Douglas sparks balance as Fever advance to conference finals

INDIANAPOLIS - Its conceivable that Sunday was one of the less productive of her 407 career WNBA games.

Katie Douglas played just 18 minutes in Game 2 of the Fever's Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in Atlanta against the Dream, scoring just three of the team's 103 points in a win over the Dream.

It was a far cry from the 15.1 points a contest she averaged during the regular season-the most for Douglas since 2009. 

"I definitely didn't put my best effort on Sunday and my teammates really stepped up for me and were able to contribute," said Douglas of the game.

On Tuesday night, she would return the favor. This time it was the forward who got the team rolling another step closer to the WNBA Championship.

Douglas scored a game-high 24 points, including 16 in the first half, to help the Fever past the Dream 75-64 Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final series.

"I had a lot of energy," said Douglas of the performance. "My teammate just encouraging me, setting me screens, coach running stuff for me. I'm a shooter, I'm a scorer. If they give me an open look I'm going to take it."

Her quick burst help to spark the rest of the team and fuel a balanced Indiana attack. Three other Fever players-Tamika Catchings, Briann January and Erlana Larkins-scored 16 points a piece to earn Indiana's second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals berth.

"That's what we needed from her," said Catchings of Douglas. "I was happy to see her come out and be more aggressive. We got her open and she was knocking down her open shots and that's really important."

Douglas mostly found the range early in the first quarter when she hit all three shots she took from the field to help the Fever go up by eight. Atlanta kept things close for the second and third quarters but Douglas helped to break things open in the fourth.

Up just three going into the final ten minutes, she hit a lay-up and three-pointer to push the lead to ten and the Fever never looked back.

"I felt good tonight, the ball was coming off my hands well," said Douglas, who finished 9-of-19 from the field including 3-of-6 from behind the arc. "Again I think that comes back to my experience in the playoffs and being a professional for so many years and being in this moment."

Doing so around here was January who in the fourth quarter poured in seven points while using her defensive pressure to hold the Dream to just seven points in the final 6:52.

"Being in attack mode," said January of why the team has had solid balance so far in the playoffs. "Everybody is looking to be the aggressor. We want to make the defense be on their toes.

"Everyone on our team has confidence in each other and we're telling everybody when you get the ball and you're open, shoot it."

Adding to that confidence is the knowledge that Larkins is underneath the basket, which nearly produced a record effort Tuesday night. The forward collected 20 rebounds along with her 16 points, which is the second highest single-game total in WNBA history.

"We knew it was going to come out here and be a dog fight," said Larkins. "It was 1-1 and the winner goes home so we had to keep pushing and give them a push back.

"When we get knocked down, we can't let them just keep us down we've got to throw a punch back and let them know 'Hey, we're still here and we're gonna keep fighting.'"


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