Posted: Saturday, August 10th 2013 at 10:02pm
Catchings scores 21 to lead Fever over Dream
By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS -- With All-Star Shavante Zellous sidelined by a foot injury, the Indiana Fever had to make another lineup change Saturday.
That left the Atlanta Dream little time to prepare for Zellous' replacement, Erin Phillips.
Making her first start of the season, Phillips set a career high with five 3-pointers to help the Fever defeat the Dream 80-66.
The victory brought the defending WNBA champions back to .500 at 11-11 and helped them close in on Atlanta (11-7) in the Eastern Conference.
Zellous, who made the All-Star team this season for the first time, became the ninth different Fever player to miss a game due to injury this season. She was averaging a career-best 15 points this season.
Tamika Catchings scored 21 points to lead the Fever, who bounced back from a loss to Los Angeles on Thursday in which Indiana shot just 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
The Fever needed little time to better that mark on Saturday, hitting 4 of 6 3-pointers in the first quarter. Indiana finished 8 of 14 on 3-pointers, tying a season high for made 3s.
"We just got better shots and we were ready to knock them down," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "We practiced yesterday for the first time in a whole week, because we had so many games, we would play, travel and rest (and not have time to practice)."
The Dream were prepared for Zellous.
"It changed our plans a little because we worked on penetration," Dream coach Fred Williams said. "Now, you drive and kick, with a shooter outside, it changes plans at the last minute."
"When she's hitting those 3s, it opens everything up," Dunn said of Phillips, whose previous career high for 3-pointers in a game was four.
Last season, she was third in the WNBA, shooting 43.8 percent on 3-pointers. She was 6 of 21 in limited time this season as she recovered from a torn right meniscus.
"I put up plenty of shots in between games. It was nice to get some to go down," said Phillips, who finished with 15 points. She was 5 of 9 from the field, 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Karima Christmas added 15 points for the Fever, her seventh straight game in double digits, and Briann January scored 13 as Indiana shot a season-best 50 percent from the field.
Erlana Larkins added eight points and 11 rebounds.
Angel McCoughtry led the Dream with 17 points.
"We kind of guarded her with the whole team. She might have scored 17, but it was a tough 17," Dunn said.
Erika DeSouza added 13 points, Indianapolis native Alex Bentley scored 11 and Jasmine Thomas added 10 points as Atlanta lost on the road for the sixth straight time.
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