There were two games on the slate in the WNBA on Saturday night. The Indiana Fever visited the New York Liberty while the Minnesota Lynx visited the Tulsa Shock. In both games, it was the road team that came out on top.
Indiana Dominates Third Quarter
The Fever exploded out of the locker room after halftime and outscored the Liberty 31-6 in the third quarter. Going into halftime, the Fever were only leading by three points. But after time to regroup and refocus, they turned up their play and grabbed the game in the third quarter.
In the impressive run, Erin Phillips scored 9 points, including a four-point play. Erlana Larkins, Tamika Catchings, and Layshia Clarendon all added 6 points.
This was only the second game that the Fever had Erin Phillips at their disposal. The sixth year veteran from Australia had missed the first elevn games with a torn right meniscus.
"Having Erin around has definitely helped up," says Tamika Catchings, the MVP from last year's finals. "When we kick it outside, she'll hit the shot."
Despite a shaky start, the Fever have been improving. They have now won four out of their last five and have clawed their way to just just a half a game behind the Liberty in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But with Jessica Breland and Katie Douglas still sidelined with injuries, the Fever are short handed. Once they get the second year forward and the thirteen year veteran back, they'll be a team to watch for.
Plenette Pierson led the Liberty with 12 points. Rookie Kelsey Bone added 10 points and 9 rebounds, just one rebound shy of a double-double, and superstar Cappie Pondexter added 10 points and was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.
The Fever's next game is on Friday, July 19th at 7 PM when the Washington Mysitcs visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Meanwhile, the New York Liberty have a matchup with the Chicago Sky on Thursday, July 18th at 11AM. Both games can be seen on WNBA Live Access.
Moore and Whalen Leads Minnesota Over Tulsa
Lindsay Whalen had a career high 25 points, with 11 in the third quarter, and Maya Moore added 22 as the Lynx played their forth game in just a week.
"We came out just as I [had] hoped. We played well all week and continued that tonight," commented coach Cheryl Reeve. "I liked our energy."
Along with leading the team in scoring, Moore and Whalen brought the energy and motivated their team to their fourth consecutive win.
Whalen said, "We pushed the tempo tonight and when we have better tempo, we have better shots."
The Lynx came out of the gates strong, hitting 10 of their first 14 shots. The Shock on the other hand, only hit 2 of their first 12. From that point on, the Lynx never looked back. The closest the Shock came was a Riquana Williams' jump shot to pull them within six points with 3:49 left before halftime. But Minnesota called a timeout and ended the half on a 10-2 run.
"I feel like we really battled these guys," said Tulsa head coach Gary Kloppenburg. "But we dug a hole in the first half and couldn't get out. We just finished playing the top two teams in the league (Los Angelos and Minnesota). We know there are things we can build on...[and] we have to keep getting better.
Williams led Tulsa with 22 points, 13 coming in the second quarter. Rookie Skylar Diggins was held scoreless for the first time in her young career and left the game with three minutes left in the game with an ankle injury. There is no news about the injury.
The Shock will try to improve upon their 3-13 record at Seattle on Wednesday, July 17th at 3PM. Minnesota will be visiting San Antonio on Friday, July 19th at 8PM. Both of these games can be watched on WNBA Live Access.