INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Fever opened up the 2018 preseason with a 79-65 victory over the Chicago Sky, Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana was led by rookie forward Stephanie Mavunga who had 18 points and eight rebounds, providing a strong interior presence for the Fever. Mavunga’s teammate at Ohio State and fellow rookie, Kelsey Mitchell, also chipped in eight points. Second-year guard Alexis Peterson scored 17 points and four assists.
“It was nice to see the rookies get their feet wet,” says Fever head coach Pokey Chatman. “Overall, we got better today in terms of seeing where people are strong at and the areas we need to improve, which is a lot.”
Peterson’s 17 points exceeded her regular season career-high of seven points vs. Atlanta on 8/23/17. She also set a career mark from the free throw line for both makes and attempts, shooting 10-10, which surpassed her season total of 6-6 in 17 games with Seattle in 2017. She also set a career-high with 4 assists.
“I just wanted to be aggressive,” says Peterson. “I wanted to be spark off the bench.”
As a team, the Fever shot 26-29 from the free throw line, far exceeding their average of 12 attempts from the stripe last season.
“One thing you can control is how aggressive that you are,” says Mavunga. “You can always drive and attack and make the other team vulnerable to fouling you.”
After trailing early, Indiana went on an 11-3 run to end the first quarter, with the trio of Mavunga, K. Mitchell, and Peterson doing most of the damage for the Fever.
Indiana took a 42-34 lead into halftime. Chicago was able to keep things close, shooting a smoldering 7-13 from the three-point line in the first half.
Chicago trimmed the Indiana lead to just two at the beginning of the third quarter, but Indiana was able to restore its game high 14-point lead by the end of the third quarter. The Fever kept a tight grip on the lead in the fourth quarter, never allowing Chicago within nine.
Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell was fouled hard on her way to the basket early in the second quarter and did not return to the game. She has been diagnosed with a facial injury and her status is unknown at this time.
Indiana will finish up the preseason with a visit to the Mystics on Saturday, May 12 at the University of Delaware.