The Indiana Fever close out its home schedule before heading to the Olympic break on Friday night against the New York Liberty for the third and final regular season matchup this season. New York comes to Indiana winning three of the last four games, as well as both previous matchups against the Fever to tip off the regular season.
Friday night will feature two of the top 15 leading scorers in the WNBA in Betnijah Laney (19.6 ppg) and Kelsey Mitchell (16.2 ppg).
Indiana snapped a 12-game losing skid last time out on Saturday with a 73-67 win against the Connecticut Sun at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Danielle Robinson played the entire second half and scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Robinson’s 19 points also tied a season high for her. Kelsey Mitchell also added 10 of her 14 points in the second half for Indiana. In the first half, Mitchell passed Shavonte Zellous for seventh all-time in franchise scoring. Mitchell enters Friday night with 1,581 points and trails Candice Dupree with 1,621 for sixth in Fever history. Teaira McCowan battled Connecticut’s All-Star frontcourt and recorded her 23rd career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. It was also her seventh double-double of the season.
Offensively, the Fever turned the ball over only seven times against one of the best defensive teams in the WNBA, which is the fewest turnovers the Fever recorded in a game this season.
Last time out for the Liberty saw Sami Whitcomb score 26 points and Laney add 18 to help New York beat the Dallas Wings, 99-96. The Liberty made a franchise-record 15 3-pointers on 31 attempts. No other team has made more 3-point field goals (197) or attempted more 3-point field goals (538) than New York has.
Whitcomb enters Friday night as the WNBA leader in made 3-point field goals with 53 this season. Jazmine Jones also scored 16 points, while 2020 No. 1 overall pick, Sabrina Ionescu, added 13 points and 12 assists for the Liberty. Ionescu is third in the WNBA in assists per game averaging 6.3 per contest.
Fever: Tiffany Mitchell (probable; right thumb), Bernadett Határ (out; right ankle)
Liberty: Natasha Howard (0ut; left knee), Jocelyn Willoughby (out; left Achilles)
May 16, 2021: The Indiana Fever reduced a 19-point deficit down to four in the second half, but to the New York Liberty, 73-65, in the 2021 regular season home opener at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
New York shot out to a 31-18 lead in the first quarter behind an 11-of-19 shooting clip as a team and 11 points from Betnijah Laney.
Jantel Lavender anchored the Fever defense and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. Lavender, along with Teaira McCowan, combined for 25 of the 40 rebounds secured by the Fever.
McCowan was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up her second technical foul of the game.
Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever in scoring for the second game of the season with 16 points and two rebounds. Danielle Robinson found her way into double figures with 13 points and a game-high five assists.
Tiffany Mitchell led all bench scorers with 12 points and pulled down four rebounds.
TV: Bally Sports Indiana, NBA TV
Pat Boylan (play-by-play), Bria Goss (analyst)
The Fever round out the schedule before pausing for the WNBA All-Star and Olympic break on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET at the Atlanta Dream. Indiana will return to Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Saturday, August 28 when the Las Vegas Aces visit for a 1 p.m. ET tip. Tickets are still available and fans across the state, as well as in Kentucky and Ohio, can also tune in for Fever games this year at FeverBasketball.com and the team’s official Facebook page.