Posts Tagged ‘ Indiana Fever ’

WNBA Weekend in Review

July 18, 2011 9:34am
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The 2011 season is moving along quickly as the All-Star game is this Saturday. After tonight’s game between San Antonio and Los Angeles, every team will have played between 13 and 15 games.  Besides probably Tulsa, every team still has a legitimate shot at a playoff spot.

Going streaking:

The Phoenix Mercury head into their re-match against the Minnesota Lynx with their league leading 6-game win streak on the line and first place in the Western Conference.  Last game saw the Mercury storm back in the closing minutes to take a 112-105 victory, in the highest scoring game of the season.

The Tulsa Shock have now lost a league leading 9 games in a row. After leading the Sparks for most of Friday’s game, Tulsa couldn’t generate the necessary scoring chances once the Sparks stopped turning the ball over. The Shock will have a chance to re-group as they don’t play again until Tuesday after the All-Star break, hosting the Atlanta Dream.

There’s no place like home:

After a short 1-2 road trip, and two double-digit losses, the Connecticut Sun returned home to the comfy confines of the Mohegan Sun and defeated the Indiana Fever on Sunday. The Sun are undefeated at home, at a perfect 6-0.

Meanwhile the Seattle Storm finish up three game road trip tomorrow at Chicago before heading home. The Storm now stand at 2-5 on the road with their two wins coming against Tulsa and a Mystics team that was missing Crystal Langhorne. Seattle is coming off two road losses including a 69-62 defeat to Minnesota on Saturday.

The bottom of the Eastern Conference:

Although the Washington Mystics are 6 games behind Eastern Conference leading Indiana, they only trail 4th place Chicago by 3 games and have more than half a season left to play.  The Mystics showed lots of resolve in their overtime win over the Sparks, where they mounted the 2nd biggest comeback in WNBA history. Even in the last of their 5 game road trip, and a season full of injuries, Washington showed they should not be forgotten yet.

Just above Washington is the preseason conference favorite Atlanta Dream. Atlanta has been possibly the biggest disappointment this season, but put together their best effort on Saturday. Even playing without Sancho Lyttle, Atlanta looked like the team many pundits believed we would see before the season.

Erin Phillips: the forgotten Fever player

June 29, 2011 7:06am
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Prior to the start of the 2011 WNBA season, excitement was building in Feverland due to the acquisition of Australian national team guard Erin Phillips from Seattle for a third-round pick. She was heralded as a possible alternative to Briann January at the starting PG position due to her scoring ability, defensive prowess, and playmaking ability. Head coach Lin Dunn even compared her to former fan favorite Tully Bevilaqua, Phillips’ countrywoman.

Since then, however, the 26-year-old has seen her role on the team diminish, as marginal players like Shavonte Zellous and Shannon Bobbitt have seen their minutes increase. Phillips’ numbers are nothing to write home about (about 4ppg on 34% shooting), but those logging minutes ahead of her from the bench aren’t exactly setting the world on fire (Bobbitt, for example, is shooting 19% from the field). Phillips has expressed displeasure in the past with the Connecticut Sun WRT playing time. One has to wonder how long it will take before she does the same in Indiana–if she does the same in Indiana.

With Briann January likely out for some time due to a knee injury suffered during the 91-86 win over the Phoenix Mercury on June 28, the time is now for Phillips to prove she belongs back in the rotation. It took an injury to superstar Katie Douglas for Bobbitt to go from bench ornament to rotation-worthy, so perhaps the same can happen for Phillips.

Part 1: Thoughts and stats through the first two weeks of the WNBA season

June 20, 2011 5:35pm
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PART 1 of 2

We are now over two weeks into the WNBA season, with each team having played at least 4 games. Here is our quick take and a look at some of the underlying stats for each team.

 

Atlanta: The Dream, the consensus preseason pick for Eastern conference champions stand at 1-5, staring up at every team in the East. They have had a tough start to the season with an injured Angel McCoughtry and Sancho Lyttle leaving to Spain.

Did you know: The net plus/minus for the Dream’s point guards (thru June 14th only): Harding (-23.0) Lehning (+22.1)

 

Chicago: The Sky can already see a brighter future on the horizon with Coach Pokey Chatman now in charge and a positive 3-2 start. Top draft pick PG Courtney Vandersloot has already played her way into the starting lineup where I expect she’ll remain for the duration of season.

Did you know: The Chicago Sky have been your most “average” team through their first 5 games. They statistically fall just above or below average in just about every category, including possessions, offensive and defensive efficiency, points for and against, TO% and FTA %.

 

Connecticut: The Sun have come out blazing hot this season, helped in part by a healthy Ajsha Jones and the newly named player of the week Tina Charles. Even without Kara Lawson, the Sun were able to get a big road win at Washington last week, as victories away from the Mohegan Sun have been tough to come by in the past two seasons.

Did you know: The Sun have done the best job in the league at keeping the ball on offense which in turn leads to field goal and free throw attempts. They have only turned the ball over 16.4% of the time.

 

Indiana: The Fever are in the midst of a tough road trip losing at Seattle, and losing at Phoenix in overtime. Indiana also lost Katie Douglas for most of the Phoenix  game as she went down with an injury in the 1st quarter.

Did you know: The Fever lead the league at getting to the line. The shoot free throws on over 28% of their possessions.

 

Los Angeles: The Sparks are healthy and deep this season as Candace Parker and Co. have raced out to an impressive 3-1 start. Their strong start is even more impressive as they have defeated the two Western conference finalists from a season ago in Phoenix and Seattle and given league leading  Minnesota (5 wins) it’s only loss of the season.

Did you know: The Sparks’ scoring has been very balanced. They currently have 4 players averaging double figures and another two with at least 7 pts/game.

