Catchings, Coleman lead Fever past Storm
SEATTLE (AP) Tamika Catchings stood speechless for a moment in the Indiana Fever locker room after her teammates yelled and cheered when told the star forward had moved into third place on the WNBA's career scoring list.
''Wow, I don't know,'' Catchings said about her reaction. ''That's cool for me. It'd be great to have that and another championship.''
Catchings and Marissa Coleman each scored 16 points to help the Fever beat the Seattle Storm 76-67 Thursday night.
Catchings, who now has 6,454 points, came in trailing Katie Smith by 14. Catchings made two free throws with 1:44 remaining to tie Smith, and then two more with 13.9 seconds to move ahead. Tina Thompson is No. 1 with 7,488, and Phoenix's Diana Taurasi is next at 6,642.
Coleman helped lead the cheers for Catchings.
''Coming into this season and being a new member of the team, playing with her is one of the things I was most excited about,'' Coleman said. ''I've admired her from afar for a long time from growing up to my professional career, so to be able to play with her and learn from her and be with her for some of these milestones is very special.''
Briann January scored 12 points and Shavonte Zellous had 11 for Indiana (13-14), which had lost four of six. The Fever moved into a tie with Washington for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 20 points to lead Seattle (9-20), which has lost seven straight. The Storm, who have a WNBA-record 10 consecutive postseason appearances, dropped four games behind Los Angeles for the Western Conference's fourth and final playoff berth with only five games left.
The game marked the final night for Storm CEO Karen Bryant, 46, who announced in January that July 31 would be her final day after 15 years with the organization. Thompson was among the former Storm players who returned to send off Bryant.
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who lives on nearby Mercer Island, watched the game from a baseline seat
The Storm led 55-51 early in the fourth before Indiana rallied behind Coleman and Catchings, who scored eight and seven, respectively, in the final period.
''I thought we did a really good job keeping our poise and composure in crunch time,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn said. ''We just did some things we needed to do. We got some stops on the defensive end, we executed the sets we wanted to run down the stretch and we got to the free-throw line and hit the free throws.''
Indiana shot 16 of 17 on free throws, including 6 of 6 by Catchings. The Storm made only 5 of 12 from the line.
''We aren't making enough winning plays,'' Storm coach Brian Agler said. ''Winning plays don't mean making shots. Winning plays for example is the steal that Tanisha (Wright) got and shot the layup. Getting a key defensive stop down the stretch and not getting mixed up on a baseline out-of-bounds play and giving up the layup, those are the kinds of mistakes we are making.