Fever-Liberty Preview

The Associated Press

Two of the WNBA's perennial top players go head-to-head for the first time this season as Cappie Pondexter and the New York Liberty host Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever on Wednesday.

Both players have finished in the league's top 10 in scoring each of the last four seasons while also being selected to either the All-WNBA first or second teams. Both are off to strong starts again with Catchings averaging 19.5 points through two games and Pondexter at 18.0.

In last year's season series, it was Catchings averaging 20.0 points while Indiana took three of four from New York despite Pondexter's 22.3 points per game

While the Liberty (1-1) are looking for a second straight win after some heroics from Pondexter in their last game, the Fever (1-1) try to bounce back from a disappointing home opener.

New York beat Tulsa 78-76 in overtime on Friday. After missing a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation, Pondexter sank the go-ahead basket with 0.5 seconds left in the extra period.

She finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

"I'll go to battle with her making the last shot every day of the week," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "I'll give her the ball and let her do her thing. She can shoot over any big player that is out there. It's important we waited till the last possible second to get a good shot."

Catchings - also the league's reigning defensive player of the year - tallied 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists Friday, but the Fever fell 86-77 to Atlanta.

The defeat spoiled the team's championship ring ceremony, which took place prior to the game. Indiana let the Dream shoot 50.0 percent from the floor after holding San Antonio to 64 points on 39.3 percent shooting in a season-opening win.

"It's nice to have the ring, but the ring's over," coach Lin Dunn said. "We scored 77 points but it was probably the worst defensive game I can remember in ages."

Indiana will still have to deal with a short-handed roster due to injuries to Jessica Davenport, Erin Phillips and Jeanette Pohlen. Davenport was expected to miss six to eight weeks after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left leg in mid-May, while Phillips will likely be out another month with a torn right meniscus. Pohlen is still recovering from a torn ACL she suffered in October.

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