 

Minnesota: What a difference a year makes for the Lynx. Getting back key players healthy in Augustus and Wiggins, a veteran addition in Taj McWilliams-Franklin, and the top pick overall in Maya Moore have led the Lynx to a league high 5 wins through their first six games.

Did you know: The Lynx starting five boasts the best net plus/minus in the league as well as the highest individual net plus/minus player in McWilliams-Franklin. (thru June 14th)

 

Fever/Storm game full of connections

June 17, 2011 3:58pm
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If you’re tuning in tonight to the Indiana Fever/Seattle Storm tonight, you’re going to see more than a possible 2011 WNBA Finals preview. What you’re going to see are a multitude of connections between the two teams.

Connection #1: Seattle’s Lauren Jackson and Belinda Snell, along with Indiana’s Erin Phillips, are three members of the Australian women’s basketball national team (Opals). In fact, Phillips originally signed with Seattle this past February but was traded to Indiana as part of the deal to acquire Katie Smith.

Connection #2: Seattle’s Ashley Robinson and Indiana’s Tamika Catchings, Shyra Ely, and Shannon Bobbitt are all former Tennessee Lady Vols. Catchings and Robinson were teammates for a year (2001) while Robinson and Ely were teammates for three years (2002-04).

Connection #3: Indiana Fever head coach Lin Dunn was the first coach/GM of the Seattle Storm. Two of her draftees are playing in tonight’s game, and you might have heard of them (2001: Lauren Jackson and 2002: Sue Bird, both #1 overall picks).

Connection #4: Indiana’s Briann January is a native of the state of Washington. She was born in Spokane.

Fever defeat Liberty on the road, 86-80

June 12, 2011 12:00pm
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Fueled by a sprited fourth-quarter comeback, the Indiana Fever came away from the weekend home-and-home series with the New York Liberty with a split. Rookie G Jeanette Pohlen hit what proved to be the game clincher with a three-pointer from the corner. The Fever survived a number of negative factors, namely 11 combined turnovers from PGs Briann January (seven) and Erin Phillips (four) and poor play overall from starting center Tammy Sutton-Brown, to defeat the surprisingly offensive-minded Liberty.

As for New York, this is the third straight game where they gave up 80+ points. If this team is to continue to be better than the sum of its parts, a better weak side defensive effort will need to be implemented. There were a number of times where the White Line Defense was exposed, and most of those instances involved kick-outs to the corners for wide-open three-point shots. It will be interesting to see the adjustments head coach John Whisenant will have to make to avoid teams heating up from three against his team.

What can the Indiana/New York weekend home-and-home tell us?

June 11, 2011 12:53pm
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Prior to the start of the 2011 WNBA season, Indiana was considered a strong challenger for the Eastern Conference Finals crown while New York was considered a first-round playoff team. After two games, New York sits atop the Eastern Conference while Indiana checks in at 0.500. A win for New York would solidify their position as the first place team in the East while a win for Indiana would tie them with New York for first place in the East. But what else could this mini-series tell us about each team?

For New York, a win tonight would give them three wins over the favorites to play in the Eastern Conference finals (Atlanta and Indiana twice). Furthermore, it would strongly support the line-up changes made by John Whisenant prior to the season (putting Cappie Pondexter at the PG position and moving Essence Carson into the starting lihe-up).

For Indiana, a win against New York would give them an important season series split and an opportunity to immediately redeem themselves. Because the previous game’s end result was close (81-80) despite New York holding double-digit leads during the second half of the game, tonight’s game would give the Fever a better sense of where they are at this point in the season (for rotation purposes).

Tonight’s game is at 7pm EST at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Lynx defeat Fever in Preseason matchup at the Gangelhoff Center

May 25, 2011 10:39am
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There might not be more hype, entering this season, then that surrounding the Minnesota Lynx. With the drafting of Maya Moore and Amber Harris, Augustus returning from injury and the addition of McWilliams-Franklin, the Lynx could have the biggest increase of wins of any team from a year ago.

Mike Peden reported on the preseason game yesterday, where the Lynx won 71-66.

“Although Moore has been hailed as Minnesota’s next star since she was drafted, fellow first-round pick Amber Harris showcased the team’s revamped post players. The Xavier alum finished with a double-double, netting 10 points and 10 rebounds, showing the versatility that landed her on Lynx radar since last year.”

Angel Robinson also had a strong outing for Minnesota, while the Indiana starters played well early building a 24-16 1st quarter lead.

To the point, Part 3 (Indiana Fever)

May 24, 2011 6:53am
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The Indiana Fever once again made the playoffs in 2010, but their season did not turn out as planned. An early start to training camp (with several starters battling for the Turkish League title), injuries, lack of rebounding, and an improved Eastern Conference meant that the then defending Eastern Conference champions would have to protect their title without home court advantage (which didn’t happen thanks to the Liberty). A major reason for Indy’s decline in 2010 had to do with point guard instability.

Though anointed the starter at the beginning of the season, Briann January would once again lose her spot to veteran Tully Bevilaqua, whose style of play meshed better with the ball-dominant superstar wing duo in Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas. This season, however, it appears that the point guard position will be more of an open competition between the 24-year-old January and Australian national team member and Euroleague star Erin Phillips, who is only 26.  Regardless of who starts at the point, the starter will be at least a decade younger than the seasoned vet Bevilaqua (who now plays for the San Antonio Silver Stars).  Will the Fever’s championship aspirations receive a boost thanks to more youth at the point or will they stumble due to [relative] inexperience?  Stay tuned!

Indiana will play its first game of the preseason against the Minnesota Lynx at 12pm central time in St. Paul, Minnesota (Concordia University).

Injury Report