Sat, 30 Sep 2023

Fever meet Sun, work toward streak of a different kind

Field Level Media
30 May 2023, 05:05 GMT+10

With the weight of a long losing streak behind them, the Indiana Fever will aim to build on a rare win when they face the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday at Uncasville, Conn.

The Fever (1-2) outlasted the host Atlanta Dream 90-87 on Sunday to snap their league record-tying 20-game losing streak that dated back to last season. The Tulsa Shock lost 20 straight in 2011.

Sunday's victory was Indiana's first since June 19, 2022, and proved that the burden of the Fever's rebuild doesn't fall solely on 2023 top pick Aliyah Boston.

The touted rookie supplied 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in Sunday's win, while second-year standout NaLyssa Smith took charge with her team-leading 23 points and 12 rebounds.

All five of Indiana's bench players who saw action scored, including Queen Egbo, who posted 10 points and fell a rebound shy of a double-double in just 14 minutes. Kristy Wallace also had 10 points off the bench.

"I have talented teammates around me," Boston said after Sunday's game. "It's really fun playing with them because they're gonna make the right decision."

The well-rounded contributions helped the Fever outscore Atlanta 49-40 in a teeter-totter second half that featured four ties and 19 lead changes.

The Sun (3-1) found themselves in a less competitive second half during their first loss of the season, an 81-65 setback at New York on Saturday.

Connecticut led 38-32 at halftime but was outscored 49-27 in the final two quarters, the fewest points they've scored and the most they've allowed in a half this season.

"I felt like our execution on both ends of the floor wasn't where it needed to be when you're playing a team like New York," first-year Sun coach Stephanie White said. "I felt like we held the ball a lot in the second half. ... We got stagnant."

Connecticut leading scorer DeWanna Bonner slogged through a 4-of-13 shooting performance in a 14-point outing, while Alyssa Thomas managed just five points and went 0 of 5 from the floor. Bonner averages a team-best 17.2 points per game, while Thomas averages 14.8 points while shooting 42.5 percent after she entered Saturday's game at over 50 percent.

Still, the Sun have shown they can win without a sparkling offensive display. They overcame 18 turnovers and a 31.8-percent shooting performance to outlast Indiana 70-61 in the season opener on May 19 at Indianapolis.

Bonner logged 19 points to lead Connecticut in the early victory over Indiana, while Kelsey Mitchell paced the Fever with 20 in the loss.

--Field Level Media

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