Indianapolis — The Indiana Fever continued their stellar home-court play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a 91-85 win over the Dallas Wings on Saturday night. Indiana took their first lead 13-12 in the first quarter and never trailed again, avenging a 27-point loss in Dallas just four days before. They’re now 3-0 at home in 2017.
Dallas trailed by 10 points with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter before cutting the margin to 85-82 in the final minute, but four straight free throws from Briann January closed it out for Indiana.
“We got good looks,” said Fever head coach Pokey Chatman. “It was nice to see us shot fake, put our head down, get in the defense and remain balanced. I thought Briann January was aggressive early on.”
Aggressive offense was the story for the Fever, scoring 46 of their 91 points in the paint and another 27 from the free throw line on a season-high 31 attempts. Indiana was 10-for-10 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“We came into this game wanting to have an attack mindset and be the aggressors,” January said. “When were out there in Dallas, we really didn’t set the tone from the beginning. The starters, especially, wanted to come out, set the tone and be aggressive.”
January was the catalyst for the Fever offense, scoring 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting and delivering a season-high seven assists. Candice Dupree added 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting. Dupree has now shot 50 percent or better from the floor in six consecutive games. Tiffany Mitchell tallied 14 points and six rebounds, as well.
Natalie Achonwa continued her improving play with 12 points and a season-high seven rebounds. Achonwa has seen a season-high in minutes played each of the last three games while scoring in double figures for the third consecutive contest.
“I’m just trying to provide energy,” Achonwa said. “That first group really gives us that first punch. I’m trying to focus on not having a drop off. I’m in there to give (Erlana Larkins) a rest, and I think I’ve really accepted and honed in on that role.”
In the House
Glory Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas. Skylar Diggins-Smith added 17 points and five assists.
Indiana took its first lead 13-12 with 2:14 to play in the first quarter before garnering a 41-32 halftime advantage. They outrebounded Dallas 23-16 in the half and dominated the paint, scoring 24 of 41 points from inside. The Fever held Skylar Diggins-Smith to just five first-half points on 1-for-5 shooting.
Glory Johnson snagged her double-double before the five-minute mark of the third quarter, helping the Wings cut the lead to five, but a barrage of Fever buckets put Indiana back in control by quarter’s end, 69-58.
The savvy, veteran Dupree took over the game during a crucial stretch, scoring Indiana’s final two baskets in the third prior to opening the fourth with another pair of makes. She scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second half.
Dallas made things interesting by climbing to within three with under a minute to play, but an aggressive January found herself at the free throw line to seal the game.
After turning the ball over 17 times in each of the last two games, Indiana gave it away just seven times tonight. The Fever bench contributed 26 points and Indiana led by as many as 13 in the game; their biggest lead in any game this season.
Both teams moved to 3-4 on the year. Indiana will face Phoenix at home on Wednesday, June 7, before the final contest of a three-game home stand with Seattle on Friday, June 9. Dallas will host Washington on Tuesday, June 6.