Game Recap: Fever 76, Wings 72

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Indiana Fever withstood a series of late rallies to beat the Dallas Wings on the road Thursday, 76-72.



The Fever led by nine or more points on three occasions, but each time the Wings cut the deficit to a single possession. Late free throws from Kelsey Mitchell and Natalie Achonwa sealed the win in the final minute, but not without late drama and some veteran poise from six-time All-Star Candice Dupree.

Ten of Dupree’s game-high 20 points came in the fourth quarter as she nearly single-handedly calmed the Fever offense and repeatedly staved off Dallas rallies. She finished 9-of-15 shooting and 5-of-6 in the fourth period as, possession-after-possession, Indiana ran its offense through its 14-year veteran.

No. 6 in this week’s AP Power Poll, Indiana (4-3) snapped a two-game losing skid and moved into a fifth-place tie in the WNBA standings with Minnesota and Seattle. The Fever moved above .500 while beating the Wings for the second time in a week. The Wings (0-5) remained winless while losing for the second time at College Park Center.

Asked about Indiana’s ability to withstand Dallas’ multiple comebacks, Indiana coach Pokey Chatman said, “Having a Candice Dupree on your end of the court. She has a calming effect. Whenever she touches the ball, things slow down. She’s confident and she’s poised, and she helps all our younger players.”

Added Dupree, “I’ve always been composed. I try to remind my teammates about time and score. ‘We’re up, no need to rush.’ I am comfortable having the ball in my hands and I only take shots I know I can make.”

Dallas whittled an 11-point deficit down to two with 3:57 to play on free throws by Brooke McCarty-Williams free throws, following a flagrant foul charge and turnover by the Fever’s Tiffany Mitchell. Indiana’s answer? Run the offense through Dupree again.

And she answered. Her fourth bucket of the quarter pushed the Indiana lead to 66-62 and her fifth – and Indiana’s fifth – gave the visitors a 68-62 lead with 2:17 to play.

After free throws by Theresa Plaisance kept the Wings within four, Indiana forced a turnover and scored five points following a clear-path foul. Natalie Achonwa hit a pair of free throws and on the same possession, Kelsey Mitchell’s fourth 3-pointer of the game staked Indiana to 73-64 lead with a minute remaining.

But Dallas still wasn’t done.

Plaisance hit her own 3-pointer as the clock crept under a minute and helped by Mitchell’s foul, she completed a four-point play. Thirty seconds later, Imani McGee-Stafford connected on a hook shot and the Wings were back within 73-70. Thankfully for the Fever, free throws by Kelsey Mitchell and Achonwa sealed the final score.

Kayla Thornton scored a career-high 19 points to pace four Dallas players in double figures for the first time this season. Plaisance and McGee-Stafford each added a dozen off the bench and Allisha Gray pitched in 10.

Behind Dupree, Achonwa led four double-figure scorers for Indiana and a pair of double-digit rebounders, recording her second double-double against the Wings in a week. Achonwa finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, Kelsey Mitchell scored 18 and Erica Wheeler added 10.

Indiana led by three at halftime and Dallas evened the score in the opening minutes of the second half on a three-point play from Kaela Davis. Three straight Fever baskets put Indiana on top 40-34 and moments later, a 10-6 mini-run by the Fever was capped by another Kelsey Mitchell 3-pointer as Indiana led by 10 again. Dupree’s jumper with 29 seconds left in the third sent Indiana to a 58-47 advantage headed to the final period.

After a see-saw first quarter, Indiana assumed command in the second period with nine unanswered points for a 30-20 lead, its largest of the first half. Four different players scored on four straight possessions for Indiana, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Betnijah Laney. Laney and Achonwa combined for 16 of Indiana’s 27 rebounds in the first half as the Fever enjoyed a 27-14 advantage on the boards at intermission. Laney finished with six points and a game- and career-high 11 rebounds.

Indiana returns to Indianapolis to play its fifth game in nine days, Saturday, when the Fever host the Chicago Sky at 7:00 p.m.


Candice Dupree

Dupree had a strong game, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds all while shooting 60 percent from the field.


Kelsey Mitchell

Always lethal from three, Mitchell hit four threes against the Dallas Wings, finishing with 18 points, two assists and two steals.