Tamika Catchings, Fever hand Sparks 2nd straight loss

Indiana Fever's Tamika Catchings takes questions from the media, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Minneapolis as the team prepares for the decisive Game 5 of the WNBA basketball finals against the Minnesota Lynx. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tamika Catchings had 23 points and four steals to help the Indiana Fever hand the Los Angeles Sparks their first two-game losing streak of the season in a 92-82 victory Tuesday night.

Despite the loss, the Sparks clinched a playoff berth. It’s the fifth straight year that the team has reached the postseason. Los Angeles is still looking for its first championship since the franchise won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002.

Catchings made steals on consecutive Los Angeles possessions, leading to Erica Wheeler’s give-and-go layup and Lynetta Kizer’s baseline jumper for an 86-70 lead. Kristi Toliver hit her fourth 3-pointer of the fourth quarter to pull Los Angeles to 90-82 with 56.2 seconds left, but Catchings made two free throws on the other end.

After starting the season with 20 wins in their first 21 games, the top-ranked Sparks have lost two in a row.

Toliver finished with 18 points for Los Angeles (20-3). Nneka Ogwumike had 16 points and 14 rebounds for her 12th double-double and Candace Parker added 15 points.

Kizer and Wheeler each scored 14 points for Indiana (11-12), which is ranked No. 6 in the AP poll. Briann January added 12 points and nine assists.

Wheeler scored six points in the final 2 minutes of the first half, including a driving layup with 1.9 seconds left for a 49-40 lead. Indiana led the entire second half.

Comments are closed.