In a highly anticipated showdown, the Indiana Fever and New York Liberty delivered a thrilling battle on the court, but it still wasn’t enough for the Fever to pull off a much needed win. The clash between the two teams in the opening quarter set the stage for an intense contest, with the Fever finishing the first period trailing by a narrow margin of 26-22. Kelsey Mitchell amassed an impressive 12 points by the end of the quarter.
As the game progressed into the second quarter, Grace Berger emerged as a standout player. Growing in confidence with every game, she was kept in during critical moments, ultimately recording a career high 19 points. The second quarter also witnessed intensified matchups between Breanna Stewart and Aliyah Boston, a taste of the excitement to come at the All-Star Weekend. At the break, the Liberty held a 48-41 advantage, with Boston and Mitchell both contributing 12 points while Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu displayed their prowess with 12 and 13 points, respectively.
The Liberty broke away in the third quarter, establishing a 10-point lead early on. For a significant portion of the period, they managed to maintain a comfortable 17-point advantage. Heading into the final quarter, the score stood at 68-53 in favor of the Liberty. However, the Fever refused to bow down and launched an incredible comeback in the fourth. Aliyah Boston’s deep three-pointer sent the game into overtime, tying the score at 80-80. After the game, Coach Christie Sides admitted that the final play was initially designed to get Kelsey Mitchell the ball. With that option being taken away, Boston knew she had to step up: “So I was like, ‘Just be available.’ … I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I have to shoot it.’ But I did hold my follow through.” Boston said.
Despite the Fever’s valiant efforts, they were unable to get good looks and the Liberty’s veteran experience came in clutch to close out the game with a 95-87 victory. Sides commenting on their tenured roster, “They’re one of the best teams in the league, and I think they just went to that next level.”
In the post-game analysis, it was evident that Berger had played a pivotal role, clocking an impressive 36 minutes on the court. Her remarkable performance left the team optimistic about her future contributions, expecting her to maintain the same energy post the All-Star break. The chemistry between Berger and Aliyah Boston also caught the attention of spectators and experts alike. They showcased their abilities in stealing plays and making precise passes over the top in transition, further solidifying their partnership.
Additionally, Victoria Vivians emerged as a standout defender, successfully limiting Stewart’s scoring output to below her average points. The absence of Lexie Hull, who is out for two weeks with a broken nose, did not seem to significantly impact the team’s performance, despite being the teams leading defender.
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