The WNBA title was won by the...

921067.jpg

The WNBA title was won by the...

From Comcast SportsNetINDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Tamika Catchings finally has the only title that was missing from her incredible basketball resume -- a WNBA championship.She scored 25 points to help the Indiana Fever win their first WNBA title with an 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.Catchings, who was the MVP of the Finals, averaged 22.3 points in the series, which the Fever won 3-1 over the defending WNBA champions."When you come into this league, your goal and dream is to win a WNBA championship," Catchings said. "Twelve years later ... it's so sweet right now."Catchings had won three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA championship at Tennessee in 1998, but never a WNBA one. She had been in a position to clinch at home before. The Fever led Phoenix 2-1 in the best-of-five WNBA Finals in 2009, but the Mercury beat the Fever 90-77, took the series back to Phoenix and won the title at home in Game 5.This time, Catchings took it home with college coach Pat Summitt looking on in the crowd.The Fever won even though No. 2 scorer Katie Douglas missed most of the series with a severely sprained left ankle. Douglas checked in with 3.2 seconds left to a loud ovation.Erin Phillips added 18 points and eight rebounds while Shavonte Zellous and Briann January each had 15 points for the Fever.Minnesota was trying to become the first team to repeat since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002."It was hard being the hunted, as we all know," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. "There's a reason this hasn't been done in over 10 years. I really felt like if there was a team that could do it, it was our team."Indiana held Minnesota below 40 percent shooting in all three wins."They played good defense," Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen said. "They contested shots and they made it tough for us to get in the lane a little bit. I think that was the theme of the whole series. They were just tough, and give them credit for the way they played."Indiana led 63-58 at the end of the third quarter of Game 4. Minnesota cut Indiana's lead to 70-67 on a jumper by Maya Moore, but Phillips scored on a drive past Moore, got a defensive rebound, then found Shavonte Zellous for a 3-pointer from the left corner to give the Fever a 75-67 lead with 4:58 remaining.Indiana led by at least five points the rest of the way. A 3-pointer by January gave Indiana an 80-72 lead with 1:18 to play. Reeve was called for a technical with 57.6 seconds remaining, Catchings made the free throw and the Fever took an 81-74 lead. Zellous made two more free throws with 27.2 seconds to play, and Fever fans began celebrating.Seimone Augustus, Minnesota's leading scorer in the playoffs, was held to eight points on 3-for-21 shooting on Sunday. She shot 6-for-30 in the final two games of the series after the Fever switched January over to guard her.Catchings said January, who was on the WNBA first-team all-defense squad, did her job."I think she set the tone," Catchings said. "All her (Augustus') baskets were hard. She used up all her energy in the first quarter."Whalen scored 22 points and Moore added 16 points for the Lynx, who were vying to become the first team to win consecutive titles since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002.Moore picked up her third foul with 6:13 left in the second quarter. Reeve, who was fined for her jacket-tossing tantrum in Game 2, became animated again while disagreeing with the call. As the crowd erupted, Reeve waved hello and made the motion for a technical foul.This time, Reeve's antics didn't help much as in Game 2, when her team pulled away from a tight contest after her technical foul for a convincing win. Minnesota tied the game three times in the second quarter, but the Fever closed with a 7-2 run, including a 3-pointer by Phillips, to take a 47-42 lead at halftime. Whalen scored 14 points in the first half to keep the Lynx in the game, often scoring on uncontested drives. Minnesota hung tough, despite Augustus shooting 2-for-13 in the first half.It was right there for the Fever."Coming into halftime, we said we have 20 minutes and we're not trying to go back to to Minnesota to close this thing out," Zellous said.Indiana started the second half on a 9-4 run, including two buckets by Catchings, to take a 56-46 lead.Minnesota came right back. A driving layup by Moore cut Indiana's lead to 56-54 and forced the Fever to call timeout.Minnesota tied the game on another drive by Moore, but the Fever responded with a 3-pointer by Catchings and a basket by Jessica Davenport to push the lead back to five by the end of the quarter.Indiana then closed the deal at home in front of a sellout crowd."They made some huge runs at us and gave it everything at us, and I'm just relieved more than anything because we deserve this," Phillips said. "We've been through so much as a team, we've lost in crucial times and we've stuck together. I'm just so proud right now."

