Key notes and quotes from Fever-Sparks game

·       The Fever led wire-to-wire and shot 56 percent from the field as they earned a 92-82 win over the Los Angeles Sparks, who hold the WNBA’s best record this season.
·       Indiana improves its record to 6-0 this season when scoring 90 or more points, and 5-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
·       The Fever have now shot better than 50 percent from the field in three of the past four games, and four of the last six overall.
·       Los Angeles closed the gap to six points, 69-63, with 7:45 left in the fourth quarter; but Indiana took off on a 17-7 run to push its advantage to 17 points, the largest margin of the night, with 2:58 left in the game.
·       The Fever finished the fourth quarter shooting 7-for-10 from the field and a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line.
·       The Fever have now won four of their past five games, three of those victories coming by double-figure margins.
·       The WNBA leader in steals and turnovers forced, the Fever collected 12 steals and forced 20 turnovers in tonight’s game.
·       Tamika Catchings led the Fever with 23 points, her fifth game with 20 or more points.
·       Briann January fell just short of the second double-double of her WNBA career as she finished with 12 points and a season-high nine assists. January ranks fifth in the WNBA this season in assists per game and has led the Fever in assists in 14 of her 18 games this season.
·       Lynetta Kizer finished with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting, extending the longest stretch of her WNBA career with 10 or more points to five games.
·       Erica Wheeler added her ninth game in double figures this season, finishing with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
·       Shenise Johnson added 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench.
·       After tying the WNBA record by beginning the season 20-1, the Sparks have now lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
·       Finishing 32-for-64 from the field, the Sparks have shot at least 50 percent from the floor in 13 games this season.  Tonight marked Los Angeles’ first loss when making at least half of its shots, dropping its record to 12-1 when shooting 50 percent from the field.
·       The Sparks kept pace with Indiana through part of the fourth quarter by shooting 57 percent from the field, including 6-for-7 from three-point range; but the Sparks also committed six turnovers in the fourth quarter.
·       Los Angeles tied its season high 20 turnovers on the night.
·       Nneka Ogwumike recorded her 12th double-double of the season and her fourth in a row with 16 points and 14 rebounds.  She also led the Sparks with seven assists.
·       Kristi Toliver led Los Angeles with 18 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and 4-for-6 from long distance.  She has now made at least one three-pointer in every game this season.
SERIES NOTES:               
·       Los Angeles ended a four-game winning streak at Indiana, falling for the first time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since July 31, 2011.
·       The Sparks and Fever will meet one final time this season on September 4 in Los Angeles.
Fever Head Coach Stephanie White
“I was proud of our effort. We had high energy from the start. We pressured and rotated well on defense and we attacked offensively. The energy flowed from our defense. It was probably our most complete game of the year.

 “We hit shots because we were in attack mode on offense. When we work the ball and make defenses shift, we get good looks, and we get better shots. If flows from the defensive end, but when we attack and move on offense, we become more difficult to guard.”

Sparks Head Coach Brian Agler

“(What happened in the first half?) They beat us off the dribble, they turned us over.  To me, those were the two main things.  And when they do that we can’t get our defense set off the penetration and when you turn it over your defense is not set.  (On the third quarter) We got some defensive stops, consecutive stops.  We moved the basketball.  We recognized open people. We did some good things.  We’re not where we need to be…(How hard is it to prepare for a team with multiple scorers?) It’s hard.  Tamika Catchings is an elite player and elite leader.  She has the ultimate respect of her teammates and she sort of sets the tone.”

Fever guard Erica Wheeler

“I think we executed defensively and I think we paid more attention to the details and we were there early on covering.  I think that made a difference, we were there early.  The execution Coach stressed to us, be there early and I think that we did.  For them driving and seeing bodies, I think it made it hard for them to even see the room or see the extra pass.  So I think that was important, we were there early…(On the team’s offensive execution) I think because we played great defense and when we play great defense, it allows our offense to be smoother.  We got the defense on their heels.  I think that’s why we were able to move the ball and get to the rim…(On moving the ball better) Just seeing each other. We had our heads up and we weren’t focused on ourselves and just making the extra pass.”

Fever guard Tamika Catchings

“(Did it feel like the best performance of the season?) I think for us we really buckled down today.  Definitely came out defensively. That’s where it starts with us.  When we play really really good on the defensive end and we finish it off with a rebound and we’re able to get out on transition, we look like a great team.  Offensively, we move the ball, we kick it around, nobody is worried about hitting a shot, just getting the best shot that we can get on the court.  Tonight we were knocking down our shots. So we just have to continue to play like this.  I know I continue to talk about the same things, but we play like this, there are very few teams that can beat us when we’re playing at our best.”

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike            

“(On the third quarter) I think we did somewhat better job of trying to find what was working for us.  You know they were really denying and pressuring.  We responded but I think we kind of got away from what was working…(What were the Fever doing offensively that was tough to stop?) A big part of their offense is getting ball inside, penetrating, getting the ball inside, had a lot of points in the paint.  (On preparing for Tamika Catchings) We just have to play her to her tendencies.  We know that she can pull up and drive and she can spot up.”

Sparks’ forward Candace Parker

“(On the third quarter) We had to get calmed down and settled in. Obviously we were getting stops on the defensive end. Obviously their penetration hurt us tonight.  (On being unable to get back in the game in the fourth quarter) Just came down to making plays, obviously.  We need to play better defense and that’s all there is to it.”

  • Courtesy of Indiana Fever