Indiana vs Atlanta
Date: Saturday, May 17
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Site: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Television - FOX Sports Indiana
Radio - None
Webcast - Live webcast and stats can be accessed via WNBA Live Access on FeverBasketball.com.
The 2014 Fever season begins Friday night in Chicago, but Indiana returns home on Saturday to host the Atlanta Dream in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals.
Atlanta eliminated Indiana in two games last postseason, but the Fever have a new look, with five new players are on the season-opening roster: Sydney Carter, Marissa Coleman, Natasha Howard, Lynetta Kizer, and Maggie Lucas. Indiana returns the five players who started in the playoffs last year — Tamika Catchings, Karima Christmas, Briann January, Erlana Larkins, and Shavonte Zellous — as well as reserves Layshia Clarendon and Jasmine Hassell.
Atlanta is again one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, led by dynamic scorer Angel McCoughtrey. The Fever know they can't keep McCoughtrey off the scoreboard, but want to do their best to make her work for her points.
Indiana celebrates its 15th season in the WNBA this year, and Opening Night will be a 15th Anniversary Celebration. The first 3,500 fans will receive a commemorative poster featuring the top five moments in franchise history as voted on by the fans in the #Fever15 Moments contest on FeverBasketball.com.
This year will also be the last season on the sidelines for Fever head coach Lin Dunn, who will move into an advisory role in 2015. Dunn is far and away the greatest coach in franchise history, having led Indiana to four conference finals appearances, two trips to the WNBA Finals, and the franchise's only WNBA Championship in 2012. The Fever players want to do their best to send Dunn off on top — and that journey begins in earnest this weekend.
Storylines & Promotions
• Indiana (0-1) meets the Atlanta Dream (1-0) in the second half of season-opening back-to-back games for both teams. The weekend tips off what is the 15th season in Indiana Fever franchise history, and it includes rematch assignments against both teams the Fever met in the 2013 WNBA Playoffs.
• Saturday’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is 15th Anniversary Celebration Night, showcasing the Fever’s 15th year of play in the WNBA. Fans entering the arena will receive a commemmorative 15th Anniversary poster.
• Indiana opened the season with a 74-71 loss at Chicago on Friday night. The Dream got past San Antonio, 79-75 in Atlanta.
• Indiana welcomes a new Atlanta coach to Bankers Life Fieldhouse as former NBA star Michael Cooper returns to the WNBA as coach of the Dream. He is a former coach of the Los Angeles Sparks.
• First-round draft pick Natasha Howard had a notable pro debut on Friday. She scored 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting and added 10 rebounds, three steals, two assists and six blocked shots. The blocks tied the Indiana franchise record and set a new standard for blocks by a rookie. She became only the second rookie in Fever history ever to record a double-double.
• A win on Saturday would even the season record at 1-1. A win would mark the 198th pro victory in the career of Lin Dunn, counting two seasons in the ABL.
Fever: F- Marissa Coleman, F- Natasha Howard, C- Erlana Larkins, G- Shavonte Zellous, G- Briann January
Dream: F- Angel McCoughtry, F- Sancho Lyttle, C- Erika de Souza, G- Tiffany Hayes, G- Jasmine Thomas
(Sept. 29, 2014): Angel McCoughtry powered the Atlanta Dream to its third Eastern Conference crown in four years, scoring 27 points in the Dream's 67-53 victory over the Indiana Fever. Atlanta swept the best-of-three series to advance to the WNBA Finals. The short-handed Fever were trying to become the first franchise to win consecutive titles since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002. Tamika Catchings led Indiana with 24 points and six rebounds, but the Fever never got going offensively, shooting 28.1 percent. All-Star Shavonte Zellous was held to six points, nearly nine below her regular-season average. McCoughtry willingly played a decoy role at times. Coach Fred Williams designed sets that had her run away from the ball. Those actions helped Atlanta dominate inside in Game 2 to the tune of 14 layups, 48 points in the paint and a 43-33 edge on the glass. McCoughtry scored 11 points in the third quarter to help the Dream break open a game they led 34-33 at halftime. Riding suffocating defense, Atlanta cruised from there.
Fever: At Chicago, Indiana surrendered an 18-point first-quarter lead and let the lead slip from its hands with a minute left in regulation. The Fever raced to a 30-12 lead late in the opening period and led 46-36 at intermission. Chicago cut the margin in half after three quarters, and the Sky led briefly at 65-63. Indiana led 71-67 after a pair of free throws from Natasha Howard and a jumper by Briann January, but after a long jumper from Elena Delle Donne, the Sky scored the game’s final five points on free throws. With 1:08 remaining, Indiana led 71-69 after the Delle Donne bucket, but a foul on Howard and a technical foul assessed to Erlana Larkins resulted in three Chicago free throws and a 72-71 Chicago lead. The Fever had a chance for a win on Shavonte Zellous’ 3-point miss with 11.7 seconds to play. Sasha Goodlett scored the game’s final points on two more charity tosses.
Dream: Erika de Souza and rookie Shoni Schimmel lifted the Atlanta Dream past the San Antonio Stars. De Souza had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Schimmel scored all seven of her points in the fourth quarter and tied the franchise record with 11 assists in Atlanta's 79-75 victory Friday night in the season opener. Two-time WNBA scoring champ Angel McCoughtry added 21 points for the Dream in the team's first game under new coach Michael Cooper. Atlanta overcame a four-point deficit in the final 3:09. The Dream led 38-36 at halftime and made it 52-43 on McCoughtry's free throws with 4:21 to go in the third period. San Antonio closed the quarter with a 13-3 run, taking a 56-55 lead on Danielle Robinson's drive with a second to go in the period. Robinson scored 17 of her 23 points, but made just one of two free throws with 57 seconds left to leave it tied at 73.
Indiana owns a 12-13 regular season mark with Atlanta, 3-5 in the playoffs. Counting a two-game sweep in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Dream has won three straight games from Indiana, and 5 of 6. The Fever is 9-4 against the Dream at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in regular season games.
Opening Night Tickets: The Fever host the Atlanta Dream in their regular season home opener on Saturday, May 17th at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at just $13! Buy Tickets »