May 28, 2005

Indiana 67, New York 59

NEW YORK -- Shooting poorly early in the game, the Indiana Fever started attacking the basket. The adjustment paid off.

Kelly Miller had 19 points to lead the Fever to a 67-59 victory against the New York Liberty on Thursday night, improving to 3-0 for the first time in franchise history.

``It was another good win for us, a good road win,'' Miller said. ``We did a good job executing plays down the stretch and making our shots.''

Indiana missed 13 of its first 18 shots over the first 10 minutes, before outscoring New York 13-4 in the final 5 to take a 30-29 lead at halftime.

``We picked it up towards the end of the first half and started taking the ball to the basket and stopped relying on long shots,'' Fever coach Brian Winters said. ``In the second half we played a much better game. We played the way we finished the first half, and that's the way we need to play.''

Deanna Jackson added 10 points for Indiana, which finished at 45 percent from the field (26-for-58) and outrebounded New York 32-22.

``We need to adjust,'' New York coach Pat Coyle said. ``This was the second game in the row we got outrebounded and that can't happen. It's all about putting a body on somebody and riding them out.''

Ann Wauters and Crystal Robinson scored 15 points apiece for the Liberty, who dropped to 0-2 for only the third time.

The teams traded baskets the first 4 minutes of the second half, before Indiana went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good at 42-36 with 12:44 remaining.

``We gave them too many second shots and we didn't rebound the ball,'' New York's Vickie Johnson said.

Tan White's layup 5 1/2 minutes later gave the Fever a 52-43 lead. The Liberty then went on an 8-2 run, capped by Robinson's 3-pointer, to cut the deficit to three with 4:12 remaining.

Miller hit one of her three 3s nearly a minute later to push Indiana's lead back up to six, and New York didn't get closer than five the rest of the way. The Fever beat the Liberty for the seventh time in their last nine meetings.

Tamika Catchings, who was averaging 21.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 11 previous games against New York, had just eight points and five rebounds.

The Liberty jumped out to an 18-11 lead as they made nine of their first 11 shots. They were just 4-of-14 the rest of the half and finished the game at 45 percent (21-for-47).

Jackson's 16-foot jumper capped a 9-0 run and gave Indiana its first lead at 26-25 with 2:09 left in the period.

Miller had all of her seven first-half points during the late first-half run.

``My teammates were getting me open looks and I was able to knock down some shots,'' Miller said. ``We started off slow, but in the end we did a good job.''

Robinson's rebound in the opening minute of the game was the 500th of her career, making her the seventh Liberty player to reach the mark.

Loree Moore, New York's first-round draft pick, had arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to clean out scar tissue from her left knee. She is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Sparks 84, Mystics 75

WASHINGTON -- Chamique Holdsclaw was more concerned with getting a road victory than a milestone point.

Holdsclaw scored 27 points, including the 3,000th of her WNBA career, and the Los Angeles Sparks overcame a WNBA-record 15 3-pointers by the Washington Mystics, beating Holdsclaw's former team 84-75 on Thursday night.

``Someone left a little note in my locker that said I got my 3,000th point,'' said Holdsclaw, who scored her first 2,960 points for the Mystics. ``I'm just glad we were able to redeem ourselves.

``I didn't want to look at the start of a season and be 0-2 on the road. We had to win this game tonight and I'm glad everybody chipped in and made it happen.''

Tamika Whitmore scored 21 points for the Sparks, who took the lead for good on two free throws by Christi Thomas with 5:22 left.

Charlotte Smith-Taylor made back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Mystics within 72-71 with 3:03 left, but that was as close as Washington got down the stretch.

Holdsclaw, who had 10 rebounds, made six free throws, and Whitmore added four points as the Sparks closed out the victory with a 12-4 run.

``I just wonder how I was here six seasons and they could never get any vets around me,'' Holdsclaw said of the Mystics. ``That's the thing. The acquisition of Charlotte Smith and some good young players is really exciting for them. Like I told Alana Beard, just get healthy and you guys are going to be really good.''

The Mystics played their third consecutive game without Beard, who is day to day with a sprained right ankle.

Los Angeles coach Henry Bibby said Holdsclaw willed the Sparks to victory while foul-troubled Lisa Leslie was limited to 21 minutes.

``She takes control of the game,'' he said of Holdsclaw. ``She's that good. She wants to win and she plays hard every time.''

``When we're in the half court, we've got to get the ball inside to Lisa,'' Holdsclaw said. ``But coach said we wanted to run and make it fun and exciting, so that's the time for me, Tamecka Dixon and Nikki Teasley to have our fun.''

The Mystics beat the previous league record of 14 3-pointers set by Minnesota at Utah in 1999 and matched by Sacramento at Minnesota in 2001.

Smith-Taylor led the Mystics with a season-high 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Chasity Melvin added a season-high 16 points and reserve Laurie Koehn 15 for Washington.

``I haven't seen a team shoot 3s the way they shoot 3s,'' Bibby said. ``I think it's in our favor to play some zone and make people shoot it outside, but my assistant coach, Shelley Patterson, she's been in the league five or six years and she said she's never seen any team shoot it like they shot it tonight.''

The Mystics tied their team record for 3-pointers made in a game with 10 in the first half. They shot 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from beyond the arc in the period and led 40-36 at the break.

Koehn hit the team record-setting 3-pointer for a 49-47 lead with 12:22 remaining.

``Holdsclaw had a tremendous game and if you have Lisa Leslie out of the game as long as she was out, you've got a chance to win this game,'' Mystics coach Richie Adubato said. ``We played a good game except for the last two and a half minutes.''

No comments: