Game Preview: Fever vs Sparks

 

Indiana Fever (9-18) at Los Angeles Sparks (16-10)

Date: Thursday, August 22nd
Time: 10:30 p.m. (ET)
Site: STAPLES Center
Live Stream: CBS Sports Network

The Indiana Fever travel to Los Angeles to face the Sparks on Thursday in their lone visit to Southern California. It is the first of two meetings in a week against L.A., with the Sparks visiting Bankers Life Fieldhouse next Thursday.

Indiana fell to 9-18 after an 82-76 loss to New York on Tuesday. The Sparks, meanwhile, rose to 16-10 with an 81-71 win over Minnesota.

A big night for Teaira McCowan helped the Fever overcome a 17-point deficit against the Liberty, but McCowan’s 24 points and eight rebounds weren’t enough for the win. For the Sparks, Candace Parker had 20 points and Chelsea Gray added 17 as L.A. took sole possession of fourth place in the WNBA standings.

Probable Starters
Fever: F – Betnijah Laney, F – Candice Dupree, C –Teaira McCowan or Natalie Achonwa, G – Tiffany Mitchell, G – Erica Wheeler
Sparks: F –Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, F – Nneka Ogwumike, C – Candace Parker, G –Sidney Wiese, G – Chelsea Gray

NOTES

  • In a three-way tie for ninth place, 4 games behind Phoenix and 3 1/2 behind Minnesota, Indiana is clamoring for wins as just seven games remain on the regular season calendar.
  • Indiana seeks consecutive victories at STAPLES Center for the first time in club history, winning over L.A. last season, 78-76 on July 20. The Fever seek just their fifth road win ever at Los Angeles.
  • The matchup with L.A. presents a head-to-head encounter with 6-foot-7 first-round draft picks – Teaira McCowan selected No. 2 by Indiana and Kalani Brown, chosen seventh by the Sparks.
  • Buoyed recently by the play of McCowan, Indiana reserves have totaled 222 points in six games since the All-Star Break for an average of 37.0 per game.
  • Indiana’s bench has scored at least 30 points in its past five games.
  • Indiana is 3-3 since the All-Star Break, absorbing back-to-back losses this week at Washington and against New York.
  • Through 27 games, Teaira McCowan averages just under 20 minutes per contest with 8.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game. She is the league leader with a 20.0 percent rebound rate, measuring the percentage of missed shots rebounded while a player is on the floor.
  • The Fever’s 9-18 mark through 27 games is currently five games better than their 4-23 mark a year ago.
  • Erica Wheeler enters Thursday’s contest as the Fever’s new record-holder for assists in a season. Her five assists against the Liberty sent her past Tamika Catchings’ previous mark of 143 in 2005.