Excitement is building for the 2024 Indiana Fever season. After officially landing the first overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, the WNBA released the 2024 regular season schedule on Monday afternoon.
The Fever made significant strides last season under first-year head coach Christie Sides, jumping from five wins in 2022 to 13 last season. Veteran guard Kelsey Mitchell earned her first career All-Star selection, while Aliyah Boston — the first overall pick in the 2023 draft — was a unanimous pick for Rookie of the Year honors. Now, the Fever will be adding another top pick in 2024, with an eye on returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Though Fever fans will have to wait a few more months before the season tips off, here are five early storylines from Indiana’s 2024 schedule.
1. Marquee Opponent for Opening Night
There figures to be plenty of interest in the Fever’s season opener this year, with the new number-one pick making her debut at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The WNBA rewarded fans attending that game with an enticing matchup.
After the Fever open the season on the road at Connecticut on May 14, they will return to Indianapolis to host the New York Liberty for Opening Night on Thursday, May 16. New York went 32-8 last season after adding former MVPs Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart as well as All-Star point guard Courtney Vandersloot to a roster that already included All-Star guard Sabrina Ionescu. The Liberty won the Commissioner’s Cup and reached the WNBA Finals last season, with Stewart winning MVP for the second time in her career.
It will be a good early test for the Fever’s young roster.
2. New Format for the Commissioner’s Cup
The Commissioner’s Cup is back for the fourth straight season, but the WNBA made some tweaks to the format of the in-season competition. In previous years, each team’s first home and road game against its five conference rivals were designated as Commissioner’s Cup games. Those games were played sporadically over the first several weeks of the season, making it tough to follow when a team was playing a Commissioner’s Cup game and when they were just playing a regular season game.
This year, it will be much easier to follow, as the league has designated a two-week period from June 1-13 for Commissioner’s Cup qualifying games. Over that stretch, the Fever will play five games — one against each of the other five Eastern Conference teams.
The Fever tip off Commissioner’s Cup play by hosting Chicago for a Saturday matinee on June 1. The Fever will play their next three games on the road, traveling to New York on June 2, Washington on June 7, and Connecticut on June 10. Indiana will then wrap up that stretch with a home game against Atlanta on June 13.
The team from each conference with the top record in Commissioner’s Cup games will face off in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship on Tuesday, June 25 at the arena of the team with the best record in Cup play. The two finalists will compete for a $500,000 prize pool.
3. Road-Heavy Early Schedule
The Fever have only three road trips of three or more games on the schedule this year and all of them occur during the first half of the season. Indiana will play 14 of its first 21 games away from Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Fever will head out West in the second week of the regular season, visiting Seattle on May 22 followed by back-to-back games at Los Angeles and Las Vegas on May 24 and 25.
Their second stretch of three consecutive road games is during the aforementioned Commissioner’s Cup, though five days between the games in New York and Washington will likely allow the team to return home during that stretch.
The Fever will then play five consecutive road games over a 12-day stretch from June 21 – July 2. They open that stretch with visits to Atlanta on June 21 and Chicago on June 23, before setting back out West for three games at Seattle (June 27), Phoenix (June 30), and Las Vegas (July 2).
4. Olympic Break Returns
2024 is an Olympic year, which means the WNBA season will take a month-long break in mid-July to allow players to take part in the 2024 games in Paris. This is the first Olympic year since the WNBA expanded to a 40-game schedule, meaning the schedule will be a little more condensed on either side of the mid-season break.
The Fever will play 26 games in essentially two months leading up to the stoppage, which begins after Indiana’s game at Dallas on July 17. They resume play on Aug. 16 against Phoenix and play 14 more games over the next month, wrapping up the regular season on Sept. 19 at Washington.
5. Late-Season Homestand Offers Hope for Playoff Push
While the Fever have a road-heavy schedule in the first half of the season, it comes back around in the second half, particularly over the final few weeks. Indiana will play six straight home games from Sept. 4-15, a crucial late-season homestand that could prove vital to the Fever’s chances of qualifying for the playoffs.
The Fever host the Sparks on Sept. 4, Lynx on Sept. 6, and Dream on Sept. 8. The highlight of the homestand is two straight home games against the Las Vegas Aces on Sept. 11 and 13, the only two games the two-time defending WNBA champs will play at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the regular season. The Fever will then wrap up that stretch by hosting the Dallas Wings on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 15 for their final home game of the regular season.