Fever dominate Liberty, clinch playoff berth

Indianapolis, IN ( - Briann January led a balanced Indiana scoring attack with 16 points as the Fever clinched a playoff berth with a 76-63 win over the New York Liberty.

January went 7-of-10 from the field in a game the Fever were ahead from start to finish, while Tamika Catchings totaled 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals to help put the Liberty on the brink of postseason elimination.

New York, losers of three straight, now needs to win its two remaining games and have Washington lose its last two to earn a playoff spot.

January netted seven points during an 11-3 game-opening run for Indiana, which built a 19-9 advantage after one quarter and a commanding 29-11 lead nearing the midway stage of the second.

The Fever kept pouring it on late in the first half. A 9-2 surge capped by a Shavonte Zellous jumper put Indiana up 44-18 in the final minute, and the home team took a comfortable 46-21 cushion into the break behind Catchings' 10 points and eight rebounds.

New York outscored the Fever 22-15 in the third quarter to get within 61-43, but continued to trail by double digits the rest of the way.

Karima Christmas added 14 points off the bench for Indiana, with Zellous finishing with 11 in the victory.

The Liberty were paced by Tina Charles' 15 points and 10 rebounds.