Ice-cold Sky ousted from playoffs with 79-57 loss to Fever
ASSOCIATED PRESS September 22, 2013 6:40PM
Chicago Sky forward Elena Dell Donne (11) puts up a shot over the defense of Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings (24) during the first half of Game 2 of the WNBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal series, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Updated: September 29, 2013 4:01PM
INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and the defending champion Indiana Fever eliminated the Sky from the WNBA playoffs with a 79-57 victory Sunday. The Fever won the best-of-three series 2-0 to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Erlana Larkins added 14 points and Shavonte Zellous 10 for the Fever, which will play the Atlanta Dream or Washington Mystics in Game 1 of the conference
The Fever was the only team with a losing record to reach the playoffs, but it had the Sky’s number this season. Including the postseason, the Fever was 5-1 against the Sky.
‘‘What we did in the regular season really doesn’t matter,’’ Fever coach Lin Dunn said. ‘‘I think the upper hand we had was experience — postseason experience, championship experience. Don’t underestimate the value of that.’’
The Sky, which had the best record in the conference during the regular season at 24-10, missed its first six shots from the field but took an early 6-3 lead by going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. But Catchings scored six consecutive points to give the Fever a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Sylvia Fowles led the Sky with 14 points. Epiphanny Prince and Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne added 10 points each, but Delle Donne was scoreless in the second half.
The Sky, which made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, shot only 17-for-57 from the field (29.8 percent).
‘‘I’m looking at some areas of play where we were absolutely dominated,’’ Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. ‘‘It manifests itself in stagnating offensively.’’