PHOENIX (AP) — Tamika Catchings scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Fever past the Phoenix Mercury 104-82 on Sunday, putting Indiana atop the Eastern Conference with two weeks left in the regular season.
With a free throw and a 19-footer, Catchings capped a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter to give the Fever an 81-70 lead against the highest scoring team in the league. With its highest offensive output of the season, the Fever (18-10) moved a half-game ahead of idle Atlanta with six games to play.
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Diana Taurasi scored 21 points and had seven assists for Phoenix (14-14), which had a four-game winning streak snapped.
The Mercury survived a scare when DeWanna Bonner left the game on a stretcher near the end of the third quarter after getting hit in the head. She was moving her legs and arms, but was fitted with a neck brace and taken to out on a stretcher. The second-year player went to a hospital and was released Sunday night with a minor concussion according to a team official.
Katie Douglas added 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Indiana, which hit eight of its first 10 shots in the final quarter to pull away.
Tammy Sutton-Brown added 18 points for Indiana while Candice Dupree had 19 points and six rebounds for Phoenix.
With 3:20 remaining in the fourth, Indiana’s Jessica Davenport was hit in the nose by a Taurasi elbow.
Douglas hit 6-of-9 from the field in the first half, scoring 14 points to lead Indiana to a 53-46 advantage at the break. The Mercury briefly took the lead in the third quarter
Phoenix came into the game averaging 97.2 points per game more than 11 more than any other team. But Indiana was allowing a league-best 72.9 a game.
The second-place Mercury go into the final two weeks of the season three games ahead of San Antonio and 3.5 games ahead of Minnesota.