Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

June 30, 2013

Catchings leads Fever past Shock

INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings scored a season-high 28 points after missing two games because of a lower back injury, helping the defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever beat the Tulsa Shock 80-69 on Friday night to snap a seven-game losing streak.

"The last couple of months have been rough as far as just dealing with my back and stuff," Catchings said. "The rest really helped. ... I feel like my old self out there. Able to move, not feeling so stiff.

"We have to continue to look at it every day. It's going to be a work in progress. Not back to 100 percent, but I feel a lot better than I have the last couple months. ... I don't plan on missing any more games."

Catchings also had six steals. Karima Christmas had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Fever (2-7), and Shavonte Zellous added 10 points.

"It was really, really great to see Catch play with so much energy," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "She looked 25 instead of in her 30s."

Nicole Powell had a season-high 21 points for the Shock (3-11), including 19 in the first half. She entered the game averaging 8.7 points. Riquna Williams added 16 points, and Glory Johnson had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Former Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins returned to her home state for the first time after being drafted No. 3 overall. She received a thunderous welcome during the pregame introductions, but scored her lone points on a 12-foot jumper with 34.7 seconds left in the game.

The crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse was thrilled to see Diggins back in the building where she played in three high school state title games for South Bend Washington and the 2011 Final Four with the Irish.

"It felt good to see some familiar faces in the crowd - my family and friends and the Notre Dame fans. It just feels great to have that kind of support," Diggins said. "I have a lot of great memories in this building."

The Shock jumped out to an 8-0 lead as Powell couldn't miss early. That would be the largest lead of the game for the visitors. The Fever used a 10-0 run to go up 33-27 in the second quarter and Briann January's buzz-beater capped a 6-0 run to give Indiana a 39-33 halftime lead.

The Fever shot 45 percent from the field, and the Shock finished at 38.5 percent.

"Indiana was a desperate and hungry team," Shock coach Gary Koppenburg said. "Getting Catchings back gave them a boost. They were the most aggressive team and outplayed us."

Diggins added, "We've got to step it up on defense and take some pride in our defense."

Notes: The Fever's 17-point lead late in the third quarter was their largest lead of the season. ... Shock center Liz Cambage played 18:31 in her first game back after missing eight because of an ankle injury. The 6-foot-8 center had 10 points and seven rebounds.

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