Game Preview: Fever Tip Off Season in Washington

The Indiana Fever begin the 23rd season in franchise history with a road matchup at the Washington Mystics for the first of four meetings this year.

In regular season openers, Indiana owns a 12-10 all-time record in the debut game to tip off the regular season. This is the fourth time the Fever will open the regular season against the Washington Mystics, with the most recent season opener coming in 2020 to begin the abbreviated ‘wubble’ season.

A familiar face for Fever fans returns to the front office as Lin Dunn was announced as Interim General Manager and Senior Advisor for Fever Basketball Operations during the offseason. The winningest head coach in Indiana Fever history moves to the front office role after a six-year stint with the University of Kentucky women’s basketball program. One of the all-time winningest head coaches in WNBA history, Dunn roamed the Fever sidelines from 2004-07 as an assistant coach and from 2008-14 as the head coach.

Dunn has helped assemble an Indiana roster with tested veterans Kelsey Mitchell, Tiffany Mitchell, Danielle Robinson and Victoria Vivians in the fold, while also adding a plethora of talent through the 2022 WNBA Draft. The Fever became the first team in WNBA history to make four first-round selections in one draft back on April 15. The first-round picks began with two-time Big 12 Player of the Year NaLyssa Smith at the No. 2 overall spot, followed by Emily Engstler from Louisville at No. 4 and Stanford’s Lexie Hull at No. 6, concluding with Queen Egbo from Baylor at No. 10 overall. The Fever used its lone second-round pick to select point guard Destanni Henderson, fresh off winning a national championship with the University of South Carolina. Indiana also added frontcourt reinforcements from Alaina Coates and Alanna Smith, as well as guard Bria Hartley during the offseason.

Indiana added 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year, Crystal Dangerfield, earlier today to a Hardship Exception Contract as well. Ten players will be available for Indiana against the Mystics as Alaina Coates, Bria Hartley and Danielle Robinson had their contracts temporarily suspended to begin the regular season while fulfilling overseas commitments.

Third-year head coach Marianne Stanley returns to Indiana this year after earning the preeminent basketball honor during the offseason by being selected for induction into the 2022 Class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2022 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass., on September 9-10, 2022. Stanley will be joined by Manu Ginobili, Tim Hardaway, Bob Huggins, George Karl, Hugh Evans, Lindsay Whalen and Swin Cash. Lou Hudson from the Veterans Committee, Larry Costello and Del Harris from the Contributor Committee, Stanley’s college teammate Theresa Shank-Grentz from the Women’s Veterans Committee and Radivoj Korac from the International Committee also will be enshrined.

Following a 12-20 record in 2021, Washington returns with reinforcements from two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne. The 6-foot-5 forward enters her ninth season, but has only played three games for the Mystics since Washington cut the nets down to win the 2019 WNBA title. Washington won this year’s WNBA Draft Lottery, but traded the No. 1 overall pick to Atlanta to move down to take Shakira Austin from Ole Miss at No. 3 overall. The winningest head coach in WNBA history, Mike Thibault, returns for his 10th season on the bench for the Mystics.

The Fever open the home portion of the regular season slate at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday against the Los Angeles Sparks at 3 p.m. ET. Tickets for the game can still be purchased by visiting FeverBasketball.com.

Injury Report 
Fever: None
Mystics: TBD

Broadcast Information
Livestream: Indiana Fever Facebook Page
TV: CBS Sports Network
Pat Boylan (play-by-play), Tully Bevilaqua (analyst)