Storm-Fever Preview

KATE HEDLIN (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

A difficult stretch has the Indiana Fever playing four consecutive games against teams that have clinched playoff spots, but they may be facing their next one at the right time.

The Fever look to win their third straight Wednesday night when they host the Seattle Storm, who hope for a better performance after a sloppy one the night before.

Indiana has been on an impressive run following the Olympic break, winning nine of 11.

The Fever (19-9) have won their last two, including an 89-83 victory over Phoenix on Sunday. Katie Douglas scored a season-high 30 points, becoming the 10th player in WNBA history to reach 5,000 career points, and Tamika Catchings added 19 and five steals.

Indiana erased an early 11-point deficit and hit seven 3-pointers to set a single-season franchise record with 230 - with six games left - and can make a run at the WNBA record of 283.

"We started out focused, ready to roll tonight," Catchings said. "They came out strong right from the beginning. But we know the game has highs and lows and we kept chipping away at the lead and finally got ahead of them. ... The one thing about us, we're always trying to figure out how to get better."

Six of Indiana's previous 11 games were against teams with losing records, including Seattle (13-15), which still has clinched a playoff spot. The Fever's next four are against post-season bound, including three against conference leaders Connecticut and Minnesota.

Indiana is 1 1/2 games behind the Sun, whom it plays Sept. 19, in the East.

The Fever defeated Seattle 68-66 on Aug. 23, overcoming a 13-point deficit with a Shavonte Zellous 3-pointer right before time expired. This time, the Storm are trying to regroup after a 77-61 loss Tuesday at Atlanta in the second of their four-game road trip.

Lauren Jackson had 14 points and nine rebounds and Camille Little added 13 and eight, respectively. The Storm nearly erased a 16-point deficit but never were able to overtake the Dream.

Seattle made just four of its first 14 shots en route to shooting 39.0 percent and committed 21 turnovers. It had won its previous two games - both against Tulsa - while shooting a combined 59.0 percent.

''We've got to be physically and mentally tougher if we're going to be in a situation to win a championship,'' said Seattle coach Brian Angle. ''We gave it to them 16 times (on steals) and they are going to go down there and shoot layups.''

Seattle, which has lost three straight at Indiana, is 5-9 on the road.