Game Preview: Sparks vs Fever

 

Los Angeles Sparks (18-11) at Indiana Fever (11-19)

Date: Thursday, August 29th
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Live Stream:FOX Sports Indiana and WNBA League Pass

The Indiana Fever welcome the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday, hoping to win their third straight game while avenging a Southern California defeat last Thursday.

Indiana rose to 11-19 on Tuesday against Las Vegas, keeping slim playoff hopes alive with their second straight victory over a team already slotted for the playoffs. Indiana blitzed the Aces by an 86-71 score. The Sparks, meanwhile, are coming off a 95-66 defeat at Washington.

Tuesday’s Fever win was all about Teaira McCowan. She posted 24 points and 17 rebounds to become the first rookie in WNBA history to amass 20+ points and 15+ rebounds in consecutive games. For L.A. in the nation’s capital, four players finished with 12 or 10 points while absorbing a 29-point defeat.

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 –Riquna Williams, G – Chelsea Gray

NOTES

  • Indiana hopes to avoid a series sweep by the Sparks, trying to salvage the final game of the series just as it did last July by winning in Los Angeles. A Fever victory would spell its longest win streak of the season.
  • Indiana is 5-4 since the All-Star Break and has been a pair of clubs with winning records – Seattle and Las Vegas. 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.
  • Rookie center Teaira McCowan has compiled back-to-back games with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds. No player in league history has accomplished the feat in three straight games.
  • Through 30 games, Teaira McCowan averages just over 20 minutes per contest with 9.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game. She is the league leader with a 19.7 percent rebound rate, measuring the percentage of missed shots rebounded while a player is on the floor. She also ranks fourth in the WNBA in rebounds per game, fifth in shooting percentage and ninth in blocked shots.
  • McCowan enters Thursday’s game just 15 rebounds shy of the Fever’s rookie rebounding mark of 276, set by Tamika Catchings in 2002. McCowan currently ranks sixth in Fever history for single-season rebounds (262), and is 10th among rookie rebounders in WNBA history.
  • In her past six games, McCowan averages 17.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. In 22 games since her first start on June 19, she averages 11.0 points and 10.2 rebounds to boast distinction as the league’s only player to average a double in that span.
  • The Fever’s 11-19 mark through 30 games is currently six games better than their 5-25 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.
  • Alone in ninth place with just four games remaining, Indiana must win or find itself eliminated from playoff contention; and hope for Phoenix to lose. Any Fever loss or Mercury win will send Indiana to elimination.