Indianapolis Ind. – The Indiana Fever knocked off the Chicago Sky Friday, 95-88. With the victory, Indiana has now taken the season series against Chicago, giving them the advantage in a head-to-head tiebreaker scenario.
Briann January led the way for the Fever with 20 points, and Tamika Catchings added six points and eight rebounds. She is now nine boards shy of becoming the WNBA’s all-time leader in that category.
Despite holding a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Chicago found a way to tie the game at 86 with 2:19 remaining. It was at this moment that January took over, knocking down the game’s final six points, all coming from the charity stripe.
“I was happy we found a way to win tonight,” Indiana coach Stephanie White said. “I was happy we gutted it out. We found a way to win in crunch time. I love it when we have balanced scoring. We won the battle of the boards and we got to the free throw line. I was really proud of a gutty effort. Every win is big right now.”
For the Fever, however, no win will be as big as the next one. Due to losses by both Washington and Connecticut, they can clinch a playoff berth with a win on Sunday.
Sky guard Cappie Pondexter had a season-high 22 points. Chicago was without Elena Delle Donne and Tamera Young, who both sustained injuries in Wednesday’s game. Pondexter said it was hard to compensate for the loss.
“Of course we were short-handed,” she said. “We had one of the league’s best youngest players, best top defender in the league was out. So I mean, we were short-handed really good players.”
“But I think the fact that we’re deep allows us to be solid enough to win games. We were in it but a few self-inflicted mistakes that we could correct, we would have ourselves a ballgame. But unfortunately Indiana is a very good team at home and they capitalized on a lot of our mistakes and were able to get momentum.”
Sky coach Pokey Chatman also noted the affect the injuries had on their rotation.
“Obviously it affected it in terms of sheer numbers. Elena’s the leading scorer, Tamera is a top defender,” Chatman said. “But that’s part of the game, the injuries and the missing players. So we knew we would be without them, so we prepared as such.”
“I think Indiana’s a team that plays a really fast pace. They didn’t have to play that pace because we stopped the game and put them on the line…We had our chances to fold and we were down 12, we brought it back…..but then we just had some self-inflicted wounds that we couldn’t recover from. We’ll be better when the sun rises tomorrow and get ready for Connecticut on Sunday.”
The Sky-Sun games tips at 1 p.m. Eastern time.