Fever beat Liberty 70-66
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Marissa Coleman reached the 1,000-point milestone in her career at an opportune time for the Indiana Fever.
The fifth-year player hit two free throws with 7.8 seconds left, giving her 1,001 points in her career, to seal the 70-66 victory for the Fever over the New York Liberty on Saturday night.
''I was not aware of the milestone,'' Coleman, who finished with 11 points said. ''More importantly we got the tough win against a conference opponent.''
The Fever (3-3) have been in a lot of tight games so far this season. Four of its first six games have been decided by five points or less. Indiana has won three straight now after dropping its first three games to open the season.
''I thought it was a really good win for us at home against a really good team,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn, who earned her 200th win as a professional coach said. ''But, at the end of the day, the game came down to the wire and we stepped up and hit our free throws.''
Indiana entered the game ranked last in the league in converting free throws, making just under 68 percent, but that is what put the Fever over the hump for the 12th and final lead change of the night.
The back-and-forth battle had 14 ties and 12 lead changes before Indiana took a 68-66 lead on two free throws by Karima Christmas with 28 seconds left. Cappie Pondexter missed a jumper with 8 seconds left before Coleman's free throws.
''It was a hard fought battle,'' Liberty forward Plenette Pierson said. ''That's what we expect coming into Indiana. They have great players and they play well together. It came down to the wire and they made big shots and got big rebounds whey they needed to.''
Briann January led Indiana with 20 points. It was her third 20-point game of the season and just her seventh in her five-year career. She also had seven assists and four steals.
''My teammates are finding me,'' January said with a laugh about her scoring surge this season.'' That is always a plus. I am just trying to be available.''
Indiana was still missing Tamika Catchings, who has been sidelined with a back injury this season. The Fever are 13-22 in games without the 13-year veteran since 2006.
''We are a work in progress,'' Dunn said. ''Sometime we pull ahead and we then shoot ourselves in the foot when we sub. We make some knucklehead mistakes, but overall we played hard in crunch time.''