Liberty/Fever Game 2 Recap
Indiana forces deciding Game 3 in New York.
by Josh Flynn
Tamika Catchings’ will is an amazing thing.
She has the will to shut down any opponent who crosses her path. That’s why she was awarded her fourth Defensive Player of the Year award and named to the WNBA All-Defensive team.
She has the will to better her adopted home, Indianapolis. And, because of that, she was also awarded her first Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.
When the rest of the Indiana Fever can match Catchings’ willpower, incredible things happen.
Sunday night they survived, defeating the New York Liberty 75-67 and staying alive in the 2010 WNBA Playoffs, forcing a deciding Game 3 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Catchings scored 17 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in leading the Fever to the series tying victory at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. She scored from inside and out. She fought off groups of Liberty players to grab crucial rebounds. She spearheaded the attack but found help from her teammates, an element that went missing in the second half of Game 1.
Tammy Sutton-Brown chipped in 14 points and 6 boards and Katie Douglas, scoreless in the previous outing, knocked down 11 points and contributed team-high 5 assists in the victory. Jessica Davenport also continued her strong play off the bench with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
The Fever outrebounded New York 41-36, a drastic turnaround from Game 1’s lopsided 39-25 Liberty domination of the glass.
Indiana opened a 21-8 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, pushing their lead to 21 just over three minutes into the third at 48-27. The Liberty battled back and broke into single-digit territory late in the fourth, but the Fever were never under any real threat of losing their lead.
Cappy Pondexter scored 24 points for New York. Essence Carson added 20. Plenette Pierson was never able to get into the flow of the game due to early foul trouble.
The Fever must now attempt to do something they haven’t done convincingly all season long: play high-quality basketball in crunch time. They’ve let fourth quarter leads slip at home and on the road, turning potential wins into embarrassing loses. Now they head back to the Garden faced with persevering for 40 long minutes—a win and they defend their Eastern Conference crown against the Atlanta Dream.
Where there is a will there is a way.
Tamika Catchings’ will just might be strong enough.