- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 20, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Fever found a winning combination - Tamika Catchings’ dominating offense and Tully Bevilaqua’s scrappy play.

The two led the Fever to an 81-74 overtime victory over the Washington Mystics on Saturday night to sweep their best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Washington, which made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, was outscored 12-5 in overtime.

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Catchings had 24 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, four steals and four blocked shots before a noisy Conseco Fieldhouse crowd of 9,655. Bevilaqua scored six of her 13 points and had three rebounds in overtime to spark the Fever, who travel to Detroit on Wednesday to start the conference finals.

Tammy Sutton-Brown scored 16 points and Katie Douglas 13 for Indiana, which made five of its first seven shots and then just 18 of 65 the rest of the way to finish at 32.4 percent.

“We did not shoot as well as we have in the past, but we found a way to win,” Fever coach Lin Dunn said.

Crystal Langhorne scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half to keep the Mystics in the game. Harding and Alana Beard scored 10 each for Washington, which lost Chasity Melvin and Nakia Sanford to fouls in the game’s waning minutes.

“Indiana got some very easy baskets in the paint in the fourth quarter, and that helped them to gain the momentum,” Washington’s Monique Currie said. “Indiana is a veteran team, and they were able to capitalize on our mistakes.”

Catchings, driving the lane, drew a foul and made two free throws to tie it at 69-69, with 2.6 seconds remaining in regulation.

“I’m a competitor,” Catchings said. “You’ve got to do what you can do to win the game. The biggest thing for us was we picked up our defensive intensity.”

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