Recently, the Seattle Storm has been credited with having a fortress. This season, however, the Connecticut Sun, undefeated at home, have the greatest homecourt advantage. Massey Ratings estimates the Sun's HA to be worth 7.71 points per game. Seattle comes in third with 4.78 points per game.
Why the Sun have such huge homecourt advantage is an unanswered question, but they held serve despite being down five points going into the fourth quarter and the game slipping away from a 72-72 tie with 180 seconds left. The win over the Fever (5-4) on Friday put the Connecticut Sun (6-2) in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Today, the two teams rematch, this time on the Indiana Fever homecourt.
It's not clear to me whether the Indiana Fever lost Friday's game in the 1st quarter or the 4th. In the first, the Fever started off sluggishly, missing uncontested layups and firing up airballs. Ebony Hoffman started the game exceptionally lousy, but picked up her play in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Excluding another Kobe-game by Jessica Davenport (8-8, 18 points), the team shot a miserable 27% from the field. Zellous had a fairly typical game, going 0-6 on a few drives, outside jumpshots and one clock-expiring attempt. On one inbounds, she curled toward the baseline to receive the inbound and shot an open 12-footer. You want any other player taking that shot and having Z inbound the ball. Z did go to the line, but not much, making only 2 of 4.
The defense was not where it needed to be, as the Sun pushed the pace and scored 45 points in the first half. In that first quarter, the Fever fell behind largely as a result of some broken plays and 50-50 balls. Renee Montgomery's career scoring night started with 12 points in the first quarter initially a missed three pointer followed by a few successful inside the paint plays.
Despite the off-kilter Fever start to the game, the game was characterized by a lot of physicality and intensity. Kara Lawson was hit twice on one play and dislocated her shoulder. No call, the play went on with some players going to help out Lawson and others scoring on the other end against a broken defense.
Jessica Moore and Jene Morris didn't see much playin time last game. Jessica Moore had a scratch on her eye. Jene Morris lost playing time because Briann January is back in uniform, pitching in 11 minutes off the bench on her road to full recovery.
Still, by the 4th quarter, the Fever had worked its way back into the game. Montgomery's career night, dropping 29 points on the best defense in the league, didn't destroy the Fever in the fourth quarter. With 3 minutes to go and a 72-all tie, it was the tandem of Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery that did in the Fever. Montgomery tied the game 69-all with a layup assisted by Charles. Then Charles went to work inside going to the line twice. Montgomery made another 3 (25 points by then) and Charles made a layup plus a foul. With 86 seconds to go, the Sun were up 80-72 and went to the line for their final 6 points, 4 of which were made by Montgomery for her 26th-29th points.
During that short span of 95 seconds, Charles was unstoppable and the Fever missed a shot and turned the ball over twice.
The Fever just had trouble making their own shots and plugging all the holes posed by the inside-outside game of the Connecticut Sun, particularly in the clutch.
Tonight is Lucas Oil Family Night at Conseco Fieldhouse:
Join the Fever this season for Lucas Oil Family Nights presented by The Indianapolis Star!
For the same price as a game ticket alone, the Family Night package includes a ticket to the game, a t-shirt and a voucher for a hot dog, chips, and Pepsi product.
Tickets start at just $15! A minimum purchase of 4 tickets is required.