Training Camp Opens Sunday
Brian Winters and the Indiana Fever open training camp on Sunday, April 23, with the season’s first practice scheduled for 11:00 a.m., at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Fever, 21-13 last season and Eastern Conference finalists, return seven players off last season’s team – though joining the roster for 2006 are a slew of newcomers obtained via off-season trades and free agency.
Winter’s primary task early in camp will be to evaluate talent and mesh the new personalities with returning ones. And a primary obstacle will be the absence of at least four key performers until early in May.
The Fever’s training camp roster consists of 18 players – with 11 new faces. Absent until the first of May, however, because of playing commitments overseas, will be at least three starters and potentially the squad’s top four scorers. Perennial All-Star Tamika Catchings is playing in Russia while her team, Spartak Moscow, continues its Russian League playoffs. She is joined on the Spartak club by Fever free agent Linda Fröhlich. Second-year star Tan White remains in Turkey. Anna DeForge, acquired in a February trade with Phoenix, is in Poland, and power forward Tamika Whitmore remains in France where she was just named the Most Valuable Player of the French LFB.
Indiana will train at Conseco Fieldhouse through the end of April, and will embark for a four-team training scrimmage in Las Vegas, May 1, with Sacramento, Detroit and Phoenix. The Fever will return to two-a-day practices until May 5 when the club travels to Charlotte for its first preseason game, May 6. Catchings, Fröhlich, DeForge, White and Whitmore are expected to arrive May 4 and 5. The Fever’s lone preseason home game at Conseco Fieldhouse is May 11 against the Los Angeles Sparks (7:00 p.m.). Indiana opens the regular season against the Detroit Shock on May 20 (7:00 p.m.)
Overall, the Fever roster appears deep, overcoming the losses of Natalie Williams, Jurgita Streimikyte, Kelly Schumacher and Deanna Jackson from last season’s playoff team. Veteran center Olympia Scott returns to the Fever this season, and with Whitmore should provide the Fever with a more athletic and versatile front line. Combined with a leaner, quicker and more experienced Ebony Hoffman, and the addition of inside-outside threat Fröhlich – Fever post play could very well be improved despite its losses.
Filling the void left by Jackson’s departure in Chicago’s expansion draft, will be the addition of DeForge, the maturation of White, and the draft signing of first-round draft pick La’Tangela Atkinson. Atkinson, a 6-2 perimeter defender out of North Carolina, will go a long way in filling defensive roles left by Jackson.
Fan favorite Tully Bevilaqua returns to run the point guard position, after winning an Australian title this winter and playing this spring with the pretigious Opals – the Australian National Team training for the 2006 World Championships.
Single-game tickets for the Indiana Fever’s 2006 season may be purchased at the Conseco Fieldhouse Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations including the Internet (Ticketmaster.com or ConsecoFieldhouse.com), or phone at (877) WNBA-TIX, in addition to select state-wide Marsh stores and Home Court II in Circle Centre Mall. For season ticket information, call (317) 917-2500.