Catchings helps Fever to 1-0 series lead vs. ShockSep 1, 2007 - 3:35 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Tamika Catchings put the Indiana Fever on her shoulders.
Catchings had 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Indiana Fever posted a 75-65 victory over the Detroit Shock in opener of the Eastern Conference final on Friday.
Tamika Whitmore scored 18 points off the bench and All-Star Tammy Sutton-Brown chipped in 11 and eight boards for Indiana, which is just a win away from reaching the WNBA Finals.
"This was a hard fought game," Indiana coach Brian Winters said. "We got an early lead and maintained it. We're happy we won, but one game does not make a series."
Catchings has been outstanding this postseason, averaging 20.3 points and 14.3 rebounds en route to setting a franchise record with four straight double-doubles.
Being down 1-0 is nothing new for Detroit, which rallied from the same deficit to defeat the New York Liberty in the opening round of the playoffs.
"We have to come out more focused and more aggressive," Detroit's Plenette Pierson said. "We have to be ready to follow the game plan. We have a lot of confidence. We know how to pick ourselves up."
In the fourth quarter, Anna DeForge converted a three-point play and Catchings added a pair of free throws as the Fever extended their advantage to 66-57 with 5:24 remaining.
The Sixth Woman of the Year, Pierson drew the Shock within 66-63 with a 17-foot jumper at the 2:41 mark. She finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
But Whitmore's layup sparked an impressive 9-0 surge over the final two minutes to secure Indiana's victory.
Cheryl Ford had 15 points and 11 boards and Deanna Nolan netted 13 points for Detroit, which shot 39 percent (27-of-68) from the floor in falling to 0-2 on the road this postseason.
The Shock were outscored, 26-8, at the free-throw line.
"This game was an exercise in frustration," Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. "It was disappointing for our players trying to play hard. Indiana was in the penalty early in the third and fourth quarter. It took away our aggressive early."
Indiana travels to Detroit for Game Two on Sunday.
"We're not scared of going to Detroit," Whitmore said. "We beat them there this season with Ford, but we are a more aggressive team than were at the start of the season."
INDIANA 75 FINAL
Aug 31 10:16 PM
INDIANA 59 END, 3RD QTR
Aug 31 9:44 PM
INDIANA 33 HALFTIME
Aug 31 9:01 PM
INDIANA 15 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 31 8:26 PM
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