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Sutton-Brown lifts Fever with career-high 22 points, 13 rebounds

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Fever coach Brian Winters kept saying Tammy Sutton-Brown would be a game-changer if she could stay on the floor.

Sutton-Brown proved Winters right on Sunday. The center tied career highs with 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Fever to an 80-61 victory over the New York Liberty.

Sutton-Brown had averaged 4.7 fouls and 22 minutes per contest, but she committed just two fouls Sunday and played 31 minutes. She said she's finding her groove with the Fever after spending her first six seasons with the Charlotte Sting.

"The more games you play, the more comfortable you're going to get," she said. "I think each game is a steppingstone toward total comfort, but I am getting into it."

Sutton-Brown shot 10-for-12 from the field and had two assists. Tamika Whitmore added 22 points and six rebounds for Indiana (7-1), which avenged its only loss.

Sutton-Brown and Whitmore made up for an off night by Tamika Catchings. The league's No. 4 scorer was held to 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

"There's just more bullets in the gun," Winters said. "When you add more talent to your team, they can't just key on Tamika Catchings."

Erin Thorn led New York (5-2) with 17 points. Ashley Battle scored 11 points and Loree Moore added 10 for the Liberty.

The Fever led 63-46 in the fourth quarter before the Liberty went on a 15-8 run. A jumper by Thorn cut Indiana's lead to 71-61 with 4:39 left, but the Fever held the Liberty scoreless the rest of the game.

"We got back to our starters in the game," Winters said. "We said in the timeout, 'We're starting to let them back a little bit. We've got to get up on those 3-point shooters. The only way we can let them back in the game is to shoot threes.' We took some of those away and made them put it on the floor. That's what you have to do against a team like New York."

New York shot 61.5 percent in a 78-67 win over the Fever last Tuesday but 38 percent on Sunday. The Fever outrebounded the Liberty 42-23 and shot 51 percent to make up for committing 24 turnovers.

"We owed them one," Sutton-Brown said. "We made a few adjustments and came in here and did a few more things. It was big for us to get back to just playing our game."

Indiana led 38-20 at halftime before New York found its shooting stroke. The Liberty shot 11-for-17 from the field in the third quarter, but Sutton-Brown scored 12 points in the period to give the Fever a 59-44 lead.

New York never got closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.

"We played a good team tonight," Battle said. "When you're down, it's difficult to get back in the game. We made a small run in the third quarter, but it's tough to come from behind when you're just matching baskets."