It was easy to see why the Indiana Fever were glad to have Shavonte Zellous back in the lineup after losing three of the four games she missed with plantar fasciitis.
Zellous scored 11 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, Tamika Catchings added 19 points and seven rebounds, and Indiana snapped a three-game losing streak with an 80-63 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Wednesday night. The three-game skid was the Fever's longest since losing seven straight early in the season.
Erlana Larkins added eight points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Fever (12-14), who moved to third place in the East.
Danielle Adams had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Jia Perkins scored 12 points for the Silver Stars (9-16).
Nearing the end of the regular season and in the hunt for a playoff berth, Indiana wanted nothing more than to have Zellous back in the lineup.
"Thank God," Catchings said. "Every game I've been asking her, 'Are you playing? Are you playing? Is today the day?'"
It took a while for Zellous to get into a groove. The All-Star forward scored in double figures in all but four games she's appeared in this season, but missed four shots in the first half, including three from 3-point range, and didn't score until she hit two free throws with 33 seconds left in the half.
"My first shot was almost over the basket, then the other one kind of went in and out," she said.
The second half was a different story and that's when Indiana needed her most.
Indiana went on a 9-0 run late in the first quarter to take the lead and later Jeanette Pohlen scored a 3 to give the Fever a 41-25 halftime lead.
Davellyn Whyte hit a 3 to start the second half and Adams made two free throws, but Zellous scored her first field goal on a layup to make it 43-30.
Whyte scored another 3-pointer at the end of a 6-1 run to make it 44-37 with 6:07 left in the third.
The Fever didn't pull away until late in the third when Zellous scored, Jessica Breland grabbed a steal and Zellous had a three-point play to give Indiana a 54-44 lead.
Zellous opened the fourth quarter with a jumper and two free throws to make it 62-50. Later, she scored back-to-back layups and a 3-pointer to give the Fever a 73-57 lead and Indiana never looked back.
The Silver Stars have gone 3-4 in their last seven games and have only put together a pair of wins twice this season, the last time coming nearly a month ago.
"I think we came out flat," Perkins said. "It was a tough loss for us."
The Fever have one more Western Conference game when they begin a four-game road trip at Minnesota on Saturday. Then Indiana plays its final seven regular-season games against the Eastern Conference foes, in a stretch that will determine playoff seeding.