INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - After losing back to back games on the road, the Indiana Fever were glad to be back home.
Jessica Davenport scored 20 points and had five rebounds to lead the Fever in a 77-63 victory over the Chicago Sky on Thursday night. Indiana snapped a three-game skid and moved one-half game ahead of Connecticut for first place in the Eastern Conference.
``It's always nice to be at home and to have that home crowd behind us,' Davenport said. ``I thought our road trip was pretty tough, but we had a great practice yesterday and everyone had energy. I think just being at home helped a lot.'
The Fever lost by five points at Connecticut on Sunday and then by 10 at Atlanta on Tuesday.
Davenport came off the bench for the second straight game. She started her first game with the fever on June 25 and was in the starting rotation for eight straight games. But Davenport says she still is entering each game with the same goal.
``My role hasn't changed,' she said. ``They still want me to be a presence down low whatever game we play or whoever we play against.'
Tamika Catchings had 13 points and Tangela Smith added 10 for the Fever (11-6. Katie Douglas added nine points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
``We came out real focused tonight,' Catchings said. ``What we wanted to do was attack and score in transition. Between transition offense and even transition defense and on the boards, we talked about that. Between the three things we did a great job and got the `W.''
The win was Indiana's seventh straight against Chicago and the Fever improved to 18-4 all-time against the Sky.
Sylvia Fowles, who leads the league in scoring, had 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting.
``We never bounced back when they went on their run,' Fowles said. ``We didn't do what we needed to do. We never got into a groove offensively.'
Fowles attacked in the paint on several plays until the Fever made her more of a focal point on defense.
``We had a really good effort being disruptive on defense tonight,' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. ``Sylvia had 21, but it was a hard 21. I thought we fought her and made her work hard.'
Fowles,third in the league in rebounding, had just one against the Fever. Erin Thorn had 15 points and Epiphanny Prince added 12 for the Sky (8-9).
The Fever ended the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 41-27 lead when Shannon Bobbitt and Douglas each hit a 3-pointer and Smith scored under the basket.
Bobbitt played a season-high 23 minutes, scoring seven points and committing five turnovers.
Catchings and Davenport each scored seven points in the third quarter to help Indiana extend the advantage to 61-43. Catchings hit a 3-ponter early to add a 15-point cushion at one point in the third. Davenport scored five points from the line in the quarter and had a layup at the end of the quarter to put the Fever up by 18.
Chicago only lead once in the game, early in the first quarter when they took a 5-3 lead for one possession.
``They came out like a team that lost a few and needed the win,' Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. ``We're at the turning point where we need to grow up, step up and recognize opportunities. It's mental to physical. We played like a young team.'
The Associated Press News Service
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