New York - The Indiana Fever, led by 41 points from its three front-court players, defeated the New York Liberty 66-51 on Tuesday night in deciding Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The victory means Indiana will play the Lynx in the WNBA Finals for the second time. The first game in the best-of-five series will be Sunday at the Target Center.
The Fever beat the Lynx in four games for the 2012 league title. But this season, Minnesota beat Indiana twice, 78-69 on June 6 on the road and 81-65 on Sept. 4 at home.
Forward Marissa Coleman was 5-for-7 on three-point shots to lead Indiana with 15 points. Veteran forward Tamika Catchings had 14 points and center Erlana Larkins 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Catchings, who announced she’s retiring at the end of next season, keeps willing her team to victories. For the fourth time this postseason, Indiana staved off elimination. The Fever won the final two games in the opening round against Chicago. Then, against New York, the Fever swept the final two contests, rallying from an 18-point deficit in the second quarter in Game 2.
Candice Wiggins, the former Lynx guard, had 15 points off the bench to lead the Liberty. Center Tina Charles was the only other New York player in double figures with 13 points. She also had 10 rebounds.
Indiana shot 49 percent. New York, the Eastern Conference champion, shot only 33 percent.
Catchings and Indiana built an 18-point lead in the third quarter before New York rallied.
Epiphanny Prince, who was scoreless in the first half, hit a three-pointer to start a 12-3 run to close the period and bring New York within nine heading to the fourth.
Wiggins scored the first five points of the final period to get New York within 49-45.
But Catchings then made two free throws to start a 10-0 Fever run.