Posted: Aug 30, 2013 7:58 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2013 7:59 PM
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Tamika Catchings had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Shavonte Zellous scored 21 points and the Indiana Fever recovered after giving up a 17-point lead to beat the New York Liberty 73-67 on Friday night.
Indiana (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.
Kelsey 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.
Catchings then had two 3s during a 10-0 run over the first 3 minutes of the final quarter to help Indiana regain the lead for good. New York made another push, pulling within one three times the last on Katie Smith's jumper with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Fever then scored the last five points for the final margin.
Liberty leading scorer Cappie Pondexter finished with seven points on 1-for-13 shooting. She 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.
Zellous then made a layup with 27.5 seconds left to push the lead to 71-67 and Karima Christmas closed the scoring with a layup at the buzzer.
Indiana got off to a fast start while New York struggled with sloppy play. Zellous had eight points as the Fever opened a 14-0 lead before the Liberty finally got on the scoreboard. Pondexter's jumper with 5:30 left in the first quarter ended New York's opening stretch in which it missed its first five shots and had eight turnovers.
Christmas' 3-pointer with just under 4 minutes left in the period extended Indiana's lead to 21-4 the Fever's largest advantage of the game.
The Fever then went cold in the second quarter. DeLisha Milton-Jones made two free throws with 3.7 seconds left in the first quarter that started the Liberty on a 14-2 run to pull to 29-26 on Pierson's layup with 6:25 to go in the period.
The Fever pushed their lead to 38-32 on Catchings' 3 with 1:24 to go in the second quarter.
January's 3 in the opening minute of the third quarter extended the advantage to eight points.
New York tightened it again when Bone scored five consecutive points over a 54-second stretch to make it 47-46 with 3:09 remaining in the third. Pierson made two baskets 35 seconds apart to cut the deficit to 43-41 with about 5 1/2 minutes 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 to take their first lead of the game. Bone's three-point play tied the score with 1:31 remaining and her layup with 46 seconds left put New York ahead.