Sun-Fever Preview

The Associated Press

Behind some improved play on the offensive end, the defending champion Indiana Fever may be finally turning things around.

The Connecticut Sun are hoping to do the same after ending their longest losing streak of the season.

The Fever look for their third straight victory Saturday night when the injury-ravaged clubs meet for the second time this season in Indianapolis.

Health problems are a big reason these teams share last place in the Eastern Conference after meeting in last year's conference finals. Indiana won that series 2-1 en route to the title.

After averaging 64.9 points during a seven-game losing streak, the Fever (3-7) have shown signs of life by scoring 75.5 per game in winning the first two on this four-game homestand.

Tamika Catchings led the way with 18 points in a 71-63 victory over Seattle on Sunday. Shavonte Zellous had 14 points, Karima Christmas added 12 and Jessica Breland finished with 10 and 10 rebounds.

"That was a great team win. A great effort," Catchings said. "I think everybody did a really good job stepping up. Our defense was definitely better in the second half. We did a much better job taking care of the ball and executing offensively."

Since missing two games because of a lower back injury, Catchings, the team's scoring leader at 18.4 per game, has totaled 46 points in the last two. She hasn't missed in 24 attempts from the foul line over her last four contests.

The forward also has been tough defensively with eight steals and five blocks in the two wins. She's third in the league with 2.9 steals per game and seventh in blocks at 1.25 per contest.

The Fever, though, may have lost another player after starting point guard Briann January was hit in the head in the first quarter. January played the entire second quarter but did not return in the second half due to a concussion.

January could become the seventh Indiana player to miss game action, including six of the team's top seven scorers from 2012.

"I've never experienced a season with so many injuries," coach Lin Dunn said. "I've also never experienced a season where so many other people decided to step up."

Dunn's club may have to contain Tina Charles if it hopes to even this season series following Connecticut's 73-61 road victory June 12.

Charles finished with a season-high 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting and 10 rebounds in that meeting. Zellous led the Fever with 14 points, but Catchings was held to 11 on 3-of-15 shooting.

Charles also had 17 points and 13 boards to help the Sun (3-7) end a four-game skid with an 88-69 home win over Tulsa on Tuesday. She's averaging 19.1 points and 10.8 rebounds to rank among the league's top three in both categories.

Allison Hightower had 18 points Tuesday, while Iziane Castro Marques and Kalana Greene added 15 and 14, respectively.

The Sun are hitting 39.5 percent from the field but took a big step forward Tuesday by making 50.8, including 8 for 14 from 3-point range.

Connecticut has had its own share of injuries, continuing to play without Kara Lawson (bruised knee), Renee Montgomery (left ankle) and Tan White (broken right finger). It's uncertain when they'll return.

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