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Preview: “Unforgettable” Erica Wheeler leads Fever against Dream

The Indiana Fever welcome the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA’s lone Wednesday matchup. Will All-Star MVP Erica Wheeler help the Fever successfully begin an “unforgettable” second half of the season?

Minnesota Lynx v Indiana Fever
Erica Wheeler will aim to turn in another MVP-like performance when the Fever face the Dream.
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

During the All-Star Game, Indiana Fever guard and first-time All-Star Erica Wheeler told ESPN’s Holly Rowe she wanted to be “unforgettable.” On Wednesday, the Fever’s quest to be “unforgettable” will begin when the Atlanta Dream come to town.

Wheeler more than lived up to this expectation during the All-Star Game, turning in one of the most memorable All-Star Game MVP performances in WNBA history. Can Wheeler similarly lead the Fever to an “unforgettable” second half of the season, capped by a long shot playoff berth? Or, can she at least ensure that their season is not forgettable, making Indy a tough matchup for playoff contenders?

For the Dream, the first half of the season certainly was forgettable. Atlanta must discard their disappointment and salvage their season by demonstrating consistency and coherency on both ends of the floor. Possibly, more playing time for Monique Billings could help the Dream capture the spirit needed to win close games. In addition to solidifying her elite rebounding ability, the second-year UCLA product has flashed an expanded offensive game, showing the potential to give Atlanta a needed inside scoring threat.

Game information

Indiana Fever (6-15) vs. Atlanta Dream (5-15)

When: Wednesday, July 31, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

How to watch: CBS Sports Network

Keys to the game: Indiana and Atlanta have two of the league’s most midrange-centric players in Candice Dupree and Jessica Breland. Even as the emphasis on offensive efficiency has increased the awareness of the diminished value of midrange shots, high-percentage midrange shots still are valuable. However, both Dupree and Breland have not shot to their potential this season. While Dupree is shooting a respectable 46.4 percent from the field, Breland is shooting only 36.2 percent.

However, Breland had her most impactful game of the season in the Dream’s June victory over the Fever, shooting 57 percent. These players’ ability to more efficiently convert these shots not only will help to determine the winner of Wednesday’s matchup, but also whether both teams can improve on their records over the second half of the season.