UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Indiana lost a star early in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Fever never lost their confidence.
Tamika Catchings scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Fever into the WNBA Finals for the second time in four seasons with an 87-71 win over the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night.
The Fever, who have won four games while facing elimination during the playoffs, routed the Sun even after leading scorer Katie Douglas went down with an ankle injury just 5 minutes into the game.
“When Katie went down, you could just see the fire in everybody’s eyes,” coach Lin Dunn said. “We just took it to a whole ’nother level. We could have folded up our little tent and gone home when one of our big guns got hurt. But we didn’t.”
Douglas had been the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs, and had 51 points in the first two games of this series. The bench picked up the slack with 32 points, led by Erin Philips who had 15. The Fever hit 10 3-pointers, including their first seven.
“Everyone just stepped up,” Phillips said. “We showed a lot of poise and were aggressive. It was just an awesome team game.”
Briann January (Lewis and Clark HS) added 12 points for Indiana.
League MVP Tina Charles led the Sun with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kara Lawson added 16 points.
Indiana will play at defending WNBA champion Minnesota, which swept Los Angeles in the Western Conference, in Game 1 of the best-of-5 finals on Sunday.
The Fever were up 9-4 when Douglas missed a driving off-balance jumper in the lane, came down on the foot of the Sun’s Tan White and rolled her left ankle. She was taken to a hospital for X-rays. Dunn had no update after the game.