INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -The Indiana Fever took advantage of their home-and-home series against the Chicago Sky.
After starting the season with losses to Washington and Atlanta, the defending Eastern Conference champions won their second straight game over Chicago, 69-61, on Sunday night to even their record. Indiana beat the Sky 92-86 in overtime on Saturday.
``Right off the gate, it's like, 'Oh, shoot, we're down two games already in the hole,'' said Indiana forward Tamika Catchings, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals on Sunday. ``To get two wins, especially off a back-to-back weekend, is something this team really needed. Now the slate is clean.'
Shay Murphy had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Jene Morris and Briann January each scored 12 for the Fever, who improved to 13-4 all-time against the Sky, including 8-1 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
``There's not really a key to what it is,' Catchings said of the Fever's dominance over Chicago. ``I believe our rivalry for them is probably like our rivalry with (the Shock).'
Indiana's gain was Chicago's loss. Cathrine Kraayeveld had 11 points and Sylvia Fowles added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Sky (0-4), who have lost their four games by a combined 30 points.
``We know what we have to do as a team,' Fowles said. ``It's been mental stuff. It's the simple stuff we have to crack down on.'
The Fever stretched a five-point lead to 61-50 after Murphy's five straight points early in the fourth quarter. Chicago scored the next seven points, capped by Jia Perkins' 3-pointer, to get within 61-57 with 5 minutes left. Indiana answered with January's two free throws and Katie Douglas' three-point play to put the game away.
Murphy had six points, two rebounds, one steal and one assist in the fourth quarter. She played 25 minutes off the bench.
``Anytime I play, if it's five minutes or 20 minutes, I don't want to be a negative,' said Murphy, a 5-foot-11 guard and fourth-year pro. ``I just want to be a positive, whether that's defense, rebounding or scoring. It's not going to be scoring every night. Sometimes, it's just cheering. Sometimes, it's just being positive, giving a high-five. Whatever helps the team.'
Murphy is averaging more than 11 points and six rebounds this season.
``Shay has been amazing,' Catchings said. ``She has come off the bench and been really productive for us. That's one thing we're looking for from Shay, to come in, be productive, be active, get on the boards, get open shots, play great defense. She's doing all of it.'
Indiana shot 46 percent from the field in the opening half and took its biggest lead, 32-23, on Jessica Moore's jumper with less than six minutes left in the second quarter. The Sky finished the half with a 16-1 run to open a 39-33 advantage. Kraayeveld had seven points during the spurt.
The Fever responded in the third quarter, taking a 49-42 lead on Moore's two free throws. Chicago made just 3 of 11 shots from the field in the period.
``We have to play stronger and more physical,' Kraayeveld said. ``I think we let them effect us in the second half. We just have to come out and play better.'
The Associated Press News Service
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