INDIANAPOLIS – Steadied by a returning nucleus of eight core players from a 2016 Indiana Fever squad that reached the WNBA Playoffs in a record 12th straight season, the Indiana Fever have finalized a preseason roster for 2017 training camp that begins this weekend under the direction of first-year head coach Pokey Chatman.
Chatman, who spent the past six seasons as coach of the Chicago Sky, also welcomes a key offseason acquisition in All-Star forward Candice Dupree, who will join the cast of returners which include starting guard Briann January, wing players Marissa Coleman and Shenise Johnson, and post players Natalie Achonwa and Erlana Larkins. Also returning is 2016 All-Rookie guard Tiffany Mitchell, and backcourt mates Erica Wheeler and Jeanette Pohlen.
Chatman and her staff direct the team through its opening practice on Sunday, April 23, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (8:00 a.m..), prior to the Indiana Pacers’ NBA playoff game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The first week of workouts will include two-a-day practices on Monday and Wednesday, with single sessions on Tuesday and Thursday.
Chatman’s staff will include returning assistant coach Steven Key, and newcomer Jessica Miller, who was on Chatman’s staff in Chicago. Returning to the Fever in a player development capacity is longtime Fever point guard and Australian Olympian Tully Bevilaqua, who has remained active with the franchise since her retirement as a player.
Absent from the Fever roster for the first time since 2000 is longtime All-Star Tamika Catchings, who has accepted a front office position with Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Her position on the roster is essentially filled by the addition of Dupree, a five-time All-Star and former champion with Phoenix. Dupree manages a similar spot in the lineup, and enters her 12th WNBA season ranked 11th among the league’s all-time rebounding leaders, and 15th among career scorers. Another player expected to energize the new-look Fever will be rookie forward Erica McCall, a high-energy forward out of Stanford who was the club’s top draft pick. McCall led Stanford to the Final Four while averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds per game during the NCAA Tournament.
McCall heads a list of four rookie draft picks and four free agent post players who open camp with the Fever on Sunday, looking to fill four roster spots to complete the Fever’s 12-player roster. Rookies include Feyonda Fitzgerald of Temple, Ronni Williams of Florida, and Adrienne Motley of Miami. All four free agent invitees have previous experience in the WNBA: Nadia Colhado is a mainstay on the Brazilian National Team who played parts of two seasons with the Atlanta Dream; Bashaara Graves was a second-round draft pick who played 12 games with Minnesota last year as a rookie; Victoria Macaulay and Shanece McKinney have logged WNBA time in Chicago and New York, respectively.
Besides Catchings and Lynetta Kizer, who was part of the three-team trade for Dupree, two players from last year’s playoff roster will not play in 2017. Maggie Lucas will miss the 2017 season after re-injuring her right knee prior to training camp, during rehabilitation from the torn ACL she sustained last May. Devereaux Peters will miss the season after having surgery on both hips. The Fever and Peters have reached a contract separation agreement, and Peters will become an unrestricted free agent once she clears waivers.
The Fever embark on their 18th summer basketball campaign. Indiana opens its regular season with a pair of West Coast road games at Seattle (May 14) and Phoenix (May 17), prior to a Saturday, May 20 home opener against the Connecticut Sun (7:00 p.m.)
The Washington Mystics will visit Indianapolis for a preseason game and Indiana’s annual Choices for Champions educational event, May 2 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fever’s current 17-player roster will be trimmed to 12 by May 13, prior to the club’s season opener.
2017 Indiana Fever Roster —
#11 Natalie Achonwa
#25 Marissa Coleman
#31 Nadia Colhado
#4 Candice Dupree
#5 Feyonda Fitzgerald
#12 Bashaara Graves
#20 Briann January
#42 Shenise Johnson
#2 Erlana Larkins
#7 Victoria Macaulay
#22 Erica McCall
#21 Shanece McKinney
#3 Tiffany Mitchell
#23 Adrienne Motley
#32 Jeanette Pohlen
#17 Erica Wheeler
#1 Ronni Williams
Head Coach– Pokey Chatman, LSU ‘91
Assistant Coach– Steven Key, Boston U. ‘90
Assistant Coach–Jessica Miller, Illinois-Chicago ‘10
Athletic Trainer– Todd Champlin, Daemen College ‘82
Strength and Conditioning Coach– Chase Campbell, Ball State ‘15
Player Development Coach– Tully Bevilaqua, Australia
Video Coordinator– Anthony Beaumont, Loyola-Chicago ‘14
Equipment/Operations Coordinator– Megan Tsangaris, Xavier ‘15
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