July 27, 2014

The Indiana Fever enter the second half of the WNBA season on the fringe of a playoff spot.

That is not great news as Indiana tries to get forward Tamika Catchings into the postseason in her 16th and final season in the league.

The worse news: Indiana has yet to play the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Sparks (16-1) and Fever (7-10) will play the first of three meetings this season Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

"Just focus on the Fever, focusing on those details," Indiana guard Shenise Johnson told WNBA.com about the matchup. "If we do that, we should take care of business."

Easier said than done against the Sparks, who shoot league highs from the field (49.1 percent) and 3-point range (39 percent), while holding opponents to a league-low 72.5 points per game.

While the Fever battle for one of eight spots in the 12-team league, the Sparks sit at the top, having tied the 1998 Houston Comets for the best 17-game start in league history.

Los Angeles is coming off a 77-67 home victory over the New York Liberty on Sunday. Forward Nneka Ogwumike continued to make her MVP case with 22 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots in the battle of conference leaders.

Ogwumike is averaging 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while shooting 69.9 percent from the field.

The Sparks have a second MVP candidate in center Candace Parker (16.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game). Guard Kristi Toliver has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league (3.7-to-1) on a well-balanced team.

Indiana, which is starting a three-game road trip, is led in scoring by Catchings at 13.7 points per game. Guard Tiffany Mitchell is averaging 11.2 points per game. Center Erlana Larkins is coming off a 16-point, 17-rebound performance in the team's 87-85 overtime loss to San Antonio on Friday night.

Indiana has re-signed guard Jeanette Pohlen, who was waived in camp. Pohlen, who had been with the Fever since coming out of Stanford in 2011, could add an outside threat to a team that shoots 28.5 percent behind the arc, 11th in the WNBA.

Pohlen is a career 42.5 percent shooter on 3-point attempts.

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