Stars-Fever Preview

The Associated Press

The Indiana Fever ended their recent slump with back-to-back road wins, including one over the Eastern Conference's top club.

Tamika Catchings' season debut could help them bring that success home, where they've struggled of late.

Indiana looks for its sixth win in seven meetings with the San Antonio Stars on Saturday.

The Fever (8-9) have been without the services of Catchings, a former league MVP, due to a sore back. Coming off a season in which she averaged 17.7 points, the five-time Defensive Player of the Year has been practicing since June 24.

"I'm BACKKKKK!!! Will be joining my indianafever teammates on the court this Saturday!" Catchings said on her Instagram account. "Let's get it!"

Indiana had dropped five of six, including three straight home losses, before winning 77-70 at East-leading Atlanta on Tuesday. They followed the next night with an 80-77 victory at Washington.

Rookie Natasha Howard finished one shy of her season high with 20 points while Erlana Larkins scored 16.

"I thought we really showed a lot of heart," coach Lin Dunn said. "We're on a back-to-back, flew in this morning, had a tough game last night in Atlanta. I thought we matched their energy, their quickness. They wanted to push the ball and so did we."

Dunn's team now tries to avoid losing four consecutive home games for the first time since dropping their first four last season.

The Fever have won five of their last six against the Stars and swept last year's two meetings by a combined 32 points. Catchings scored 19 in both games while Shavonte Zellous averaged 19.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting, though she has just 17 points over her last two games while going 6 of 21 from the field.

San Antonio (9-9) had won five straight away from home prior to Thursday's 91-84 loss at Minnesota. The Stars led 35-30 with four minutes remaining in the first half before succumbing to a 20-1 run.

"We hung, but we just couldn't quite get over the top," coach Dan Hughes said.

Six Stars scored in double figures, including Kayla McBride with 17. The rookie has scored 15 or more in three of five games after doing so as many times through her first 13.

San Antonio, the league's top 3-point shooting team at 38.2 percent, was 5 of 15 against Minnesota. Indiana held Washington to 2 for 17 from beyond the arc in Wednesday's victory.

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