The Fever took their sixth loss in a row on Thursday with a 93-84 defeat against the Chicago Sky. This is the longest losing streak of the season for the Fever, who now have a 5-19 record on the year. That is the worst record in the WNBA.
Sky forward Emma Meesseman, who will play in her second All-Star game on Sunday, had 20 points and six rebounds for Chicago. Meesseman shot 9-for-13 from the field to lead the Sky on Thursday. Meesseman played just 17 minutes and did not enter the fourth quarter.
“She’s one of those players that you can’t let her get going,” Fever interim head coach Carlos Knox said. “You can’t let her get comfortable.”
The Fever were without their starting center Queen Egbo for the second straight game. Egbo is currently under the WNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols. Egbo is the only player listed as a center on Indiana’s roster.
“I think Queen’s absence is a very big factor,” Knox said. “She gives us a post anchor defensively.”
Chicago scored 48 points in the paint on the way to victory. The reigning WNBA champions were able to get inside and score at the basket all night long.
“I think we got buried a little too low,” Fever forward NaLyssa Smith said. “We let them get comfortable instead of being more aggressive.”
The Sky’s offense had a groove all night. Chicago made 54.8 percent of its field goals, as 25 of its 34 field goals were assisted.
“We didn’t start playing great, hard defense until late in the game,” Knox said.
“We’re taking a lot of risks and we’re gambling a lot,” Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell said. “They made us pay for it, especially early on.”
Mitchell had 27 points and five assists in a losing effort. This is her 15th game of the season with 20 or more points, which leads the WNBA. Mitchell shot 10-for-18 on Thursday.
“Kelsey’s a dynamic scorer. She’s a dynamic player,” Knox claimed. “She’s just able to get to her spots on the floor and she’s very efficient.”
Rookie forward NaLyssa Smith had 20 points and 11 rebounds on the night for the Fever. Twelve of Smith’s points came in the first quarter, as Smith scored Indiana’s first 10 points of the game.
“Usually when I make my first two I know it’s going to be a good game,” Smith stated.
Once again, Indiana struggled to convert on 2-pointers. Despite making nine of their 20 3-pointers, the Fever were 24-of-62 (38.7 percent) inside the arc. Indiana is the worst 2-point shooting team in the league.
“They were denying our wings heavy,” Knox said. “They were denying our reversals.” Knox added that “Sometimes when you have a young team, it just takes awhile for them to get things embedded.”
The Fever will get some time to possibly rejuvenate with the WNBA’s All-Star festivities occurring in Chicago this weekend.
“We’re not where we want to be,” Knox said. “We still have a lot of season left so we have to come and approach the remainder of this season as if our life depends on it.”
“Five wins in the first half of the season is not enough,” Mitchell said. “I know that, I think my team knows that, I think this organization and the fans know that.”
Indiana will not play again until next Wednesday when they host the Connecticut Sun, who are the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.
Zion Brown is a sports reporter for NextGen Sports, a collaboration with The Recorder Media Group.