for this game

Douglas leads Fever to 11th straight win

Jul 18, 2009 - 2:59 AM By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS(AP) -- The Indiana Fever increased their franchise-record win streak to 11 games, just in time for perhaps their toughest stretch of games so far.

Katie Douglas scored 25 points to help the Fever beat the Atlanta Dream 84-79 on Friday night, their sixth home win in seven games. Now, Indiana (11-2) will play road games at Connecticut on Sunday, Washington on Tuesday and San Antonio on Thursday.

Indiana got away with committing 19 turnovers against Atlanta. Tamika Catchings, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Fever on Friday night, doesn't think that kind of sloppy play will work during the final stretch before the All-Star break.

"The turnovers we had tonight, we're not going to be able to get away with on the road," Catchings said. "We have a big test ahead of us, but I think if we all stick together and do the little things that have made us win and made us get to this point, we'll be all right."

One more win for Indiana would tie the Eastern Conference record for consecutive wins set by Connecticut in 2006, and would match the third-longest streak in WNBA history. The league record is 18 in a row by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001.

Erika de Souza scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Dream (7-9) on Friday, but Atlanta allowed Indiana to make 9 of 16 3-pointers. Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said her team played well but ran into a hot squad.

"Indiana is playing the best in the league," Meadors said. "They are our measuring stick."

Atlanta jumped out to a 15-8 lead, but the Fever responded with a 17-2 run to take the lead for good. Indiana coach Lin Dunn wasn't happy with the way the Fever started the game.

"I would say they looked a lot ragged," she said. "We may have been a little too excited. We knew this was a big game, we were really focused on this game, and we knew we'd have a good crowd. I thought we settled down after that, and I thought we adjusted to the fact that they are long and quick."

But like it has numerous times during the streak, Indiana maintained its confidence and came back.

"I never thought the game was in jeopardy, but they do have good scorers and continue to come at you," Douglas said.

Atlanta trimmed Indiana's lead to 72-67 midway through the fourth quarter, but Indiana responded with an 8-3 run. A 3-pointer by Ebony Hoffman as the shot clock expired gave Indiana an 80-70 lead with just under 2 minutes left.

The Fever left with respect for the Dream. Atlanta is one of two teams to beat the Fever this season.

"I think Atlanta is one of the most athletic teams in the league," Catchings said. "Player for player, from one to 11, everybody they put on the court is good."

Indiana has embraced the challenge ahead.

"It's time to go on the road so we can really be tested," Dunn said. "I'm glad to go on the road with the momentum we have."