On the night where the Indiana Fever retired their greatest player’s number, the emotions of the night was not enough to defeat the Los Angeles Sparks. Tamika Catchings’ halftime jersey retirement served as the night’s biggest attraction, but there was still a basketball game to be played.
The Fever’s Candice Dupree led all scorers in the first quarter with 10 points all coming from midrange shots. After quarter one the Fever led 23-20 with plenty of momentum coming from the largest crowd this season.
Indiana slightly spaced their lead with contributions from Briann January and Erica Wheeler as Candice Dupree began to struggle. The Sparks struggled shooting from the field in the first quarter but with Candace Parker leading the charge, the Sparks had the 46-40 lead at half.
Tamika Catchings’ halftime jersey retirement was the highlight for the rest of the night for the Fever. With players and coaches from the past and present on hand, Indianapolis and the basketball world celebrated the career of one of the best to ever do it.
When the focus shifted back to the game it looked as if the Fever had left all of their energy at the ceremony going scoreless for the first six minutes of the third quarter. No one could send the ball through the cylinder as Nneke Ogumeke began to take over the game.
Scoring 7 of her 21 points in the third period, the Sparks had spaced their lead to 13 with a 65-52 lead. The Fever struggled to produce any offense to stay within striking distance going into the fourth.
In the final quarter the Sparks at one point owned a 20-point lead and never looked back. The game was never in doubt with the lead shrinking to 13 at its closest point, but still too much to overcome.
With the loss, the Fever fell below .500 with a 6-7 record and their second home loss of the season. The defeat also drops them to the eighth and final playoff spot. While there is plenty of time to improve, the Fever look to begin their climb back to the top in their next contest against the Chicago Sky.