Thought it might be nice to have one big regular season thread for the Feverwhere we can post about whatever games, players, or trends interest us.
Fever defeat NY Liberty 78-73
This was a good game, Zellous was excellent on both sides of the floor, Catch had an elite all-around game, low turnovers, and Katie Douglas was out there shooting 3's well beyond the NBA line. We've outscored our last two opponents 60-34 in the paint.
Little worried about the injury to Tully. Hope it doesn't keep her out more than a game or two.
by Tom Rietmann | June 5, 2010
It was a fiercely contested and physical game – perfect, in other words, for the unflinching style of Shavonte Zellous.
Zellous, Indiana's newest player, turned in a second half to be remembered Saturday night as she led the Fever to a 78-73 victory over the New York Liberty at Conseco Fieldhouse. She led the Fever in scoring as well as tough-mindedness, especially in the second half. Nineteen of her game-high 23 points came after halftime, including nine of Indiana's first 10 in the fourth quarter, as the Fever pulled away from a stubborn New York team.
“I like some aggression,” said Zellous, acquired three games ago from Tulsa for a 2011 second-round draft pick. “I enjoyed this game.”
And Fever coach Lin Dunn enjoyed having Zellous on hand to help the Fever move to 4-3 ahead of Sunday's game at Minnesota.
“I guess you can see why we're excited to get Shavonte Zellous,” Dunn said. “She stepped up big for us off the bench. I thought she did a really good job defending, too.”
Zellous, a second-year player from Pittsburgh who can substitute at both guard positions and small forward, hit 10-of-12 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter. Her slashing, driving style gets her to the line often. She has connected on 18-of-21 free throws since joining the Fever.
“As the days go by, I'm getting more comfortable with everything,” said Zellous, whose 23 points were the fourth-highest total ever for a Fever player off the bench. “With the team, the schemes, everything, I'm just feeling more at home.”
New York (2-4) sliced Indiana's lead to 74-70 when Cappie Poindexter hit a 3-pointer with 23.7 seconds left.
But then Zellous, after taking an inadvertent elbow in the face, extended the lead to six with a pair of free throws. Ebony Hoffman added two more free throws after New York made it 76-73 with 13.1 seconds left.
Counting the playoffs, it was Indiana's 15th straight home victory in the series against New York.
“I thought we showed a lot of poise and toughness,” Dunn said. “You knew they were going to make a run. They're too talented. We were relentless in our desire not to lose.”
While Zellous controlled the second half for Indiana, Katie Douglas led the Fever in the first 20 minutes. She hit 4-of-6 three pointers before halftime and ended with a 5-of-9 mark from the arc and 19 points. Douglas has hit 11-of-19 treys in the last three games after a slow start.
“I've just gotten into a little of a rhythm,” Douglas said. “It feels good. Teammates are doing a great job of finding me, and I'm trying to find the soft spots and get them in.”
However, it was a fast-break layup by Douglas that brought a crowd of 8,090 to its feet in the third quarter.
With 7 minutes left, Tamika Catchings dribbled full-speed toward the basket when she saw Douglas trailing her. Catchings flipped a no-look pass and Douglas scooped it in.
“I saw Katie coming out of the corner of my eye,” said Catchings, who had a game-high nine assists to go with 14 points and seven rebounds. “She was wide open and I got her the ball.”
Douglas and Catchings played for the same team in Turkey this past winter, a time they used to enhance their compatibility on the floor.
“I think that just goes back to us being in sync,” Douglas said. “She had a tremendous game with assists. We just kind of made eye contact on that play, and it worked from there. We played all offseason together and I think we have a connection. It definitely was an awesome look.”
In the final minute of the game, Fever point guard Tully Bevilaqua limped to the bench. With starter Briann January already out with a sprained knee, the Fever are in danger of being without a true point guard. Douglas, normally a shooting guard, has been seeing a lot of action at the point because of January's injury.
“I hope it's a minor sprain; (it's) some kind of foot sprain,” Dunn said Bevilaqua's injury. “The good news is, you're seeing that Zellous is also helping us some there (at point guard). We're giving her as many minutes as we can so we have another combo guard.”
-- January, who has missed three games with her knee injury, continues to improve, Dunn said. January could possibly return by next weekend's two games against Connecticut.