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."

First impressions: Wright again the victim of poor run support

red_sox_steven_wright_050316.jpg

First impressions: Wright again the victim of poor run support

CHICAGO -- First impressions of the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the White Sox.

 

Steven Wright has a 1.67 ERA, and somehow, has three losses.

Wright was again the victim of poor run support. He pitched six innings, allowed just two runs and yet was saddled with the loss, dropping him to 2-3.

In his three losses to date, here are the scores of the games when he left: 2-0, 2-1, 2-1.

Some poor command in the third cost Wright a bit. He walked the first two hitters of the inning, and after a groundout moved the runners over, issued an intentional walk to load the bases. A groundout then scored a run for the White Sox, who never threatened again.

In fact, after the intentional walk, Wright retired 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced.

 

Carson Smith pitched as expected.

Making his Red Sox debut after missing the first month with a forearm strain, Smith retired the White Sox in order and needed just nine pitches to get the three outs.

Smith's M.O. is that he has a heavy sinker and can make hitters swing-and-miss. He got two groundouts, then overpowered Austin Jackson with a mix of sinkers and sliders for an inning-ending strikeout.

 

The Red Sox fell to 0-3 against lefty starters.

Obviously, it's an extremely small sample size. And maybe it's because the Sox haven't had a lot of looks at lefties, having faced just two in their first 25 games before Tuesday night.

Then again, Chicago starter Jose Quintana has always been tough on the Red Sox. Even before limiting them to a single run over seven innings, Quintana was 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in six previous starts.

Boston hit the ball hard three times. Once, Hanley Ramirez homered to right. Twice, White Sox outfielders took extra bases away from David Ortiz (Austin Jackson in the first) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (Adam Eaton in the third).

 

Junichi Tazawa has been excellent, but not Tuesday night.

Tazawa came into a 2-1 game in the eighth. The first four hitters to face him went: bunt single, walk, (wild pitch), two-run double, walk.

Granted, one of the hits was a bunt. But you can't afford to issue two walks and throw a wild pitch in a one-run game.

That outing came after nine straight scoreless outings, and had been scored upon in just one of his first 11 outings.

But Tazawa couldn't locate Tuesday and it cost him.