INDIANAPOLIS — Connecticut showed their second-best performance of the season in today's midweek match-up against Indiana. Today's performance was second only to Connecticut's come-from-behind victory over the defending champions, the Minnesota Lynx on July 7.
Indiana had winning momentum heading into today's game, winning its last two games of a three-game road stint. The Fever's most recent win was against the Seattle Storm, where Indiana's second half performance on the offensive end of the court made the difference.
Fever head coach Stephanie White said at the beginning of the game that she wanted to see her team bring "defensive energy" to the court and that it would be key for her team to play aggressively and with a lot of energy.
However, that was not the case in today's loss.
After exchanging a few points back-and-forth after the tip-off, Connecticut stormed off on an 18-2 run. Nothing seemed to go right for Indiana, which was the theme for the rest of the game.
Fever guard, Erica Wheeler, capped off a subpar first quarter performance for Indiana with a long two-point bucket at the buzzer. The Sun doubled-up on the Fever, 24-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Connecticut was shooting a solid 50 percent from the field, while Indiana was shooting a measly 33 percent during the first quarter. The Fever also went 0-4 from behind the three-point line. The Sun outrebounded the Fever 15-7 in the first quarter.
The second quarter didn't start off any better for the Fever. Indiana gave a turnover on its opening possession, and Connecticut ran off with a quick four unanswered points, led by Chiney Ogwumike.
Fever forward Lynetta Kizer, rattled in a 10-footer, which Sun Shekinna Stricklen, responded with a back-to-back three's, giving Connecticut its largest lead of the day with 17.
But Kizer was not rattled by Connecticut's responses. In fact, Kizer began to bring life back to Indiana's struggling offense. Herr and Eriana Larkins led Indiana on a 9-3 run.
Fever Briann January created energy around the arc, scoring Indiana's first three of the game to cut down the deficit to 12. After a defensive rebound for Indiana, January tossed the ball over to Shenise Johnson, who cut the lead to nine. This was the closest the game was since the first quarter.
Kizer went 7-8 from the floor during the first half, scoring 14 points in the second quarter alone. Alyssa Thomas led the Sun with 11 points in the first half. Indiana was trailing 44-35 at the half.
Out of the locker rooms, the Fever opened up with a four-point run. Connecticut head coach, Curt Miller, called a timeout to regroup his squad. Out of the timeout, Indiana continued to chip away at Connecticut's lead and ended up tying the game at 44, after the Fever scored 11 unanswered points since the second quarter.
However, just as coach White and her team thought they had Connecticut under their thumb, the Sun busted out on a monstrous 19-5 run, which was highlighted by Ogwumike, who scored a game-high 20 points.
Although Indiana overcame a 17-point deficit in the third quarter, the Fever could not hold on to the Sun. Fever Marissa Coleman, sank a three late in the fourth to try to salvage this game, but Connecticut did not back down with the Sun defeating Indiana 86-64. This was the largest win for Connecticut this season and it was the first time the Sun have defeated Indiana since 2014.
Indiana's defense could not defend Connecticut in the paint. The Sun outscored the Fever in the paint, 40-16. It was an uncharacteristic game for rookie Tiffany Mitchell and veteran Tamika Catchings, who together usually run part of Indiana's offense. Mitchell scored only two points the entire game, while Catchings scored eight and pulled down six rebounds.
This was Indiana's fifth straight home loss. The Fever, who now hold an overall record of 9-12, will have the chance to correct things when they host the Atlanta Dream on Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m. ET.
The Sun, who are 6-14 on the season, will look to continue this winning momentum against the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m. ET.