ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) - Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas scored 17 points each to help the Indiana Fever hold off the Chicago Sky 88-80 Sunday.
Erin Phillips had 16 points and reserve center Jessica Davenport added 14 for the Fever (20-11), who had lost three straight and four of five. Indiana retained its half-game lead on second-place Connecticut in the Eastern Conference with three games to go.
``We have been a first place team, but Connecticut is on a run here,' Fever coach Lin Dunn said. ``We have a lot of teams playing really well, so we really needed to win this game tonight, plus we were coming off some tough losses.'
Catchings had a three-point play with 57 seconds remaining that ended a scoring drought of more than 4 minutes and gave the Fever an 82-78 lead.
``Coming off of three losses, I think, just to come out and have a great performance that was No. 1 on our minds right now and I think going into the playoffs, just trying to get that playoff mentality,' Catchings said. ``We don't want to focus on where you stand in the standings cause at the end of the day it really doesn't matter when you get to the playoffs. It is a matter of going into the playoffs with the right mentality.'
Epiphanny Prince scored 21 points to lead Chicago (14-17), Sylvia Fowles had 15 and Tamera Young added 12.
Fowles broke her own franchise record for scoring in a season, set last year. She has 615, eclipsing her previous mark of 607.
The Sky were eliminated from playoff contention earlier Sunday when Atlanta clinched the East's fourth and final berth with a 73-52 win over Tulsa.
Chicago coach Pokey Chatman wants her players to use the last three games to keep improving and build for next season.
``The lessons that you learn when you are on top are not as valuable as the lessons that you learn when you are not on top,' she said. ``The key is going to be the defense, the scheme, protecting the perimeter. I remember what L.A. did here. Tina (Thompson) hitting 3s. That's what I'm going to be evaluating when we go to Minnesota, L.A. and Seattle.'
Indiana dominated most of the third quarter and took a 64-53 lead on Tammy Sutton-Brown's jumper with 4:06 left. Chicago pulled within seven and trailed 72-64 entering the fourth.
Catchings, Douglas and Phillips each had nine points in a brisk first half as the Fever opened a 51-49 half-time lead. Young led the Sky with 10 points.
In the opening quarter, Douglas scored five straight in the final minute to trim Chicago's lead to 26-25.
Indiana hit 9-of-12 3-pointers and was 30 of 55 from the field (55 percent). Chicago, which shot 62 percent in the first half, finished at 50 percent (32 for 64).
The Sky had a 25-22 rebounding edge and outscored Indiana 44-36 in the paint.
The Associated Press News Service
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