Indiana Fever (5-24) at Phoenix Mercury (16-14)
Fever: F – Candice Dupree, F – Victoria Vivians, C – Natalie Achonwa, G – Cappie Pondexter, G – Erica Wheeler
Mercury: F – DeWanna Bonner, F – Stephanie Talbot, C – Brittney Griner, G – Diana Taurasi, G – Briann January
The Indiana Fever face the Phoenix Mercury for the third and final time this season on Friday. The Mercury lead the series 2-0 over Indiana and are looking to end a two-game losing streak, while the Fever are in search of win number six on the year after falling to Seattle, 94-79 on Tuesday.
Veteran Candice Dupree lead the Fever in their loss to Seattle with 22 points and eight rebounds Tuesday night. Despite falling to Washington on Tuesday, Phoenix center Brittney Griner recorded a double-double with 35 points and 11 boards on 15-of-25 shooting from the field.
Guard Shenise Johnson (left knee ACL rehabilitation) remains out and will not play.
• Friday’s game begins the Fever’s final trip West and represents Indiana’s only visit to Phoenix this season. The Fever return to the Arizona desert a day ahead of Saturday’s venture to the Nevada desert, hoping to avoid a sweep in both series. Indiana split a pair of games at Talking Stick Resort Arena last summer, coming away with an 84-77 win last July in the most recent visit.
• Indiana embarks on a West Coast back-to-back weekend with bouts at Phoenix on Friday and Las Vegas on Saturday. it is the first of two back-to-back weekends to close the season, playing Chicago in home (Saturday) and road (Sunday) games next weekend.
• The Fever are 2-1 since the All-Star Break, splitting their last six games overall. Indiana’s two-game win streak was its first since June 15 and 18, 2017, at home against Atlanta and at Chicago.
• Despite six first-half 3-pointers, five from Victoria Vivians, Indiana succumbed to the high-octane Seattle Storm, 94-79, on Tuesday. The Fever used a 13-0 scoring run to lead after the first quarter, but Seattle’s transition game produced 51 percent shooting as Natasha Howard led the Storm with 19 points. Candice Dupree paced indiana with a game-high 22 points.
• With Indiana’s triumph over Dallas, the Fever have beaten the current No. 2 (Atlanta), No. 3 (Minnesota), No. 4 (Los Angeles) and No. 8 (Dallas) teams in the WNBA standings, with two of them on the road.
• All five Fever victories have come while holding opponents below 80 points. In 16 games since June 24, Indiana is 4-0 when opponents fail to reach 87 points, and 0-12 in all remaining games. In 16 games during that stretch, opponents topped 90 points seven times.
• Candice Dupree is 15 points shy of becoming the sixth player in WNBA history with 6,000 career points. She is 23 from passing Lauren Jackson (6,007) as the eighth-leading scorer in league annals.
• Either Kelsey Mitchell (3) or Victoria Vivians (4) has made five 3-pointers on seven occasions this season. For sake of comparison, the Fever rookie record is six by Tamika Catchings (7/3/02) and the WNBA rookie standard is seven by Crystal Robinson (7/24/99). Prior to this season, a Fever rookie made five or more 3-pointers in a game just nine times in 18 seasons.
• Indiana’s rookie tandem of Kelsey Mitchell (60) & Victoria Vivians (57) sports 117 3-pointers through 29 games, just one shy of the league mark by a pair of first-year players on the same team (118 by Minnesota in 1999: Tonya Edwards, 66, and Katie Smith, 52).
• With just three 3-pointers from Victoria Vivians, the Fever will become the first WNBA team ever to have a pair of rookies both eclipse 60 3-point field goals.
• Indiana is 21-16 overall in the series, despite Phoenix winning five of the past six meetings.