It was an all-Eastern affair in the WNBA last night. The significantly more appetising game of the two available was in Connecticut, where Indiana were the visitors. While Indiana have lost a few games lately, and Chicago’s hot start has pushed their name into the conversation, the Sun and Fever remain two primary candidates for the Eastern crown. They’d already met once this season, and on that occasion hot shooting from Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas hadn’t been enough to hold off a balanced Connecticut attack. Given the significant possibility that these teams might see each other in the postseason, Indiana won’t want to allow the Sun to dominate the regular season series and build up a mental edge over them.
Erin Phillips was back from her European trip with the Australian national team, but Briann January retained her spot in the starting lineup. For Connecticut it was once again Allison Hightower and Kalana Greene ahead of Danielle McCray on the perimeter.
As in the first game between these teams, Connecticut’s balance gave them an advantage early on. It was 11-2 midway through the first, and each of the Sun’s starters had one basket apiece. Catchings was trying to shoot her team into the game from outside early on, and while Catch can get hot out there, that’s rarely going to be a good choice.
Both of these teams thrive on creating offense from their defense, turning poke aways and steals into quick points back the other way. It kept the pace of the game high while everyone looked to sneak in front and take the ball away. The Sun dominated much of the first half, receiving a surprising level of scoring from players like Hightower and Greene to complement the usual sources. But a late run for the Fever was ignited by defense and January’s scoring, and allowed them to trail only 45-39 at halftime.
The Fever kept hanging around in the second half, with Douglas and Phillips hitting some big shots, and Jessica Davenport carrying over her solid play from the Fever’s previous game (the last one was against Chicago and Fowles, this one versus Connecticut and Charles – maybe Jess just needs a real challenge every night to excel). Phillips hit a deep three late in the third quarter to give Indiana their first lead of the night.
Still, the Fever’s most effective method of offense remained creating turnovers, so when Connecticut managed to take care of the ball they were typically in control. Continue reading