Indiana Fever Schedule Preview: May 29 - June 3

The winless Fever look to pick up their first victory of the season.

It hasn't been an ideal start to the season for the Indiana Fever. The team is already in a 0-5 hole after suffering losses to Chicago, Connecticut, Los Angeles, and Washington (twice). They've been by far the most porous defense in the league - allowing 108.9 points per 100 possessions - and are still searching for an identity on offense, as their young players try to transition to the WNBA and establish themselves within the Fever's long-term future.

One of those players is point guard Kelsey Mitchell. Taken at #2 by Indiana in the 2018 WNBA Draft, Mitchell finished her collegiate career as the 2nd all-time leading scorer in NCAA women's history. She had free reign at Ohio State to utilize her explosiveness and long-range shot, but life as a WNBA floor general is a tad different. While Mitchell is already lighting up the scoreboard (16.8 points per game), she's not producing much elsewhere (1.8 assists per game to 2.4 turnovers).

What should be encouraging to Fever fans is that head coach and GM Pokey Chatman has already given Mitchell a rather heavy workload, showing trust in the prized rookie. She's averaged over 30 minutes per game in her past three contests, a trend that's likely to continue as the Fever play with house money for the remainder of the season. The same can probably be said about fellow rookies Victoria Vivians and Stephanie Mavunga: Chatman was hesitant to play them heavy minutes early on, but they've also seen an uptick in playing time in recent games. 

The bottom line is that the Fever are rebuilding, and patience must be preached. While players like Mitchell and Vivians will be cornerstones of this franchise for years to come, they're going to take their lumps early in the season. This is to be expected. Keep a watchful eye on Chatman's rotations as she teaches her young players game-by-game.

Saturday, June 2: vs New York Liberty

The Fever's lone game of this week comes against a Liberty squad that is struggling to stay healthy. Epiphanny Prince, Brittany Boyd, Sugar Rodgers, and Kiah Stokes have already missed time (Prince and Boyd have yet to play this season). So if you look at it that way, this is as good of an opportunity as any for the Fever to pick up their first win of the season.

On the other hand, there's the matter of the New York Liberty's Tina Charles. One of the most dominant post players in WNBA history, she's going to be a problem for most frontcourts, and Indiana might have an especially rough go of it. Players like Natalie Achonwa, Kayla Alexander, Erica McCall, and Mavunga have been competing for minutes up front for the Fever, and it's going to take a group effort from them to neutralize Charles. She's going to put up big numbers regardless, but it's a great chance for someone like Achonwa or Alexander to really establish herself as the Fever's starting center moving forward. 

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