Game Preview: Fever at Sky

Game Preview: Fever at Sky

Indiana Fever (20-14) at Chicago Sky (23-11)

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Site: UIC Pavilion (Chicago, IL)
Radio: 107.5 FM The Fan
Television: ESPN2
Webcast: Live webcast and stats can be accessed via WNBA Live Access on (Webcasts during games televised on FOX Sports Indiana may not be available in local market areas due to blackout restrictions.)

Storylines & Promotion

  • Making their WNBA-record 11th consecutive appearance in the playoffs, the third-seeded Indiana Fever begin their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at Chicago on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m.
  • The Fever are seeking their fifth consecutive trip to the East Finals and their eighth in the past 11 years. The Indiana Fever and Los Angeles Sparks are the only WNBA franchises ever to reach the conference finals at least seven times within a 10-year period.
  • Five players remain from Indiana’s 2012 championship team, and 10 total players have appeared on past Fever playoff teams. Eleven of the 12 players, including trade acquisition Shenise Johnson, boast previous WNBA playoff experience. Rookie Natalie Achonwa is the only player without WNBA postseason experience.
  • Indiana has earned at least one playoff win in eight consecutive seasons – a WNBA record.• Tamika Catchings makes her 12th playoff appearance, appearing in every playoff game (56) in Fever history. Catchings ranks third all-time in WNBA history in playoff games played, and second with 55 games started.
  • Catchings enters the 2015 postseason 51 points shy of being the first player in league history to score 1,000 points in the postseason.
  • The Fever (20-14) posted their first winning record during the regular season and won 20 games, both for the first time since the 2012 season. This season marks the eighth time in franchise history the Fever won at least 20 games.
  • Finishing with a 9-8 record on the road this season, the Fever tied the franchise record for most road victories in a season. This season marks the sixth time in team history the team has won nine road games and the third time in the last four seasons.
  • Indiana finished the regular season with the top marks in the WNBA in three-point field goal shooting percentage (.360), and three-point field goal defense (.301). Briann January led all WNBA players this season while shooting a career-best 43.1 percent from three-point range.
  • In her first season as head coach, Stephanie White won more games than any first-year head coach in Fever franchise history. Lin Dunn went 17-17 in her first season as head coach during the 2008 season.
  • White became the third rookie head coach in WNBA history to record at least 20 wins in his or her first year. Michael Cooper set the record with 28 wins during his first year as head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2000.

Probable Starters
Fever – F-Marissa Coleman, F-Tamika Catchings, C-Natalie Achonwa, G-Shenise Johnson, G-Briann January
Sky – F- Elena Delle Donne, F- Jessica Breland, C- Erika de Souza, G- Tamera Young, G- Courtney Vandersloot

Last Meeting
(August 4, 2015) (August 4, 2015) Elena Delle Donne had 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and four blocks as the Chicago Sky piled up a WNBA season-high 106 points in a 24-point runaway victory over the Fever. Maggie Lucas scored 14 points for Indiana, which had won three straight and eight of 10 entering the game. The Sky shot 72 percent in the first half and 63 for the game en route to sweeping the four-game season series for the first time in team history.

Last Games
Fever: (September 13, 2015) The Fever locked up the third seed in the East by virtue of a Washington loss to Atlanta earlier in the day on Sunday, but Indiana took care of business anyways as Natalie Achonwa converted a pair of layups in the final two minutes to break a 76-all tie and give the Fever an 81-76 victory over New York in the season finale. The Liberty led by seven points early in the fourth quarter as Sugar Rodgers converted a four-point play with 9:05 left in the game; but Shavonte Zellous scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the final frame as the Fever forced six turnovers down the stretch to help seal the victory. Briann January returned to the lineup after missing five games and finished with 13 points. Achonwa added 13 in her first start in over a month.

Sky: (September 13, 2015) Elena Delle Donne finished with 28 points to lead Chicago, but the Sky only managed to score nine points on 3-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter as they fell, 75-86, at Connecticut in Sunday’s regular season finale. Delle Donne shot 6-for-8 from the floor and finished with 19 points in the first half as the Sky took at 47-42 advantage into the locker room at the half; but Chicago had no answer for Sun center Kelsey Bone in the second half as she finished with 31 points.

The Sky swept the Fever during the regular season, winning three of the four matchups by at least 23 points and by a combined average of 20.3 points per game. Before this season, Chicago had never defeated Indiana more than twice in the same regular season in the history of the 10-year series. Indiana and Chicago have met in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons with the lower seeded squad winning each series. In 2014, the fourth-seeded Sky upended the second-seeded Fever in three games during the Eastern Conference Finals.