Sunday afternoon’s clash between the Indiana Fever and the Seattle Storm seemed like an opportunity to witness a balanced contest between two of the league’s less dominant teams. However, what unfolded on the court was far from what fans and experts expected. With that being said, the following are my three biggest takeaways from the game.
Fever’s struggle post All-Star break:
After securing a crucial road victory against the Washington Mystics, the Fever seemed to have gained some momentum. Nevertheless, their fortunes took a swift downturn as they suffered back-to-back defeats against the Liberty and the LA Sparks. Despite having some time off and the advantage of playing at home, the Fever were unable to capitalize on these factors, succumbing to a disheartening 20-point loss against the Storm. What was even more concerning was the lack of urgency and determination in their post-game interviews. However, rookie standout Aliyah Boston remains positive, expressing her belief that the team is still focused and locked in.
Storm’s momentum from the win over the Sky:
In contrast to the struggling Fever, the Seattle Storm entered the game on a high note, buoyed by a significant road victory that ended their franchise-record 10-game losing streak. The momentum they carried into the match was evident, with Jewell Loyd, the current WNBA leading scorer, stating, “we made up our minds on this road trip that we’re gonna compete.” This surge in momentum significantly benefited players like Williams, who contributed 14 crucial points during Sunday’s game.
The Storm did not rely solely on momentum; they also had a strategic advantage. Coach Noelle Quinn emphasized the importance of their defensive rotations, “we were just on a string with our rotations. Bringing a lot of bodies to Boston and Mitchell put our connectivity on that end which was great.” This well-executed strategy disrupted the Fever’s offensive flow and showcased Seattle’s strong defensive connectivity. Compounding the challenges for Indiana was the absence of their go-to power forward, NaLyssa Smith, who has been sidelined due to a foot injury for almost a month. Head Coach Christie Sides acknowledged the issue and attempted to address the mismatch by sending in Victoria Saxton, who provided some support during the first half.
In summary, Sunday’s game was a tale of two teams heading in opposite directions. While the Storm displayed resilience and cohesion, riding the wave of a recent victory, the Fever struggled to find their footing. The mismatched matchups, coupled with strategic defensive moves from Seattle, compounded Indiana’s woes. It remains to be seen whether the Fever can regroup and rediscover their form to make a competitive push for the remainder of the season.
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