Friday night marked the Indiana Fever’s first matchup against the Chicago Sky since eliminating them in the Eastern Conference Semifinals series in the 2015 WNBA Playoffs. The Fever fell behind early against a Sky team that came in determined to strike back, ultimately falling, 73-64.
The Fever struggled to convert against Chicago’s stern defense in the first half, shooting a dismal 29% from the field and falling behind by eight points heading into the intermission. The Fever would continue to grind in the second half, managing to tie the game late in the third quarter but were never able to pull ahead.
Briann January shined in the night’s contest, despite the loss, having her best offensive game since returning from injury. January tallied 17 points on 13 shot attempts, while playing her signature defense throughout the night.
“We have great shooters on our team and sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in the hoop. We got great looks today. I don’t think that’s our concern as much as it is just sticking to the details and getting more stops on defense,” stated an optimistic January.
The rest of the Fever cast struggled from the field with no other player reaching double-figures in the scoring column. This was the first game in rookie Tiffany Mitchell’s young career in which she did not hit that mark.
Reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne had another solid game for the Sky, making her presence felt with 14 points and seven rebounds as Chicago extends their winning streak to four games. 6’7” Chicago center Imani Boyette had her way inside, grabbing a game-high 12 boards to go along with her team-high 16 points off the bench.
Indiana settled for long-range shots for the entire game, forcing up 24 three-point attempts that resulted in only 12 points. Chicago, on the other hand, worked to get quality shots close to the hoop off of drives and post plays, leading to a 46-20 scoring advantage in the paint for the road team. Chicago’s aggressiveness inside was also illustrated by their 48-37 rebound advantage.
After the game Coach White acknowledged Chicago’s effort. “Chicago really is a good team, and they’re really a seasoned team… They didn’t settle for bad shots like we sometimes did, and they moved the ball really well. When you have 23 assists on 33 made baskets, that’s moving the ball. They played more efficient than we did, they put pressure on us, and we didn’t respond well enough.”
The Fever will have a chance to bounce back quickly when they take on the Seattle Storm at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday, June 12.