May 25, 2005

Indiana 83, Phoenix 76

Tamika Catchings scored 22 of her 28 points in the second half to lead the Indiana Fever to an 83-76 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night.

Catchings made a franchise-record 15 free throws -- 13 after halftime -- and tied the franchise record for most points in a half. Catchings had just six points on 2-of-8 shooting before the break.

``When your shots aren't falling and you're a shooter, the best thing to do is get to the free throw line,'' Catchings said. ``Once you get to the line a couple of times, you get used to shooting it.''

Natalie Williams added 12 points, and Kelly Schumacher and Jurgita Streimikyte each scored 10 for the Fever. Indiana held off a late Phoenix rally, allowing an 11-point lead shrink to one with 1:40 left.

Diana Taurasi had 24 points and five assists, Plenette Pierson had 15 points and Anna DeForge added 14 for the Mercury.

Phoenix used a 6-0 run with under 3 minutes left to cut Indiana's lead to 69-68. A pair of free throws by Catchings and a basket by Streimikyte pushed the lead to 73-68 with 1 minute left.

Catchings, who had nine rebounds, added three free throws in the final 18.8 seconds.

``One thing my dad always told me is that the last three minutes need to be your time to shine,'' Catchings said.

Indiana used a 9-0 first-half run to lead 28-19 with just under 5 minutes left. The Mercury closed out the half with an 11-5 run to trail 33-30 at the break.

After Phoenix scored to start the second half, the Fever scored 11 of the next 12 points to take a 44-33 lead. Catchings scored five points and Williams had four during the run.

``Tamika just stepped up. She's a star player,'' Phoenix coach Carrie Graf said. ``We held her in the first half, but she's a star player.''

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