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Sky struggles without Elena Delle Donne in loss to Fever

Updated: September 5, 2013 7:10AM



INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead to lead the defending-champion Fever to a 79-58 win over the short-handed Chicago Sky on Saturday night.

Karima Christmas scored 12 points, including two timely 3-pointers in the third quarter for the Fever (9-10). Catchings also had five steals and four blocked shots.

“I thought we did a really good job as a team of just continuing to push forward no matter what,” Catchings said. “Offensively we were able to go off of our defense. That’s the kind of defense that we need consistently.”

Courtney Vandersloot had 11 points to lead the Sky (13-6), who were without leading-scorer Elena Delle Donne due to a concussion for the second straight game.

Without their star rookie, Chicago struggled to generate enough offense to stay with the Fever.

“Tough loss for us,” Vandersloot said. “They outhustled us and outworked us. It really showed in our shots and on the scoreboard and throughout the game.”

The Sky shot just 33 percent from the field and turned the ball over 14 times. When Indiana opened the second half on a 7-0 run to build a 15-point lead, the Sky couldn’t recover.

The Fever blew a late 16-point lead at Connecticut on Thursday, and they were determined not to let a collapse happen for the second consecutive game.

“We were just really focused,” Catchings said. “As a team, when you look at a game like that with a game you know you should have won, we knew that we had to come in and go really hard.”

Indiana wasn’t exactly feeling sorry for the Sky and their injury situation. The Fever have yet to play a game with their full roster this season, but they’re slowly starting to get healthy.

Jeanette Pohlen played for the first time this year against the Sky, giving coach Lin Dunn an additional player off the bench. Pohlen scored seven points in 16 minutes in her season debut.

After starting the season 1-7, the Fever have won eight of their last 11 to move into third place in the Eastern Conference.

“It was great to have 10 players,” Dunn said. “When we get some of our people back and we don’t have to play people extra, extra minutes, we can play pretty good. When we went to Connecticut, we had one player backing up three on the perimeter. It makes a huge difference when you’ve got some subs.”

Chicago guard Epiphanny Prince to seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.



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