Fever 3-point shooters on record pace
By Tom Rietmann
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Fever's 3-point shooters are posting some eye-catching numbers.
With the WNBA season nearing the halfway mark, if the 3-pointers keep falling for Indiana, so will a number of records.
Indiana, with 109 made 3-pointers in 13 games, is on pace to shatter its franchise seasonal (34-game) mark of 226, set in 2008. And if the Fever can sustain or improve its current clip of 8.38 successful 3-pointers per game, the team will eclipse the league mark of 8.32, set by Phoenix in 2007.
Fever guard Erin Phillips, who leads the WNBA with a .647 mark (11-of-17) on 3-pointers, offered an opinion as to why her team connects with such robust accuracy.
“We've got the green light from the coaches to shoot open (3-point) shots,” Phillips said. “That's a big part of the confidence.”
Fever Coach Lin Dunn implores her team to take advantage of every open look, whether it's in the post or on the perimeter. Don't hesitate, she tells her shooters. Open looks are at a premium within the confines of the 24-second shot clock.
Indiana guard Jeanette Pohlen, who led the WNBA with a .468 mark on 3-pointers last year, has heard it from Dunn a number of times:. “Take that open shot.”
“Yeah, she'll get on me a little about that,” said Pohlen, who has hit 17-of-35 treys (.486) this season. “Sometimes, I'll wait a millisecond and think about it before I shoot. She just wants it to be automatic.”
Indiana's Katie Douglas, one of the top 3-point shooters in WNBA history, has hit 29-of-69 (.420) this season. Teammate Tamika Catchings has connected on 22-of-55 (.400) in her first year of playing mostly at the power forward position.
When the Fever hits a 3-pointer in its half-court offense, it often stems from an inside-out attack.
“Get the ball in the paint, draw (the defenders) and kick it out to the wing,” said Phillips.
And when the Fever is in a fast-breaking mode, that further aids the 3-point shooters as they maneuver for open spaces.
“It just makes it a lot easier when we're aggressive, when we're in transition and run and spread the floor,” Phillips said.
Pohlen concurred, and pointed to the offensive assets of such players as Douglas, Catchings and Briann January, who can run with the best and the swiftest. “We have so many weapons on the court,” Pohlen said.
The Fever 3-point shooters, who are second in the league with a .411 mark, are even more dangerous when they are playing at home. They have connected on 57 treys in five games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, an average of 11.4 per game.
Indiana made 15 3-pointers -- one shy of the WNBA single-game record -- against Connecticut in a June 21 home victory. The Fever hit 13 in a June 2 home triumph over New York. Indiana connected on 12 3-pointers in a home win over Atlanta on May 19 as a league-record eight different players had at least one.
“It's comfort when you are home, knowing you practice on these baskets every day and shoot a ton at them every day,” Pohlen said about the Fieldhouse marksmanship.
Also, according to Phillips, confidence “goes a huge way at home.”
“The older I get, the more mature I get, the more confidence you have to take that shot,” Phillips added. “I think it's just being able to read the game.”