So much for stealing one on the opposition’s home court.
After controlling the game for much of the night, the Indiana Fever let the Phoenix Mercury off the hook in overtime and came up on the short end of a 120-116 score in game one of the WNBA Finals.
On a night when the record for most points combined in an game would fall, it was the defensive lapses that cost Indiana the contest, and prevented them from stealing game one and establishing the all important momentum they will need to win the WNBA Championship.
With both teams displaying an upbeat tempo, the Fever raced to a 29-19 lead in the first quarter, only to allow Phoenix a 12- 2 run to end the period tied at 31.
The Mercury would go on to lead at halftime by a count of 56-53, courtesy of 18 first half points from Penny Taylor who had her way with the numerous defenders who tried to stop her.
The battle for supremacy would continue in the third stanza, as the Fever behind the superlative offensive efforts of Ebony Hoffman and Katie Douglas, produced a surge that would give Indiana a six point lead at the end of three periods.
But Phoenix would rally and draw even in the fourth quarter
paced by league MVP Diana Taurasi and Cappy Pondexter and the Mercury would pull ahead by three late, setting up a dramatic three point basket by Douglas with just seven seconds remaining in regulation to force the game in to overtime.
The Mercury behind seven points in the overtime session from Pondexter would prevail, and lay claim to a victory that had Indiana’s name written all over it.
Notes: There were 19 lead changes in the game and the score was tied 13 different times as well.
Twelve of Phoenix’s 34 rebounds came on the offensive glass and contributed to a outlandish 24 second chance points.
Katie Douglas tallied 30 points for the Fever and Ebony Hoffman added 27. Hoffman shot an incredible 12 for 14 from the floor while also pulling down eight rebounds.
Fever superstar Tamika Catchings struggled all night and fouled out with just eight points. She did however manage six rebounds and five assists on a night when she clearly could not find her rhythm.
Phoenix was led by Penny Taylor and Cappy Pondexter who each had 23 points, while Diana Taurasi pumped in 22 points to go along with nine rebounds and six assists.
Game two is Thursday Oct. 1 and can be seen on ESPN2 with a 9 p.m. EST tipoff.
Danny Bridges, who has seen a lot of men’s playoff games that were not nearly as entertaining as this one between the Fever and the Mercury, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or Bridgeshd@aol.com.