Indiana Fever Weekly Preview: June 5 - June 10

The Indiana Fever are already in a hole in the standings, and things aren't going to get any easier for them this week.

The Indiana Fever had just one game this past week, and after a strenuous early-season schedule, they had plenty of time to rest and prepare for it. It looked to be a game they could win, too: the New York Liberty were coming to town short-handed, a situation that seemed perfect for a young Fever team to secure their first victory of the season.

Despite coming back from a 46-29 halftime deficit, the Fever were unable to close out the game in regulation (several missed free throws down the stretch were back-breakers), and New York eventually prevailed in overtime. A career night for Kelsey Mitchell (26 points) was spoiled by an even better rookie performance: Kia Nurse exploded for a game-high 34 points and 9 rebounds, connecting on 15 of 16 free throw attempts to carry the Liberty offense.

That the Fever were able to hold mostly everyone else on the Liberty in check (Tina Charles put on her usual 20/10 performance, but she shot just 9-22) was especially heartbreaking. Liberty players other than Nurse shot 36.5% and made zero 3-pointers. It's something to build upon, sure, but there are few moral victories in a 34-game season; Indiana needs to put together a full 40-minute effort if they want to get into the win column.

Friday, June 8: vs Dallas Wings (7 pm ET)

On paper, this appears to be a mismatch. Dallas uses their size and physicality (center Liz Cambage is as tough as a low post check as there is) to bludgeon opponents at the free throw line, and the Fever might be lacking the strength to match up with that.

The Wings aren't known for their discipline on defense, though. They've improved greatly on that end relative to recent years, but they are still prone to late-game meltdowns. The Fever need to take advantage of this. While the Wings' fast-paced style of play might seem imposing, it could also be the perfect opportunity for Mitchell and company to take advantage of their young legs and gun themselves to a victory.

Sunday, June 10: at New York Liberty (3 pm ET)

A little over a week after the New York eked out an overtime victory in Indiana, the Fever will head to Westchester for a rematch. Things will be different this time around, though; guards Brittany Boyd and Sugar Rodgers are expected to be back soon for the Liberty, significantly bolstering their perimeter depth.

The silver lining here is that it probably means less Nurse for the Fever to deal with. With Boyd, though, the Liberty will be able to play with more pace, and the Fever defense is porous enough as it is.

 

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