No place like home
When the Indiana Fever is down on the road, players would love to click their sneakers in unison, chant "There's no place like home, there's no place home" and re-appear inside Conseco Fieldhouse. The crowd, they agree, encourages them like no one else can.
"Our fans stuck with us (when we went 0-2 to start the season) because they knew it was a long season. Our fans believed," said Ebony Hoffman. "They knew we were playing 34 games, not 16 like in football and as long as they stuck with us, good things would happen."
Boy, did good things happen.
Indiana went on an 11-0 win streak grabbing the top seed in the Eastern Conference along the way, and home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs. They ended the regular season 14-3 at home thanks in large part to its "sixth man" said Tully Bevilaqua.
"You always hear the old cliché about the fans being the sixth man, but it's so true and I use them to create my energy just as much as I try to do it myself," she said.
The Fever ranked sixth in attendance this season averaging 7,939 fans per game - their best since 2005. They ranked 10th in the league in 2008, and 11th in 2007.
Whether there are 1,000, 8,000 or 11,000 fans in Conseco one thing is consistent: they are loud.
"Our fans are so awesome and that is why we work so hard during the regular season to get home-court advantage," said Tammy Sutton-Brown. "Being at home, sleeping in your own bed and coming into this arena and having the support that we do is awesome, and they can get very loud."
In their first home playoff game of the season against the Washington Mystics, 9,655 fans showed up which was the second-largest crowd to watch a home playoff game since Indiana's very first home playoff date against the New York Liberty in 2002.
"We had the best crowd we've probably had all season," said Sutton-Brown. "They were so loud and you just get that extra energy when you're at home. That's major for us especially during this point in the season."
Fans say they enjoy attending Fever games because the players play hard whether they win or lose.
"Obviously you want your team to win," said fan Samantha Roberts who attends games with her husband and two daughters. "But this team tries hard every game and they usually win. I enjoy coming to the games because of that reason and for my daughters to watch. They are really nice ladies who play good basketball."
Roberts' husband, Tim agrees.
"I know a lot of men don't care for women's sports, but with this team they're really missing out," he said.