Cal makes it 26 straight at home with win over UC Davis

cal-basketball-win.jpg
USATSI

Cal makes it 26 straight at home with win over UC Davis

BERKELEY -- Charlie Moore scored 22 points including a 3-pointer from just inside halfcourt and California beat UC Davis 86-61 on Saturday.

Grant Mullins added 17 points and four rebounds to help make up for an off night by Ivan Rabb as the Golden Bears (8-2) won their 26th consecutive home game, matching the longest streak in school history.

A freshman point guard who has been starting for coach Cuonzo Martin's team all season, Moore led California on an 18-3 run in the first half with a pair of steals and two layups. He later scored off another Davis turnover later in the half before banking in a 45-foot buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

The Bears' winning streak is the fourth-longest in the nation and matches the record set from Dec. 27, 1958-Dec. 16, 1960. California last lost at Haas Pavilion to Oregon on Feb. 25, 2015.

Davis committed 21 turnovers and put up little resistance in the first game between the two teams since 2010.

Chima Moneke had a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Brynton Lemar scored 14 for the Aggies (5-5), who closed within 44-30 early in the second half before the Bears pulled away.

BIG PICTURE

Davis has to be feeling good as it nears the end of its seven-game road trip - the team's longest since moving to Division I in 2008. Although they were outsized and a step slower for most of the game the Aggies showed some grit coming out of halftime and kept it interesting. Had they played that way the entire night the outcome might have been different. As it is, second-year coach Jim Les' squad has dropped three of four.

California was out of sync much of the night and, despite the score, couldn't put Davis away until late in the second half. That's been an ongoing issue for the Bears and one that could be a problem with the Pac-12 portion of the schedule coming up. Good thing the young players came up big. Rabb was uneven with his shot and was hindered with foul trouble. Bird gave the Bears an early spark then fizzled out.

UP NEXT

Davis: The Aggies travel to North Dakota State on Wednesday.

California: The Bears get a break after playing four games in seven days and will host Cal Poly on Saturday.

Rewind: Kings fall apart in fourth versus Jazz

Rewind: Kings fall apart in fourth versus Jazz

Through three quarters, the Kings gave the Utah Jazz all they could handle Saturday night at the Vivint Smart Home Center. Sacramento trailed 78-76 going to the fourth and then they completely fell apart. The end result was a 104-84 loss after a brutal 26-8 drubbing in the final quarter.

The Kings shot just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) in the fourth. DeMarcus Cousins hit a jumper, Kosta Koufos tipped a ball in, Rudy Gay dropped in a 3-ball and Ben McLemore hit 1-of-2 at the line. That’s it for Sacramento in the final 12 minutes.

Sacramento played a hard fought game against the New York Knicks on Friday evening before flying to Utah for Saturday’s match up. It’s one of the most brutal home-and-away back-to-backs in the NBA, but like every other team in the league, the Kings must play the schedule in front of them.

“It could be a factor that some of us were fatigued, but the whole NBA plays under the same circumstances, so it’s no excuse,” Darren Collison told reporters following the game. “We’ve got to come out here and perform and we didn’t.”

Gay’s 3-pointer came with 5:17 remaining in the game. The Kings never hit another basket, although they scored one more point on McLemore’s made free throw.

While Sacramento wilted, the Jazz got hot. Trey Lyle hit two 3-pointers in the quarter and Gordon Hayward scored seven of his game-high 26 in the final frame. Utah moved the ball around the horn, hitting 10-of-20 shots in the quarter.

“Give them credit, they made shots and we didn’t,” Ben McLemore said following the game.

The ball movement completely stagnated for Sacramento as the Kings turned to isolation basketball. From the final score, you would never know that it was a two-point game heading into the fourth.

“Until we find a way to start playing together, we’re going to always find our way into these type of games,” Collison added.

With the loss, the Kings (8-15) dropped a season-low seven games under .500 for the first time. They have lost two straight and five of their last six games.  

Sacramento has a day off before returning to Golden 1 Center Monday evening. They’ll face a Los Angeles Lakers team that is riding a five-game losing streak and has to face the Knicks Sunday night.

“It’s the NBA, you’ve got to be able to forget about the past and continue to look forward,” Collison said. “You can’t really let the past get to you. Hopefully we can come in with a better mindset and start playing for one another.”