INDIANAPOLIS – The high-scoring Phoenix Mercury saved their season with defense.
The Indiana Fever led the WNBA finals series 2-1 and had a chance to clinch their first title in front of an active sellout crowd that included local celebrities such as Indianapolis Colts players Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. None of that mattered as the Mercury defeated the Fever 90-77 on Wednesday to tie the series and force Game 5 Friday in Phoenix.
Indiana shot 2 for 13 in the fourth quarter, stifling any chance it had of overcoming the 72-65 deficit it faced going into the period.
Indiana rookie reserve Briann January (Lewis and Clark High), whose quickness had been a matchup nightmare for the Mercury, shot 1 for 9 from the floor and finished with eight points.
Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi said stopping January was a key.
“In these games, we’ve struggled when everyone has gotten their points, especially Briann when she comes in and changes the game,” Taurasi said. “Sometimes you focus on certain things and you get them done.”