Douglas leads Fever past SkyAug 6, 2009 - 3:09 AM By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS(AP) -- Indiana scoring star Katie Douglas watched the Fever make its decisive run from a seat on the bench.
The Fever didn't need Douglas down the stretch because her backups played so well. Shay Murphy and Tamecka Dixon combined for 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Fever beat the Chicago Sky 76-67 on Wednesday night.
Douglas, who had averaged 30 points in her last three games, left the game with 3:07 left in the third quarter and never returned. Douglas scored a team-high 14 points, but coach Lin Dunn decided not to tinker with momentum. Indiana led 51-45 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but stretched its advantage to 16 points midway through the period with mostly reserves on the floor.
"I've always said, `When subs come in and they're playing well, let's let them play,"' Dunn said. "So that was it."
It's hard to argue with Dunn's coaching decisions. The Fever improved to 16-4, matching their own 2007 record for the best 20-game start in Eastern Conference history. Indiana increased its home winning streak to 11 games and improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break.
Candice Dupree had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Sky (10-11), and Sylvia Fowles added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Next for Indiana is a three-game road trip with games against Western Conference leader Phoenix, Los Angeles and Minnesota.
Reserves have been a key to Indiana's start, and they were again on Wednesday. Indiana's bench outscored Chicago's 25-14. Murphy finished with 13 points and Dixon added six. Jessica Moore, who started in place of the injured Tammy Sutton-Brown, had six points and three steals.
"One of the things that we've been talking about is the bench, from the beginning, and what they do and what they bring to this team," Indiana forward Tamika Catchings said. "We've got to build off of that because our bench is going to be very important for us to win a championship."
Catchings, an All-Star who was limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble, said the backups have been humble, trading personal glory for team success.
"I look around and it's like, these players, any team they would go to, they'd pretty much be in a starting position." she said. "To have players like that who are willing to come off the bench and give us the output that they did is great for this team."
Indiana beat Chicago for the third time this season.
"We gave up too many offensive boards, and we didn't have any fluidity in our offense," Dupree said. "We need to be more aggressive."
Consecutive 3-pointers by Catchings, Douglas and Tully Bevilaqua early in the third quarter increased Indiana's lead to 10 at 45-35. Chicago cut it to 49-45 late in the period, but Indiana responded with a 13-2 run to take control for good.
The Fever considered themselves fortunate to win. They led 34-33 at halftime after shooting 32 percent.
"We know we didn't play a great game tonight," Bevilaqua said. "Defensively, we made a lot of mental errors. The fact that we are still finding a way while we are shooting poorly or having these moments of lapse of concentration, that says a lot about our character."
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