Catchings' double-double leads Fever past SkyJul 28, 2010 - 2:34 AM INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Briann January is taking advantage of her second run in the Indiana Fever's starting lineup.
January had 15 points and made several key plays in the fourth quarter to lead the Fever to a 78-74 win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
After starting three of four games to begin the season before suffering a knee injury, January was reinserted into the starting lineup in the Fever's last game, a 78-73 win over Washington. She had a season-high 19 points and eight assists against the Mystics.
"Bri has been great," said Indiana forward Tamika Catchings, who finished Tuesday night with 16 points and 10 rebounds. "She's bringing a lot to our team. She continues to build off that and continues to be such an instrumental part of our success."
Chicago, which trailed by 21 in the first half, got within eight entering the fourth quarter and continued to chip away at the deficit. Sylvia Fowles' three-point play made it 70-68 with 4:27 left, but January's jumper pushed the lead back to four.
Shay Murphy then hit two free throws for Chicago to make it a two-point game, but January's 3-pointer stopped the Sky's momentum again. With Indiana trying to hold a three-point lead in the closing seconds, January had a defensive steal and made a free throw to seal the victory.
"I didn't go out looking to be the person to stomp on their runs," she said, "but somebody had to do it and I had the opportunity to make some plays."
Indiana (16-7) beat Chicago (12-13) for the fifth time, marking the first time a WNBA team has beaten an opponent five times in the same regular season.
"I have no idea how we've done it, but thank God for that," Catchings said. "When you play somebody that many times, both teams know each other's strengths and weaknesses. For them, I think it's like, 'All right, here we go again."'
Fowles had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Murphy scored 12 for the Sky, who had won four of five entering the game.
"We fought hard in the second half," said Murphy, who began the season with Indiana. "To steal a game from the Fever would have been nice. I felt good with our second-half performance."
Catchings and Katie Douglas each scored 10 points in the first half to put Indiana in control. The Fever used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take their biggest lead, 45-24.
The Sky closed to 53-48 on Erin Thorn's 3-pointer in the third quarter before settling for an eight-point deficit entering the final period.
"Any time you can beat a team five times, it's huge," January said. "They're adjusting every time you play them, and you have to counter those adjustments. That's a feat because they're a great team."
Catchings' double-double was the 65th of her career, tying her for seventh all-time in league history.
"The one thing I want over all of this, everybody already knows: a championship," she said. "It doesn't matter how many more double-doubles I get, but if we get that championship, that would exceed all."
The Fever remain one game ahead of Atlanta (16-9) for first place in the Eastern Conference.
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