Catchings' 30 points lead Fever past DreamAug 7, 2010 - 3:22 AM INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever were determined to regain control of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Catchings scored a season-high 30 points and hit the winning free throws to lead the Fever to a 95-93 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Friday night, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Indiana (17-10), which avenged a loss to the Dream earlier in the week and won the season series 3-2, moved into first place by percentage points over Atlanta (18-11).
"You looked in everybody's faces like, 'We're not going to lose this game tonight,"' said Catchings, who added eight rebounds, three steals and three assists. "Every game from here on out is going to be that playoff mentality. In the East, every game has been so close and the standings are so crucial for every team."
Tammy Sutton-Brown had a season-high 17 points and Katie Douglas scored 14 for Indiana, which needed Catchings' two free throws with 3.5 seconds left after squandering a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"This looked like two teams battling for first place," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "Catch took over the game at crunch time."
Angel McCoughtry scored 31 points and Iziane Castro Marques added 28 for the Dream, who dropped their second straight after winning four in a row.
"We fought back, they fought back," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "It was like the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is a hard battle."
The Fever took their biggest lead of the fourth quarter at 75-66 on Shavonte Zellous' two free throws to begin the period. However, Atlanta used an 8-0 run minutes later to take an 82-80 advantage.
The teams traded baskets the next few possessions before the Dream got two free throws from both McCoughtry and Castro Marques to open a 90-86 lead with 3 minutes left. Douglas' pair of free throws and Catchings' layup quickly tied the score again.
Alison Bales' free throw put Atlanta ahead 93-92 with 47 seconds left, and Ebony Hoffman answered with one free throw to tie it. Hoffman missed the second attempt, but chased down the rebound. Catchings got the ball and was fouled on a shot attempt, hitting both free throws.
Bales was fouled on a drive to the basket on the Dream's final possession, but missed both free throws.
"The last 20 seconds, it seemed like a long time, but I know it was only a short amount of time," Catchings said. "We were really determined to win this game."
After shooting 70 percent from the field in the first quarter and taking a 10-point lead, the Dream were outscored 24-11 in the second to fall behind 45-39 at the half. Indiana had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, compared to Atlanta's one, leading to 15 second-chance points.
The Fever took their biggest lead, 60-50, on Sutton-Brown's layup midway through the third quarter, but the Dream got within two points later in the period before settling for a 73-66 deficit entering the fourth.
"Coming off a three-game losing streak, we had a good team meeting (Thursday)," Sutton-Brown said. "We all came out and had to take our minds back and relive. We're here together. We have all the pieces."
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
ATLANTA 28 11 27 27 93
INDIANA 21 24 28 22 95 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: ATL - ANGEL MCCOUGHTRY 31, IZIANE CASTRO
MARQUES 28, SANCHO LYTTLE 12
IND - TAMIKA CATCHINGS 30, TAMMY SUTTON-BROWN
17, KATIE DOUGLAS 14
Aug 6 9:16 PM
INDIANA 21 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 6 7:29 PM
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