Indianapolis, IN -- Erica Wheeler was to thank for the Indiana Fever’s 85-74 victory over the Atlanta Dream Thursday night. Wheeler, who is in her second year with the team, racked up 20-points, making her the top-scorer of the game.
With her perfect aim and her fast speed, the 26-year-old remains a force to be reckoned with. Thursday’s game marked the fourth straight game Wheeler scored in double figures. She also led the Fever in assists for the third straight outing and set a new season high with seven dimes on the night.
The Fever was hot from the start, ending the first quarter 22-14. But, as the game went on, the margin decreased as Atlanta (5-5) closed the gap to four points, 70-74, with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter. Wheeler answered with her second three-pointer for a seven-point lead and Indiana ended the game on an 11-4 run to earn an 85-74 home win.
The Fever earned their first win by 10 or more points this season and their season-high shooting record of 54.4 percent from the field
“Erica Wheeler gave us so much energy to start the game. She just gives us activity everywhere, offensively and defensively,” said Indiana Head Coach Pokey Chatman. “When Erica plays in transition, if we can keep up our spacing, she just wins. She’s really tough to beat in open space, especially when she’s hitting shots.”
Even the opposing team’s coach agreed, as well. “She’s a more determined player now.” said Dream Head Coach Michael Cooper. “She’s a good point guard in this league, and she set the tone for Indiana by coming in and knocking down shots, and that enabled everybody else to have success.”
Indiana improved its home record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to 5-1 this season. The Fever is now tied with Washington and New York for the most home wins in the WNBA this season.
But, although they do well at home, the Fever (5-6) just can’t seem to conquer anyone on the road.
“I don’t know why we can’t get a win on the road,” said Wheeler. “I think that’s what fuels us to come back because we try to protect home. Because right now we’re not playing so well on the road. I think our mindset is just a little bit different when we come home.”
Indiana will once again have home court advantage as they face the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, June 24 which also happens to be the night when Tamika Catchings jersey is being retired.
But before all that happens, Indiana will travel to Chicago (June 18) and aim to get a victory on the road.