Catchings leads Fever past SunJun 14, 2010 - 1:32 AM By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS(AP) -- Tamika Catchings had been a spectator for long enough.
After watching Indiana nearly squander another lead against Connecticut, she dominated the fourth quarter of the Fever's 77-67 win Sunday.
Indiana led by 18 points when Catchings left the game midway through the third quarter, but it was cut in half by the time she returned to start the fourth. She scored six points in the first 34 minutes of the game, then scored 12 in the next five to help her team hold on.
The Fever gave up a fourth-quarter lead in an 86-77 loss at Connecticut on Friday, so Catchings felt especially uncomfortable when the Sun tied the score at 60-all in the fourth on Sunday.
She did something about it.
"For me, I'm a motivational player," Catchings said. "Sitting on the bench over there and seeing the lead dwindle down, it was like, 'OK, I'm getting antsy, put me back in.' When she finally put us (the starters) back in, it was just a matter of having that will power like we're not going to lose."
Catchings also had 13 rebounds and four steals for the Fever. She made all eight of her free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and now has made 30 straight, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
"That's why she's one of the best players in our league," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "She wasn't going to let them lose and she was great."
Katie Douglas scored a team-high 20 points for Indiana (6-4), which has won 6 of 8 after losing its first two games this season.
Renee Montgomery was 4 for 8 on 3-pointers and led Connecticut (6-3) with 17 points. Tan White, a former Fever player, added 14 points for the Sun.
The Fever led 58-49 at the end of the third quarter and appeared to be in control of the game.
Catchings committed a clear path foul against Montgomery, who made two free throws to cut Indiana's lead to 60-54. Connecticut retained possession and White made a 3 to pull to 60-57. Montgomery hit another 3 to tie it at 60-all with 7 minutes to play.
Catchings took over from there, scoring 12 of Indiana's final 17 points. She stole the ball from rookie Kelsey Griffin, then made a layup with 1:36 to play to give Indiana a 74-63 lead.
"That was a big play," Thibault said. "They had an energy level at the defensive end."
Indiana outscored Connecticut 22-10 in the second quarter to lead 42-26 at halftime. The Fever outrebounded the Sun 23-9 in the first half to make up for committing 13 turnovers.
"We were so bad in the first half and they were so good," Thibault said. "It was like the varsity and the JV's playing."
Connecticut had won three straight, but Indiana outrebounded the Sun 39-24 and held them to 36-percent shooting.
"We needed it," Indiana center Tammy Sutton said. "We came out a lot better today than we did on Friday. Connecticut is a great team, their record speaks volumes. It was a good win for us."
INDIANA 77 FINAL
Jun 13 8:06 PM
INDIANA 20 END, 1ST QTR
Jun 13 6:29 PM
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