team and how important this game was so that was something that we needed at that point. So it was not an intentional play.”
On what she saw in the play that led to the flagrant foul
“The shot went up from the weak side corner and as we both went for the rebound I was behind her so as I went up I was bracing myself to try and not get an over-the-back call. I did not extend my elbow but I do understand the rule. I made contact above the shoulders. But it was not an intentional play where I threw my elbow. I was just trying to get a rebound.”
On her defensive play against Tamika Catchings who went 9-for-10 from the floor
“She was open. I helped a lot which I always do. And a lot of the times I was coming at her when she was already comfortable shooting the ball. And the adjustment was to not help as much. But that’s hard for me to do, to not help when you see someone roll to the basket. They picked us apart. Every time she scored she had an open look in the corner from me helping in the post and then she knocked them down.”
On what went wrong defensively allowing Indiana to score 92 points
“Intensity was the biggest thing tonight. We weren’t aggressive enough. We didn’t make them uncomfortable and they did what they wanted to do. And when you let teams do that, they’re going to shoot 55 percent. They came in shooting a great percentage from the floor and we knew that going into tonight. We just didn’t do a good job of slowing them down.”
Head coach Stephanie White
On the much needed win
“They are all much needed win tonight, but yeah, we seem to be a little bit better on the road except for the five to six minute span that we seem to have every game and seem to go crazy and raise our heart rates. On this trip, I feel everyone was really focused and ready to go with a lot of energy and it was just one of those nights where things were flowing for us, we were playing at a good pace and a good tempo.”
On the performance of Tamika Catchings, whom she has seen do this plenty of times over the years
“She has dipped into that well a couple of times this year. One of the things that I try to look at Tamika’s performance this year is not just numbers. It’s how she is moving, does she have a bounce in her step, how she is defending. You can tell when she has a day when she feels better than when she doesn’t and she had that today. She had the confidence so we put the ball in her hands at the end of the game because she was our rock. It’s been no surprise that she has been the rock of this franchise ever since she got here and she finished it off today for us.”
On the play of her bench tonight
“We have to. We have to have a good effort from our bench night in and night out. We want to play at a higher pace and get more possessions so we have to use our bench. We have confidence in everyone that comes off our bench to come in and play. Everyone is going to get an opportunity there is no doubt about it and now it’s just about taking the most of your opportunity when it is there.”
On the much needed win
“We came in really focused and had quite a few team meetings about focusing on the little things that we need to do as a team. We came out in the beginning and played a good three quarters before hitting a lull. We have to keep getting better and work on those lulls because it seems they happen every game.”
On her double-double performance while grabbing her 3,000th career rebound
“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team. I know the last couple of games I have not really been satisfied in the way I have been playing, so just taking a step back and figuring out what I can do to help the team. Coach kept saying, your shot will come, your shot will come at the right time and tonight I was feeling it and my teammates are always encouraging.”
On the job by the Fever bench scoring 33 points
“We need them. The numbers dwindle down and its more imperative to have the people come in off the bench and play valuable minutes and not just scoring, but we all need to be able to trust each other and know the defensive schemes and the offensive plan, who you have to guard and who we need to watch out for and I thought they did a really good job tonight.”
On the much needed win
“We wanted to come out today and play hard and that is what we did. Everybody felt good vibes going into the game. We wanted to get the win, we got it and that is the most important thing.”
On the outstanding performance of Tamika Catchings
“Catch is Catch, she has been doing it for 15 years. She is going to go out and she is going to play hard for us. She is our leader and we just want to follow behind her.”
On the play of herself and the rest of the bench scoring 33 points in the win
“Our coaches have been on us all week, so we just wanted to respond. We know what everybody in the locker room is capable of and it’s much easier when everyone believes in each other. We just wanted to come in and play hard and bring that energy up off the bench when it’s needed.”