Big Nights by Chelsea Gray and Teaira McCowan Highlight 87-83 Battle in Indy
Chelsea Gray's 20 points in the third period matched the second-highest figure in WNBA history for a single-quarter. She tied the WNBA mark with five 3-pointers in the Sparks' decisive third quarter. She finished 7-of-9 overall beyond the arc, matching franchise marks for 3-pointers made by the Sparks and against Indiana.
Teaira McCowan's 24-point, 10-rebound double-double represented her third straight game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. The only other time in Fever history that a player has managed three straight 20/10 games was Tamika Catchings during a similar August run during her rookie campaign in 2002. In three successive games, McCowan has posted totals of 22/19, 24/17 and 24/10. On Aug. 6, 7 and 9 of 2002, Catchings had games of 28/10, 32/12 and 21/12.
The Sparks overcame a +27 free throw differential by the Fever by shooting 48 percent from the floor and 10-of-16 from 3-point range. Indiana made 29 of 36 free throws. L.A. made 7 of 9. It was the largest free throw differential in the WNBA since 2015.
Los Angeles had 33 points at halftime and doubled that figure with 33 in the third quarter.
The Sparks managed an 18-4 run between the third and fourth quarters that turned their early deficit into an 11-point advantage at 73-62.
L.A. cut into Indiana's early lead by scoring 10 of the first 12 points after halftime including eight points from Chelsea Gray. A 12-3 run out of the locker room knotted the score for the first time since the first period. The Sparks outscored Indiana 33-20 in the third, shooting 6-of-7 from 3-point range to take their first lead of the contest. The Sparks led 66-62 after a dominant third quarter.
A basket by Candice Dupree and five straight Fever free throws helped Indiana to seven unanswered points while assuming a 17-9 lead late in the first quarter.
The Sparks drew within 27-23 before Indiana stretched its lead to double figures with five straight points from Kelsey Mitchell, a layin from Teaira McCowan and another pair of free throws from Kennedy Burke. Indiana's 13-point margin was its largest of the game with 4:57 left before halftime.
Indiana (11-20) was eliminated from playoff contention, falling for the first time in three games as the Sparks (19-11) stayed in contention for a first-round bye when the WNBA playoffs begin in two weeks.
Teaira McCowan's 24 points matched her season high for the third time as a rookie. She scored 20 or more points for the third straight game, the longest streak by a Fever player since Tamika Catchings in 2011. The Indiana record is four straight games, by Catchings in 2010.
McCowan's three consecutive double-doubles ties a franchise record owned by Catchings (three times) and Natalie Williams. The last time an Indiana player had three straight double-doubles was Catchings in 2007.
McCowan's 10 rebounds moved her season total to 272, tying Catchings (2003) for the third-best figure in club history. McCowan is just five rebounds from breaking Catchings' rookie record of 276 in 2002. McCowan also moved to No. 8 in WNBA history by a rooki (behind Catchings at No. 7 in 2002).
Candice Dupree shot 8-of-17 from the floor to move past Tina Thompson into the No. 2 spot for career field goals in WNBA history (2,632). She added 17 points in the loss.
McCowan's 12 made free throws were a season high.
Kelsey Mitchell scored 16 points off the bench and added six rebounds and five assists.
LOS ANGELES NOTES:
Los Angeles has won three of its past four games while staying in contention for a first-round playoff bye. The Sparks beat the Fever for the second time in a week and swept the season series, 3-0.
Gray's career high in points (30) featured the following: (1) Tied franchise record for 3s in one game; (2) most points in a quarter in franchise history; (3) tied second-most points in a quarter in WNBA history; (4) tied WNBA record for most 3-pointers in a single quarter; (5) most 3s in a quarter in franchise history
Head Coach Pokey Chatman
"I told the players that I thought they weathered the storm when the momentum first started to shift. But L.A.'s a veteran team who just rode that momentum harder and when they started hitting all those 3-pointers, there was a seismic shift in that momentum."
"We were a plus on the boards, we took care of the basketball and we played with another person down [Natalie Achonwa]. People stepped up. We did a lot of positive things, but it's tough to enjoy them after a tough loss. But we got better again and I like where we are going."
(on rest of season)
"We're going to continue to grow some of our own momentum all the way to the last game of the season."
(On her double double)
"It's a good feeling, but at the same time wish we could have gotten the win."
(Were the Sparks aggressive underneath the basket?)
"It was an aggressive game. But I knew going in it was going to be aggressive. It's an athletic team. I knew all that was coming down the pike so I tried just not to play into it and try to just keep a cool head and keep playing."
(On scoring 16 points off the bench)
"I just try to pick up where the team leaves off. Usually, as always, our group gets off to a good start. So, my job and my role is to come off the bench and give a pick me up. Never let it be a fallback. Pick up the pace and kind of just play my game."
LOS ANGELES QUOTES:
Head Coach Derek Fisher
"Indiana's played well in the last few weeks. Pokey (Chatman) is not a quitter, so her team hasn't quit. They've played real well. Gotten some confidence. McCowan (Teaira) is getting better. Burke (Kennedy) is getting better. So, we weren't surprised we had to fight for this game. Proud of our team and just sticking with it. It's hard to win on the road in this league, it really is. And they stuck together. There was a point there in the second quarter with six minutes to go, we were down 11, getting towards the end of a road trip, they're tired, they're fatigued, they could have given in. but they kept playing, stayed together. So just proud of them as a coach."
(What started working for you in the second half?)
"Once we were able to get stops, we were able to play in transition and we got them on their heels a little bit. And we were able to set good screens. We were flowing and popping and it's always nice when the rim starts looking a little bigger. You start getting into a flow once we're able to get those stops down the stretch."
(On getting ready for the playoffs)
"Stay consistently focused. Defensively we were able to get stops. Once we're able to do that and flow in transitions, it's a very difficult game for the opponents. When we're not getting those stops, we have to set up in the half court. We can find our rhythm that way. But we play best once we're able to do that and then flow and everything goes from there.
(What started working for you in the third quarter?)
"I thought we were able to string together stops. You know a lot of times we kind of struggle with maintaining our rhythm in the game, when we can't get stops. And we were able to really stick to our schemes and our defensive foundation and get stops which allowed us to kind of create that space in the third quarter."
(On the physical play)
"At this point it's going to be physical from here on out. You're at the point in the season where people are really fighting for life or death. So, we just have to maintain our composure as best we can and play aggressive."
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Women's National Basketball Association Stories from August 29, 2019
- Ogunbowale Pours in 35, Reaches 500 Career Points in Win at Chicago - Dallas Wings
- Big Nights by Chelsea Gray and Teaira McCowan Highlight 87-83 Battle in Indy - Indiana Fever
- Sparks Beat Fever on Road, Chelsea Gray Scores Career-High 30 - Los Angeles Sparks
- Mercury Clinch 2019 WNBA Playoff Berth - Phoenix Mercury
- Azura Stevens Undergoes Successful Foot Surgery - Dallas Wings
- Lynx Sign Forward Bridget Carleton - Minnesota Lynx
- Wings Sign Karlie Samuelson - Dallas Wings
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