Dream-Fever Preview

A poor defensive showing probably wasn't the way the Indiana Fever expected to resume their season following the WNBA's Olympic break.

After the worst loss at Conseco Fieldhouse in the franchise's nine-year existence, the Fever try to prevent extending their season-high home losing streak to five games when they meet the Atlanta Dream on Saturday.

Indiana (12-15) dropped five of seven games heading into the league's month-long hiatus for the Beijing Games.

The Fever's losing ways continued on Thursday, falling 84-58 to Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut for their season-high fourth straight home loss.

Indiana has been one of the league's best defensive teams, limiting opponents to 40.5 percent shooting from the field, but couldn't contain the Sun, who shot 56.9 percent (33-for-58). Additionally, its 26-point losing margin was the club's largest ever at home.

"Defense definitely has to be a staple," center Tammy Sutton-Brown told the Fever's official Web site. "Unless you're able to defend, you aren't going to win. We have to go back to defense to start winning again."

Sutton-Brown and Tully Bevilaqua each had nine points, but no Fever player scored in double figures for the first time since a loss at Los Angeles on July 19, 2004.

Indiana hasn't lost five straight at Conseco Fieldhouse since a franchise-record, eight-game skid in the team's inaugural 2000 season.

To avoid moving closer to that historic slide, the Fever must turn in a better defensive effort against Atlanta (3-25), which won 81-77 in Indiana on July 16 in the teams' most recent meeting. The Fever beat the Dream 76-67 on June 13 in Atlanta.

"We can either get better or we could fold our tents," said Fever coach Lin Dunn, whose team is fourth in the East.

Dunn's club hopes to take advantage of the last-place Dream, who are enduring struggles of their own as they dropped a sixth straight on Friday - 98-72 to visiting Connecticut.

"We got too far down," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said of her team, which couldn't overcome a 55-38 halftime deficit. "Our post defense wasn't very good in the first half."

Betty Lennox scored 19 points, reserve Katie Feenstra added 13 and Erika Desouza - in her second start of the year - had 11 for Atlanta, which has lost eight of its last nine contests by an average of 13.2 points.

Lennox, who leads the first-year franchise with 16.8 points per game, has averaged 15.0 against the Fever this season. Teammate Iziane Castro Marques, meanwhile, scored a season-high 24 in that July win over Indiana.

The Dream are a league-worst 2-11 on the road.

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