INDIANAPOLIS – Tamika Catchings had 22 points and six steals to help the Indiana Fever beat the Connecticut Sun 78-66 on Saturday night.
Briann January had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Shavonte Zellous also scored 14 points for the injury-plagued Fever. The defending WNBA champions won their third straight game after dropping seven of eight to start the season.
The Fever took advantage after Connecticut's star player, reigning league MVP Tina Charles, was ejected early in the fourth quarter. The center picked up two technical fouls after she disagreed with a call and was sent to the locker room.
Charles finished with 14 points. She scored a season-high 30 points the previous time the teams met, a 73-61 win for the Sun on June 12.
Kelsey Griffin and Allison Hightower both scored 17 points for the Sun.
January started at point guard for the Fever after suffering concussion-like symptoms during the previous game against Seattle.
Indiana took control with a run late in the first quarter and led 41-23 at halftime. The Fever shot 50 percent from the field in the first half. Catchings scored 13 points in the half while January scored 10.
The Sun shot 35 percent from the field and committed 13 turnovers before the break. Charles, who entered the game ranked third in the league in scoring average (19.1) and second in rebounds (10.8), had four points and two rebounds in the first half, and the Sun shot just 35 percent in the first 20 minutes.
Connecticut rallied in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Hightower trimmed Indiana's lead to 47-37. The Sun continued to chip away, and the Fever took a 53-47 lead into the fourth quarter. Charles got it going with eight points in the third quarter and Griffin added seven. The Sun held the Fever to 3-for-16 shooting in the third quarter.
Connecticut seemed to be in position to complete the comeback, but Charles became unglued, Indiana made three free throws to take a 62-54 lead, and the Fever remained in control the rest of the way.
The Fever were without Katie Douglas (back), Erin Phillips (torn right meniscus) and Jeanette Pohlen (torn left ACL). Starting center Jessica Davenport (left tibia stress fracture) is out for the season.
Connecticut was without Kara Lawson (knee), Tan White (broken ring finger) and Renee Montgomery (left ankle sprain).