Indiana Fever schedule preview: June 12 - June 17

Sitting at 0-8, the Fever face a golden opportunity to finally get into the win column.

Heading into the 2018 season, expectations for the Indiana Fever were understandably low. Moves made by the team in the offseason and throughout training camp made it obvious that head coach and GM Pokey Chatman was embracing a full-blown rebuild, and as any basketball fan knows, these things take time.

Still, if Chatman and her team claimed they weren't disappointed with their 0-8 start, they'd almost certainly be lying. These players and coaches are competitors. They understand the situation they're in, but that doesn't mean they don't want to win.

And, to be fair, competing is one thing the Fever have been doing, especially this past week. They led the Wings by as many as 13 points on Friday - holding a lead with under a minute to go in regulation - but Skylar Diggins-Smith imposed her will in crunch time, scoring six of her career-high 35 in the final 45 seconds to secure the win for Dallas. The Fever were outscored by nine in the final frame.

Similarly, Indiana went punch-for-punch with the Liberty on Sunday. They were up by three with 2:30 to go in regulation and were tied with 30 seconds left, but eventually succumbed to what has been doing them in all season: poor interior defense and rookie mistakes on the offensive end.

So no, it hasn't been all bad. Such growing pains were to be expected, and players like Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Mavunga are showing more and more of their potential - potential that made Chatman entrust them with the future of the franchise.

But 0-8 is 0-8. If it weren't for the Las Vegas Aces' similar struggles, the Fever would be far and away the worst team in the WNBA. And as luck would have it, they'll be playing each other for the first time this week.

Tuesday, June 12: vs Las Vegas Aces (7 pm ET)

The Fever have been competitive in their recent losses. Now's their perfect chance to play a full 40 minutes against a team that's arguably struggled just as much as they have.

One could argue that although the Aces have a better record than the Fever (not by much, of course), they've still been worse; the Fever have a slightly better efficiency differential (again, faint praise) and have scored the ball more efficiently. Indiana will also be at home.

All signs point toward this being the Fever's best chance to get into the win column. It might also appeal to fans of other WNBA teams, though, as it will showcase this year's #1 and #2 overall draftees (A'ja Wilson and Kelsey Mitchell, in particular), both of whom have been playing very well. 

Thursday, June 14: at Atlanta Dream (11:30 am ET)

Camp days are tough. Besides the obvious challenges (namely, thousands of screaming children) they present, the early starts mean less time to travel, rest, and prepare. 

This would be a tough one for the Fever regardless of scheduling, though. The Dream have been one of the WNBA's strongest defensive teams (especially in the halfcourt), and are quickly gaining a reputation for grinding out close, ugly victories: just the type of games the Fever are having trouble winning. Indiana will need to hit some shots from the outside and make good decisions with the basketball against the Dream's athletic, aggressive defense if they want to pull out a victory here.

Saturday, June 16: vs Atlanta Dream (7 pm ET)

In another scheduling quirk, the Fever will play Atlanta again just a few days later, this time at home. It's not a back-to-back, per se, and it does give ample time for both coaches to make the appropriate adjustments after Thursday's game. Other than that, there's no much to add about this one; it would be ideal if the Fever could win at least one of these contests against their Eastern rivals.

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