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Fever top Silver Stars to open WNBA title defense

SAN ANTONIO — Tamika Catchings and Shavonte Zellous each scored 19 points and the Indiana Fever opened defense of their WNBA title with a resounding 79-64 victory over the depleted San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday night.

Katie Douglas added 18 points and Erlana Larkins had eight points and 12 rebounds for Indiana.

Shenise Johnson scored 14 points and Shameka Christon added 10 for San Antonio, which lost its season opener for the first time since 2010. No other Silver Stars player scored more than nine points.

San Antonio was without Becky Hammon and Sophia Young.

Hammon is expected to miss a month after breaking her right middle finger. She sat on the bench with a cast covering her hand and extending down to her wrist. Young is expected to miss the season after suffering a torn ACL while playing overseas.

Indiana outscored San Antonio in the second half to turn a one-point deficit into its third straight season-opening victory.

After scoring the game's first 10 points, the Silver Stars struggled offensively without Young and Hammon, their top two scorers from last season. The Silver Stars had five assists on their eight baskets in the first quarter.

Indiana started making the extra pass to find open shooters in the second quarter.

The Fever captured their first lead with 3 minutes left in the first half, using a 13-2 run to take a 32-30 lead. San Antonio regained the lead on Jia Perkins' 3-poiner at the close of the first half, but the advantage didn't hold up.

Catchings' open layup gave the Fever a 51-43 lead, resulting in a series of puzzled looks by San Antonio defenders over the missed assignment.

San Antonio took only 10 shots in the first 9 minutes of the third quarter. Rookie Davellyn Whyte scored the Silver Stars' final four points of the third quarter to keep them within 57-48.

NOTES: The Silver Stars observed a moment of silence in honor of the Oklahoma residents who were killed Monday by a series of deadly tornadoes. . The Fever are 10-4 overall in season openers. . Indiana took a 13-12 advantage in the overall series with the Silver Stars franchise, including a 13-7 record since the team moved to San Antonio from Utah. . Former NBA referee Tommy Nunez was part of the three-person officiating crew for Friday's game. Nunez was fired by the NBA in October 2012 after officiating more than 200 games for the league. . Young addressed the crowd prior to the game, thanking the fans for their previous support and urging them to continue to do so throughout this, their 11th season in San Antonio.