Rookies Roll Fever to Victory
May 10, 2005 at Conseco Fieldhouse
The Fever improved its preseason record to 2-0, while the Mercury lost in its preseason opener.
“They (Phoenix) were missing a few players and were a little behind because of that, but overall I was happy with the way we played tonight,” Fever Head Coach Brian Winters said. “We got a chance to see everyone play and we didn’t over extend anyone. It was good to get Tan (White) on the court. She played really well. I thought Yolanda Paige did a good job too. We accomplished our goals tonight.”
In the opening minutes of the game, it was a nip-and-tuck affair as both teams fought to get into its offensive rhythm. It wasn’t until the 7:05 mark of the opening half that the Fever really began to pick up the pace. A blocked shot by Kelly Schumacher followed by two free throws from Paige sparked a 13-2 run to allow Indiana its largest lead of the half, 31-21. The Fever enjoyed a 37-29 advantage heading into the locker room.
Indiana stormed out of the gates and dominated in the second half as they quickly jumped out to a 21-point advantage after a Jenni Benningfield jump shot at the 12:49 mark. From then on, it was smooth sailing for the Fever as they never allowed Phoenix to get anywhere within reach the rest of the way. White, Paige and Deanna Jackson scored key buckets down the stretch to widen the margin. The Fever led by as much as 25 on three occasions before closing out the victory.
White, the Fever’s top draft pick, and Paige, Indiana’s second-round selection, nearly scored as many as the Phoenix starting lineup (38). With Jackson and the rest of the Fever reserves, the Indiana bench (59 points) matched the Mercury’s game total.
Paige led all scorers with 18 points, including a 12-for-15 effort from the free throw line. White was 2-for-3 from three-point range and finished with 15 points, while Jackson went 6-for 9 from the field and pitched in 15. All-Star forward Tamika Catchings led the Fever with seven rebounds, though managed just four points on 1-of-10 shooting from the floor.
The Mercury was led by 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year Diana Taurasi, who finished with 12 points.
Indiana returns to action on May 15, when it concludes the preseason at Phoenix. Indiana and Phoenix meet three times in a two-week span, as the Mercury visit Indianapolis on May 24 for the second game of the regular season.