By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — All things considered, the Indiana Fever wish Epiphanny Prince was still in Russia.
Prince, who has been with the Chicago Sky for less than a week off a stint with the Russian National Team, came up with a big second half to lead the Sky to a 71-61 win over the seriously depleted Fever on Saturday night.
Prince scored 11 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter when the Sky wore down and rolled past the home team. She was 5-of-7 from the field.
"Indy is a very physical team and aggressive team," said Prince. "We were able to capitalize on defense to start our offense."
All but three of the Sky's 22 points in the final period came from Prince or rookie first-round draft pick Elena Delle Donne.
"I thought for 36 minutes, we really battled," said Fever coach Lin Dunn. "We got a lot out of our backups, some of whom are now starters."
Indiana played without five players who sat out the game with injuries. They are Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, Jessica Davenport, Erin Phillips and Jeanette Pohlen. Catchings could be back next week. Davenport is out for the season, and the other three aren't expected to play until next month.
The Fever had only Shavonte Zellous score in double figures. Her 17 points were nearly double that of the team's next highest scorer.
Indiana held the lead through much of the game by playing tough defense and hitting just enough key shots to remain in front.
The Fever scored the first six points of the third quarter to take a 43-35 lead with just under five minutes gone in the second half. Chicago didn't lead until Prince hit a jumper with 5:04 left in the game to put the visitors up 57-56. That gave the Sky the lead for good.
"We've got to learn to fight through the final five minutes," said Zellous. "Maybe a little bit of that is fatigue, but I don't even want to use that as an excuse. We just don't have the numbers right now, but we're getting closer and closer to getting that next win."
The Sky had two starters play more than 30 minutes while the Fever had four.
"Everybody was ready and fully energized," said Fever guard Briann January, who scored eight points and had three assists. "We just have to learn from every experience. We are making progress to get better."
Chicago, the stronger and more accomplished offensively team inside, dominated the paint. The Sky scored 32 points there compared to 16 for the Fever. Chicago also won the rebound battle 41-26. Swin Cash grabbed eight boards for the Sky, and Jessica Breland had seven for the Fever.
"It's nice to pull out a grinding win," said Chicago coach Pokey Chatman. "We held them to 24 points in the second half. We rebounded the ball and were able to run."
Indiana (1-6) plays at Atlanta on Tuesday. Chicago is now 5-3 on the season.