Catchings, Fever back in conference finals
Tamika Catchings became the all-time leading scorer in WNBA playoff history and the Indiana Fever advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals with an 81-76 overtime win in Game 2 of a the semifinals on Saturday against the Washington Mystics.
Catchings scored 26 points with 11 rebounds and passed Lisa Leslie for the most points in postseason history. Leslie, the Los Angeles Sparks great, held the mark with 908 points. Catchings now has 914 points in her playoff career and will look to increase that margin against the winner of the other semifinal between Chicago and Atlanta.
The Fever will be making their fourth consecutive appearance in the conference finals.
Briann January added 13 points, while Marissa Coleman and Karima Christmas contributed 10 in the win.
Kara Lawson deposited a season-high 20 points in a losing effort.
Catchings converted a layup with just over a minute remaining in the fourth to tie the game at 64-64. Ivory Latta knocked down a pair of free throws to put Washington back up on top with 21 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, January was fouled and calmly made a pair at the line.
January then dug in on the defensive end, contesting a jumper from Latta that was off the mark as the game headed to overtime.
Indiana went up four early in the extra session when Lawson nailed back-to- back 3-pointers for a 74-72 Washington lead. Catchings answered with a triple that helped her pass Leslie, then Erlana Larkins converted a layup to make it a three-point game.
After a couple of empty possessions from the Mystics, Catchings knocked down two free throws with 21 seconds left. She added another set of makes from the line following a Hartley layup to account for the final margin.
- No. 2-seeded Indiana will begin the East Finals next Saturday, Aug. 30, against either No. 4 seed Chicago at home, or on the road against No. 1 seed Atlanta.
- Indiana will attempt to advance to the WNBA Finals for the third time in franchise history (2009, 2012). Indiana was the 2012 WNBA champion.
- Indiana becomes one of three franchises in league history to reach the conference finals as many as seven times in a 10-year span, joining the New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks.
- Indiana has won at least one playoff game in a league-record eight straight seasons.
- Fever coach Lin Dunn has reached the WNBA Playoffs in seven consecutive seasons as head coach, the longest coaching streak in WNBA history.