Indiana Fever (11-20) at Minnesota Lynx (16-15)
The Indiana Fever visit Target Center and the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday evening, opening a final week of play in the regular season.
Indiana dropped a heartbreaker on Thursday, falling 87-83 in the final moments against Los Angeles, currently the WNBA’s third team. Minnesota last played on Tuesday when the Lynx clinched a playoff spot by getting past Chicago, 93-85.
While Thursday’s game with the Sparks was won on the strength of seven 3-pointers by Chelsea Gray, the headliner for Indiana was rookie center Teaira McCowan for the third straight game. McCowan produced 24 points and 10 rebounds to register her third straight game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds – a feat matched just once before in Fever history. Over the past seven games, McCowan averages 18.1 points and 11.1 rebounds. She needs just five rebounds to break the Fever’s rookie rebounding mark set by Tamika Catchings in 2002.
For the Lynx, Sylvia Fowles scored 25 points and Odyssey Sims added 23 to vault Minnesota into its ninth straight playoff berth.
Fever: G/F – Kennedy Burke, F – Candice Dupree, C –Teaira McCowan, G – Tiffany Mitchell, G – Erica Wheeler
Lynx: F –Napheesa Collier, F – Damiris Dantas, C – Sylvia Fowles, G –Odyssey Sims, G – Danielle Robinson
- Indiana hopes to win the regular season series with Minnesota for the first time since a two-game sweep in 2007.
- Two games with the Lynx this year, both in Indianapolis, have represented monumental Fever comebacks. In June, Minnesota’s 22-point lead became the largest deficit the Fever would ever overcome – only to lose the contest after a late lead of their own. Then on Aug. 3, Minnesota’s 20-point lead was not enough as Indiana overcame that difference for an 86-75 win – the largest comeback win in franchise history.
- Indiana is 5-5 since the All-Star Break and has beaten a pair of clubs with winning records – Seattle and Las Vegas. Los Angeles nearly became the third playoff participant to fall to Indiana within the past week. Prior to the All-Star Break, the Fever were winless against teams with a winning record except for a June win at Chicago, then 5-2.
- After back-to-back games with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds, rookie center Teaira McCowan had 24 points and 10 boards against the Sparks. Her three consecutive double-doubles are one shy of Tamika Catchings’ club record of four in 2002. Catchings’ four-game streak in her rookie season also was the only other time a Fever player had 20/10 efforts in three consecutive games. Nobody has done that in four straight games.
- McCowan enters Sunday’s game just five rebounds shy of the Fever’s rookie rebounding mark of 276, set by Catchings in 2002. McCowan currently ranks third in Fever history for single-season rebounds (272), and is eighth among rookie rebounders in WNBA history.
- The Fever’s 11-20 mark through 31 games is currently six games better than their 5-26 mark a year ago.
- Fever fans need to respect the vet, Candice Dupree! Currently averaging double-figure scoring for the 14th consecutive season, she joins Tamika Catchings (15 seasons) and Tina Thompson (14) as the only players to do so.
- Similarly, Dupree’s longevity has been remarkable. Dupree, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are the only players in league history to start at least 30 games in a record 13 seasons. Dupree debuted in the league in 2006, with Taurasi entering the WNBA in 2004 and Bird in 2002.
- In Thursday’s game, Dupree shot 8-of-17 from the floor to pass Tina Thompson with the second-most made field goals in league history.
- Kelsey Mitchell came off the bench for 16 points against the Sparks. Her two 3-pointers give her 65 on the season, now just five behind her rookie pace of 70 last season which was fourth in club history.
- Alone in ninth place with just three games remaining, Indiana has been eliminated from playoff contention and now will await a WNBA Draft Lottery to determine its top-four draft position next spring.