Catchings' 28 points lifts Fever past Sky in OT

  • Indiana Fever's Briann January drives to the basket against Chicago Sky's Cathrine Kraayeveld during the first half.

    Indiana Fever's Briann January drives to the basket against Chicago Sky's Cathrine Kraayeveld during the first half. Associated Press

Updated 5/22/2010 11:32 PM

There was a large, enthusiastic crowd.

There was hot shooting and flashes of tough, gritty defense.


There was a pretty hook shot in the waning seconds that tied the game and sent it to overtime.

As far as the Chicago Sky was concerned, its home opener and first-ever game at Allstate Arena on Saturday night had just about everything it could want.

Except for a win.

The Sky and Indiana Fever one-upped each other offensively from start to finish Saturday night and were forced to work extra when Sylvia Fowles delighted a record-setting crowd of 6,477 by hitting a running baby hook with 14 seconds left. That knotted the scored to force five extra minutes.

But the Sky, with a few costly defensive lapses in crunch time that led to easy Fever layups, didn't have enough left in the tank to finish the job.

The Fever got a game-high 28 points from Chicago native Tamika Catchings, a onetime prep star at Stevnson High School, and escaped with a 92-86 overtime victory.

"It's very frustrating," Fowles said of falling short. "We did some things at the end of the game defeneively that we weren't doing the whole game. We were kind of guessing on some things, and it kind of caught up with us."

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The loss drops the Sky to 0-3 after losses on the road last weekend to start the WNBA season.

The Fever, which has started the last two seasons 0-2, improved to 1-2 and is hoping this is the start of a rebound that mimics the one it put together last year. Indiana, which went on to win 11 straight, wound up as Eastern Conference champs.

"Our players really rose to the occasion," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "It was a good win for us because Chicago is so really good."

The Sky and the Fever don't have much time to make adjustments - they'll go back at it today in Indianapolis at Conseco Fieldhouse (5 p.m., Comcast CN100).

"It showed tonight that we're just right there, and play or two away," said Fowles, who finished with a team-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. "We're not going to let each other get down, that's one of our goals. You've got to stick with it through the whole season."

The Sky, which shot a blistering 56.7 from the field in the first half to keep pace with the Fever (58.1), couldn't find the same kind of touch in overtime. While the Fever stayed hot at 67 percent, the Sky hit just 3 of 7 field goals (43 percent).


"We fell in love with the jump shot at the end when we should have been taking it to the hole and making something happen," Sky coach Steven Key said. "They were (driving to the basket) and they got to the line."

Indiana, which also got 20 points from reserve Shay Murphy, outscored the Sky 6-2 at the free throw line in overtime.

Sky rookie Epiphanny Prince gave Sky fans an eyeful in her Chicago debut with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

• Patricia Babcock McGraw, a former college basketball player at Northwestern, also works as the color commentator for Sky television broadcasts.