The Fever took their ninth-straight loss in an 81-65 defeat on the road to the Seattle Storm on Sunday. The Fever now have a 5-22 record, which is the worst in the WNBA. Indiana is five games back of the second-worst team, the Minnesota Lynx.
The Storm led by 16 at one point in the second quarter and took a 42-31 lead into halftime. But Indiana started the second half on a 10-2 run to cut Seattle’s lead down to three points. The Fever got within three later in the third quarter, but that’s as close as they would get. Seattle tallied 26 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Fever interim head coach Carlos Knox said he felt like the team “missed a few assignments” to allow the Storm’s offense to get things going. “It allowed Seattle to gain control of the game,” Knox added.
“We’re still at a point where we’re still learning,” Fever forward Emma Cannon said. “Every day we just want to get better at what we’re doing.”
For the third time this season, the Storm’s top-rated defense held the Fever below their season average of 77.7 points per game. Indiana scored just 65 points while making 36.4 percent of its field goals and 16.7 percent of its 3s.
“They did a great job of mixing it up,” Knox said. Seattle went back and forth from man-to-man defense and zone defense throughout the game. “We were not as fluent as we could’ve been and efficient as we could’ve been.”
All-Star forward Breanna Stewart had 25 points to go along with eight rebounds in the win for the Storm. Stewart has scored 10 or more points in all 23 games she’s played this season. This was her second game of 20 or more points against the Fever.
“[Stewart] is one of our top players in our league so anything that we can do to disrupt her at any point, we’ve just got to do it,” Cannon said. Stewart was able to knock down four threes on Sunday, which tied her season-high. “When she’s hitting like that, we’ve got to stay focused and we’ve got to find her early.”
“We have to understand positioning and how to do your work early in the post against great post players,” Knox stated.
One big issue for the Fever on Sunday was foul trouble. In the first half, Indiana had three different players commit three fouls.
Rookie center Queen Egbo was one of those players, as she committed five fouls in the game. Egbo finished with 13 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes of play. Egbo had a +/- of +4 despite the blowout, but her playing time was limited due to foul issues.
“I feel like I have it under control,” Egbo claimed. Egbo added that she has to “adjust” to the referees during games like Sunday. There were 41 total fouls between the two teams in Sunday’s game.
“It kind of slowed down our momentum from the jump,” Knox said. “We have to really understand what it takes to guard at this level without fouling.”
With the victory, Seattle completed a three-game season sweep of the Fever. Sunday’s game was the beginning of a three-game road trip for the Fever. They will play the L.A. Sparks on Tuesday and the Las Vegas Aces on Thursday before returning home next weekend.
Zion Brown is a sports reporter for NextGen Sports, a collaboration with The Recorder Media Group.