Newark, NJ, United States (4E Sports) – The Indiana Fever lost a 17-point lead but recovered to beat the New York Liberty 73-67 Friday night at Pruddentiaal Center.
Tamika Catchings had 22 points and 10 rebounds while Shavonte Zellous scored 21 points for the Fever.
Zellous had eight points as the Fever opened a 14-0 lead while the Liberty missed its first five shots and had eight turnovers.
Cappie Pondexter ended Liberty’s scoring drought with a jumper with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
Karima Christmas scored a 3-pointer to give the Fever its largest lead at 21-4, with 3:57 left in the first.
The Liberty answered back with 14-2 run to pull to 29-26 on Pierson’s layup with 6:25 to go in the second.
But the Fever’s lead once again ballooned to eight in the third quarter.
New York answered back with Kelsey Bone scoring five consecutive points over a 54-second stretch to make it 47-46 with 3:09 remaining in the third.
After Zellous’ 3 put Indiana ahead 52-46 with 2:25 left in the third, the Liberty scored the next eight points, capped by Bone’s three-point play, to take their only lead of the game at 54-52.
But Catchings fired two 3s to lead a 10-0 run to give the Fever the lead for good.
The Liberty kept trying, and pulled within one point three times, the last at 68-67.
But their hopes were doused with Fever’s five-point blast to end the game.
Cappie Pondexter had a chance to tie it with about 45 seconds left but her long jumper from the left corner rimmed in and out of the basket.
Bone scored 11 of her 13 points in the third quarter for the Liberty (11-18), who came back from their big first-quarter deficit to take a 54-52 lead heading to the fourth.
With the win, the Fever (13-15) pulled one-half game behind Washington for third place in the Eastern Conference.
The Fever also increased their lead over fifth-place New York to 2 1/2 games for the conference’s final playoff position.