Sky Tops Fever
MILWAUKEE - Sylvia Fowles scored 16 points and Chasity Melvin scored 12 Saturday night to lead the Chicago Sky to a 81-71 preseason win over the Indiana Fever. The Sky rode a 38-11 second quarter spurt to take command, and was never challenged until a late rally in the final minutes. It was the first exhibition game for Indiana (0-1) and the second for the Sky (2-0).
The Sky’s largest lead was 24 points, 52-28 at halftime. The Fever closed within 74-63 on a jumper with 4:18 remaining by LaToya Bond. She followed one possession later with a steal and layup as Indiana crept within nine. Jennifer Humphrey’s jumper in the lane cut the margin to seven, and a turnaround jumper by Alison Bales cut the score to six, 77-71, with 40 seconds to play.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first, third and fourth quarters,” said first-year Fever coach Lin Dunn. “We had a real sinking spell in the second quarter when we went to our bench the first time.”
A cast of predominantly rookies and free agents staked Indiana to a 17-14 lead after one quarter, behind six points off the bench from Constance Jinks and five from second-year center Bales. That lead was short-lived though, as the Sky took the lead for good on the second of back-to-back 3-pointers by rookie Quianna Chaney with 7:10 remaining in the second period.
Chicago shot 50 percent from the floor in the opening half, and a parade of 15 second quarter free throws commanded Chicago to a 17-point lead with three minutes remaining in the period.
Indiana got itself in foul trouble early, as starters Bales and LaToya Bond each had three personals early in the second period. Erin Lawless picked up her fourth by halftime and the Sky totaled 23 of 30 free throw attempts before intermission.
“We have to learn to play hard and play aggressive without fouling,” added Dunn. “We got a lot better from the first half to the second half. We played with more energy off the bench and we did a better job attacking offensively in the second half.”
Third-year center Kasha Terry led Indiana with 12 points. Bales had 11 and Tan White finished with nine. Bales and Terry paced the Fever with nine and six rebounds, respectively. Fowles, the college All-American and No. 2 pick in the WNBA Draft, posted a game-high 11 rebounds.
Not a single Fever starter from 2007 played in the game, with Bales, Terry and White the only returning veterans among 10 players. Chicago, meanwhile, played with three returning starters and seven veterans among its roster of 13 – that also included top draft picks Chaney and Fowles from NCAA powerhouse LSU.
Said Dunn, “The addition of Fowles and Chaney really add a new dimension to this Chicago team. They are a whole lot better, to the point where they are going to be a real playoff challenger in the East.”
The Fever hosts the Minnesota Lynx in a second preseason game on Wednesday, May 7 (7:00 p.m.) at Conseco Fieldhouse. After a preseason bout at Seattle on May 10, the Fever opens its ninth WNBA season Saturday, May 17, when it hosts the Washington Mystics.