The Fever defeated the Minnesota Lynx 82-76 on Tuesday night for the team’s first win of the season. Indiana is now 1-2 on the year.
Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana with 26 points on nine-of-16 shooting and four-of-seven on 3-pointers. 13 of Mitchell’s points came in the second quarter after she did not score in the first quarter.
“For me, it’s a shift of mentality and being able to lock in when your team needs you,” Mitchell said after the game.
“Kelsey Mitchell was a flat-out All-Star today,” Fever head coach Marianne Stanley claimed. “We’re going to start pushing that campaign that she be recognized as one of the better guards in the league.”
Mitchell’s outburst was part of a 36-point second quarter for the Fever. It was the highest-scoring second quarter in Fever history and the third-highest scoring overall quarter in franchise history. Stanley said that Mitchell “energized everybody” with her scoring in the second quarter.
36-year-old Sylvia Fowles scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Lynx. “Syl’s a handful,” Stanley said. “Our goal is to make her work for everything…and I think we accomplished that for the most part.”
Indiana moved the ball extremely well, as the Fever had 23 assists on 31 made field goals. Stanley feels that the team has come together to allow nights like these to occur.
“To win in this league, there’s a lot of things you need,” Stanley said. “But one of the most important ones, that doesn’t show up in a stat sheet, is chemistry.”
“That means everybody’s in rhythm,” Mitchell said. “Over the course of time for 40 minutes it’s going to make us a great team.”
Leading the Fever with six assists was point guard Crystal Dangerfield. Dangerfield was waived by the Lynx just last Monday. Last Friday, the day of the Fever’s first game, Indiana signed Dangerfield to a hardship exception contract.
“It’s important to make sure that she welcomed, that she felt special,” Mitchell said about Dangerfield playing her former team on Tuesday.
“That’s why we got her off waivers because I knew she’s not just a competent guard but a smart player,” Stanley said.
“I’m just coming here to play basketball and fit in where I can,” Dangerfield said. “This team has a lot of potential to be special. We’re young but we’re putting all of the right pieces together and we’ve gotten better each game.”
The Fever’s two point guards—Dangerfield and rookie Destanni Henderson—combined for 11 assists and zero turnovers in the squad’s victory. Dangerfield also had 10 points.
Indiana was also nine-for-20 (45 percent) on 3s in the win. Eight of the nine Fever players that played scored, with seven players logging seven or more points.
After back-to-back home games, the Fever will head to New York to face the Liberty at 8:00 p.m. on Friday.
Zion Brown is a sports reporter for NextGen Sports, a collaboration with The Recorder Media Group.