Fever on the Rise?
The Indiana Fever have drastically improved since last season. Last season, the Fever finished their season with a 5-31 record, which was the worst in the entire league. Currently, the Fever are 5-15, which puts them in last place in the Eastern Conference, and tenth place in the league. Most people will look at this record and think that the Fever are still a "bad team", but this is not the case. The Fever's record this year is not a true showcase of the amount of grit that this team truly has.
Boston is in Town
Last season, the Indiana Fever ended their season with an embarrassing 5-31 record, which made them the worst team in the entire league. With a team that hasn't qualified for post-season play since 2016, the Fever were looking for a culture change. At the 2023 draft lottery, the Fever acquired the first overall pick. It was a sigh of relief for Fever fans, because most people already knew who the number one pick was going to be.
Enter Aliyah Boston.
Averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds a game, most knew that Aliyah Boston's impact would be felt immensely, no matter which team she ended up getting drafted to. When it was announced that the Fever had the number one pick in the 2023 draft, fans were ecstatic. In just her very first game of her professional career, Aliyah Boston put up 15 points, nine rebounds, and one block. Throughout the 2023 season, Boston's presence on the court has been extremely helpful for the Fever. Her presence has made the team play harder on both ends of the court.
Trouble in Indiana?
However, the Fever's 5-15 record does not truly show how the Fever have improved this season. This record just shows that the Fever have a huge problem: finishing out games. There have been many instances this season where the Fever have the lead on teams going into halftime, but the Fever just completely fall apart in the second half, especially the fourth quarter.
How do they fall apart? They fall apart by the backcourt playing selfishly, such as not passing the ball to open teammates, keeping the ball to themselves, and not playing a full four quarters of defense. Indiana has some of the best defense in the entire league, but by just looking at their record, you can tell that something is off.
Another major problem that the Fever have is the lack of communication. A great example of this would be the July 9th game vs the Dallas Wings. The Fever found themselves in the same situation, once again. The Wings just came off of a massive victory against the number one team in the league, the Las Vegas Aces. Many people thought that the Wings would have a field day with the Fever, but it was the complete opposite. The Fever played neck and neck with the Wings for the entire game, but they made one huge mistake at the end: not listening to their coach.
With 16.2 seconds left in the game, the Fever were down by only one point. Dallas Wings center Teaira McCowan was at the charity stripe. She currently has a 60% field goal percentage, but the Wings needed her to make both of her free throws at that moment.
She missed both of them.
Fever's Lexie Hull quickly grabs the rebound and starts heading toward the other end of the court. Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell rotates back towards Hull with her hands out for the ball, but Hull dribbles straight past her, not even looking her in the eye. Hull passes the ball to Erica Wheeler, who nearly turns it over and kills most of the clock in the progress. Erica Wheeler passes the ball to Aliyah Boston, and Boston passes the ball back to Hull, who shoots what would be the buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer.
Except, it didn't go in.
Fever lost the game 77-76.
Later on, in the Fever's post-game media availability, head coach Christie Sides stated that she told the team that if Teaira McCowan misses the free throw, she wanted Kelsey Mitchell to get the ball and bring it down the court.
That did not happen.
How can the Fever get back in the win column?
The Indiana Fever are currently 11th in assists per game in the league. If the Fever could increase the number of assists, this would mean more points for the whole team. The Fever need to learn how to play team basketball fast because time is running out for them to fight their way back into that top eight for a playoff spot. Getting back into the top eight in time for the playoffs isn't impossible for the Fever, but it will be a task.
The Indiana Fever's next game will be against the Washington Mystics on Wednesday, July 19th at 11:30 AM EST at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC. It will be available to watch on WNBA League Pass, NBC Sports Washington, and on the Indiana Fever's Facebook page.