Catchings lifts Fever past Liberty 84-81 in OT

NEW YORK (AP) — Tamika Catchings scored nine of her 22 points in overtime to lift the Indiana Fever to an 84-81 victory over the New York Liberty on Sunday.

Katie Douglas had 21 points and Ebony Hoffman added 15 points to help the Fever (13-7) beat the Liberty for the seventh straight time. Catchings also had 10 rebounds and seven assists as Indiana moved into first place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of Atlanta.

Cappie Pondexter had a franchise-record and career-high 40 points for New York (9-10). Leilani Mitchell scored 15 on 5-for-6 shooting on 3-pointers and Janel McCarville added 12 points.

The Liberty's previous record was 33 points, by Becky Hammon at Minnesota on June 6, 2003, and McCarville at Houston on Sept. 2, 2008. Pondexter's eclipsed her previous best of 35 for Phoenix against Detroit on July 6, 2006.

Catchings' tiebreaking 3-pointer gave the Fever the lead for good, 78-75 with 4 minutes left in the extra period. Douglas followed with a jumper 51 seconds later to push the lead to five.

Pondexter's 3 pulled the Liberty to 80-79 with 2:10 to go, but Catchings hit two free throws 28 seconds later. Kalana Greene made two from the line for the Liberty with 1½ minutes left to make it a one-point game again, but Catchings hit two more with 2.1 seconds left to seal Indiana's win.

Catchings tied the score at 73-all with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 50.7 seconds left, a shot that was confirmed by video review.

Both teams had chances to win in the final minute of regulation.

Pondexter missed a 3 with about 23 seconds to go, but Mitchell got the rebound in the right corner and the Liberty called back-to-back timeouts. Pondexter missed a short jumper from the right side with about 10 seconds left, and Tully Bevilaqua got the rebound for Indiana.

The Fever then called consecutive timeouts with 8.4 seconds left to set up a final play. Bevilaqua missed a jumper from the left side and McCarville grabbed the rebound for New York. On the ensuing play, Catchings stole the inbounds pass near midcourt and launched a long 3 that missed off the rim at the buzzer.

Mitchell's fifth 3 of the game gave the Liberty a 69-66 lead with 3:14 left, their first advantage since late in the second quarter. Pondexter's jumper with about 2½ minutes to go put New York up five.

Briann January and Tammy Sutton-Brown had consecutive jumpers to pull Indiana within one with 1:27 to go. Pondexter followed with a jumper 20 seconds later.

After Bevilaqua's layup in the opening minute of the second half, Hoffman and Douglas combined to score Indiana's next 18 points. Hoffman had nine points and Douglas scored seven during a 16-8 run that gave the Fever a 56-47 lead, their biggest of the game, with about 1½ minutes left in the third quarter.

Pondexter scored the next six points and Greene had a fast-break layup to pull the Liberty within one in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

Mitchell's 3 tied the score at 60-all with 6:19 left.