Solving Indiana

A fourth date with the Indiana Fever has Chicago Sky players feeling their time is due. Indiana has held the upper hand on the Sky this season, winning the first three matchups by an average of 11 points per game. Including tonight’s matchup, Chicago has two more chances to break up a season sweep by their Midwestern nemesis.

Some might argue the Fever simply have the Sky’s number, and Indiana’s personnel seem to match up well with the Sky – even more so after the Sky lost leading scorer Epiphanny Prince to a foot injury when the two teams squared off on June 16. A look at each of the past three games tells the same tale: Chicago has no trouble outrebounding Indiana, but the Fever tend to take and make more shots, turn the ball over less, and get more help from their bench.

Sky center Sylvia Fowles has been rock solid against the Fever, putting up performances of 19 points and 10 rebounds, 26 and six, and 21 and 10 this year. But Indiana employs a more balanced attack against the Sky, with a breakout game from a new player in each contest. On June 27, Jeannette Pohlen came off the bench to hit four 3-pointers and score 14 points. On June 16, backup center Jessica Davenport poured in 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting. And on May 25, it was Katie Douglas who erupted for 21 points. All while the Sky must concentrate on 2011 WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings, who’s averaging 17 points and seven boards per game.

In the most recent matchup on June 27, the Sky fell at home, 81-72, under a barrage of 3-pointers. The Fever hit a whopping 11-of-19 from outside at a 58-percent clip. While Indiana makes more treys (8.4) per game than anyone else, Chicago defenders Tamera Young and Shay Murphy will attempt to contain the Fever from getting into a rhythm.

If Fowles continues her dominance in the paint, the Sky can break the Fever’s stranglehold by getting contributions across the board similar to the team’s attack against Atlanta on Sunday, when the bench scored 39 points. Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot will look to get sharpshooters Murphy and Sonja Petrovic going early while do-it-all forward Swin Cash continues to aggressively attack the basket and keep defenses honest.

The game is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m. central time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Tune in to CN 100 for all the action.