Second-year guard Kelsey Mitchell scored a game-high 23 points on the strength of five 3-pointers which tied her career high for the fourth time.
Indiana shot 52.3 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from 3-point range while holding New York to only 34.7 percent shooting. The Fever made eight more field goals despite attempting 10 fewer shots.
Indiana scored 18 fast break points and limited New York to only six. The Fever also won the bench battle, 35-25.
Indiana assisted on 19 of its 34 field goals, the most in any of its three games this season. Erica Wheeler’s six helpers led the team.
Indiana scored the game’s first 11 points on the way to leading 15-3 midway through the first period. The Fever led 26-7 heading to the second quarter and cruised to the win.
Indiana (2-1) is above .500 after three or more games for the first time since Sept. 11, 2016 when the team was 16-15 following a win at Washington.
The Fever recorded their third straight win over the Liberty and second in eight days. Prior to Indiana’s winning streak, New York had won five straight meetings.
All 11 Fever players who appeared in the game scored at least two points. Eight different players finished with at least seven.
Erica Wheeler scored her 1,000th point as a member of the Fever late in the first quarter. Wheeler is the 12th player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
Wheeler also recorded her 100th steal in a Fever uniform.
Kelsey Mitchell tied a career-high (fourth time) with five made 3-pointers. Mitchell went 5-of-7 from deep and led the team with 23 points.
The Fever’s 16-point halftime lead was the team’s largest since they led 63-38 against the Liberty on Sept. 1, 2016.
Indiana shot 52.3 percent from the field (34-of-65), the team’s highest field goal percentage since it shot 55.9 percent against Los Angeles on July 19, 2016.
Kennedy Burke and Paris Kea made their WNBA debuts in the game. Both players scored their first career points, combining for 5-of-7 shooting and 17 points.
NEW YORK NOTES:
The Liberty were led by Tina Charles, who scored a team-high 15 points. Charles scored a total of 47 points in New York’s two games against Indiana this season.
Rookie guard Asia Durr scored a season-high 12 points in her second pro game.
New York outrebounded Indiana 39-31. The Liberty pulled down 17 offensive rebounds in the loss.
Head Coach Pokey Chatman
“It was nice to get another W, especially at home; and especially when we had another player not available [Shenise Johnson]. We are developing a little bit of depth and that is always important. I thought it was really important that our starters stepped up early, especially on the defensive end of the floor [NY scored seven points in first quarter], and we never dropped off.”
(On limiting Tina Charles and good defense in general)
“I thought it started with Candice Dupree. She never let her get into her comfy spots on the block. And I thought our guards helped, too, by getting into the passing lanes. I don’t think we ever let them get comfortable. I think that was a key.”
(On preparing for next week’s games)
“We need to continue to work on the defensive end of the floor. What we are preaching is to stay connected to our mentality as a blue-collar type of team.”
(On getting second win on June 1; compared to July 3 last year)
“Please don’t remind me! You know, I think it stems to the sick feeling everybody went away with from here last year. I think they took that attitude with them abroad. Candice and E-dub [Erica Wheeler] both had huge seasons and successes for teams that weren’t supposed to be that competitive. We added Betnijah Laney who helps us so much with her size and defense, and Stephanie Mavunga is another player with a great year overseas. Our young players came back more mature and they all brought that attitude back with them.”
“We battled throughout the full 40 minutes. With the turning point in the second half we showed that we belong. We showed them our growth, we showed them our defense. We didn’t have any drop-offs. The people that came in the game played just as well.”
“It felt good, I felt good. I wasn’t hesitant at all in the first half, just trying to see where to take my shots, not forcing anything up. Take and see what I think I can make.”
“Just be aggressive. Keep pushing the ball down their throat. And that’s what we did. We were making shots. Playing good defense on Tina [Charles] and of course she’s going to get what she’s going to get, but we made it tough for her.”
On reaching the 1,000-point mark as a member of the Fever
“Listen, I didn’t even know. That’s amazing I just keep getting accolades each year and this is just amazing. I just keep going up and my teammates are helping me and [head coach Pokey Chatman] is helping me, so it’s just an amazing feeling.”
“That loss in Connecticut really, we didn’t play defense very well and that was our main goal, to come out and play defense and the offense would come and that’s what we did. We got in the passing lanes and that gave us a 10-0 run and it set the tone for the game. The team is ready and we played hard.”
NEW YORK QUOTES:
Head Coach Katie Smith
“Energy wasn’t good enough and we didn’t hit shots. [Indiana] hit shots and shot 60-something percent, so the first quarter literally was the ballgame.”
“We worked on defense all week, about our help-side and being in and ball pressure and getting into players, and at spurts we did that, but as a unit for 40 minutes we were not consistent enough. At the other end, we need to put the ball in the hole. We need to put the basketball in the hole. We’re getting good shots, we have good shooters. We need to put the ball in the hole and we need to stop turning the ball over.”
On comparing the two meetings with the Fever
“For [Indiana], they were able to play another game and gain the experience from that. Other than that, the play calls change. That’s about it.”
“We started off slow. Our defense wasn’t great tonight. We missed some shots. As the game went on, we had some people come in and make some runs, get some stops. We had our spurts but we started off slow tonight.”
On playing a team twice in eight days
“It gets harder each time. The game gets faster, so we’ve got to become a better team. That’s pretty much it.”
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