Future decisions will be a headache for the Fever
I am nowhere near qualified to be the head coach of a WNBA team. I certainly have not coached for 6 NCAA programs and 3 WNBA franchises like Indiana Fever leader Marianne Stanley. Therefore, my advice for Stanley should be taken with a grain of salt: I want her to give up.
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No, I don’t mean throw in the towel completely, just to give up on the pre-season idea of what she wanted the Indiana Fever identity to be. We have mentioned all season that the younger players on the Fever roster are barely seeing any minutes, which continued last night as Kysre Gondrezick, Victoria Vivians, and Lauren Cox combined for just 23 minutes in a 79-69 loss to the Seattle Storm.
Stanley’s motive for bringing these younger players, including Teaira McCowan, into the game off the bench is so that they can get a feel for the defense before being exposed to it in real time. A very fair reason, but at what point does in game development trump mental preparation?
It was the second consecutive lost to the Storm, and Indiana started the same five players who were generally unsuccessful the game before, so they should not have expected a different result. At 1-13, I would love to see Stanley be creative with more backcourt pairings, different minute allocations, and even challenge her players to play outside their comfort zone on offense.
The Storm improve to a league best 12-2, led by Breanna Stewart with 21 points and 15 rebounds.
Sun missing Jonquel Jones
The Chicago Sky are hot right now, just like the sun, but not the Connecticut Sun. Jonquel Jones did lead her team to a win yesterday, but as a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team against Belgium, whereas her WNBA teammates lost to the Sky 81-75.
In a close game, an extra few possessions can be the difference maker, and not having Jones to secure defensive boards allowed 10 extra possessions for Chicago. Despite all of the star power in the Windy City, it is Kahleah Cooper who continues to produce at the highest level. A breakout star last year, Cooper is leading the Sky in both points per game and dropped 18 last night.
It was a dreadful shooting performance from DeWanna Bonner, who is bearing too much of the weight in Jones’s absence. Kaila Charles played well as the replacing starter, but it will need to be a collective effort on both ends of the floor until Jonquel gets back.
What will be very interesting to watch is what adjustments are made from James Wade and Curt Miller over the next week, as these teams play two more times in a nine day span.
The win was also huge for the Sky in bolstering their Commissioner Cup Standings, as they are in second place and closing in on Connecticut in the East.
Other stars of the night
Theresa Plaisance, Washington Mystics – 25 points in a 96-93 win over the Atlanta Dream
Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx – 18/8/4 against the Dallas Wings, winning 85-73
Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces – 18 points and 7 boards as the Aces walloped the New York Liberty 103-76.