May 14, 2024 - News

How to fake it: Indiana Fever season preview

Indiana Fever team

A new era in Fever basketball starts now. Photo: Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

The Fever open their highly anticipated regular season Tuesday on the road against the Connecticut Sun.

Why it matters: The hype for this season — which includes the debut of superstar rookie Caitlin Clarkhas been off the charts as women's professional sports continue booming.

  • WNBA sales are up 93% year over year, and the Fever are the league's top trending team with ticket sales that are 13 times higher than 2023.
  • Tonight's game is the first live sports event on Disney+ and the Sun's first sold-out game since 2003, Axios' Linh Ta reports.

Yes, but: This surge in popularity means the Fever have a lot of new fans who don't know much about their home team.

  • With that in mind, here's a quick guide to get you ready for the 2024 season.

State of play: The Fever enter this season with a low bar to clear in terms of exceeding last year's performance.

  • The team ended 2023 with a 13-27 record, worst in the Eastern Conference and third worst in the entire league.
  • As rough as last year was, it was an improvement. Those 13 wins were more than the team mustered in the previous two seasons combined.
  • The Fever finished 5-31 in 2021 and 6-26 in 2022.
  • The team hasn't reached the playoffs since 2016.

Zoom in: The Fever went 1-1 in the 2024 preseason, losing to Dallas 76-79 on May 3 and beating Atlanta 83-80 on Thursday.

Calling the shots: Christie Sides is the head coach in her second season. She rejoined the team in late 2022 after serving as an assistant coach for the Fever from 2017-2019.

  • As a college player, Sides helped Louisiana Tech reach a 61-6 record in two seasons, including a trip to the 1999 Final Four.
  • She holds the career record at Tech for 3-point field goal percentage (.448).

Leading the chants: Freddy Fever is the team mascot.

Making the plays: The Fever announced its opening night roster Monday morning, but the starting five remains subject to change until tipoff.

Here are seven players likely to play a role in the starting lineup this season:

Caitlin Clark, guard, No. 22

  • No. 1 overall 2024 WNBA draft pick.
  • All-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I basketball history.

Aliyah Boston, forward-center, No. 7

  • Averaged 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in 2023.

Erica Wheeler, guard, No. 17

  • Undrafted free agent and first undrafted player to win WNBA All-Star Game MVP in 2019.
  • Entering her sixth season with the Fever after averaging 9.9 ppg in 2023.

Katie Lou Samuelson, forward, No. 33

  • 2nd in three-pointers made in the history of UConn women's basketball.
  • Returns to the WNBA this season after giving birth last summer.

NaLyssa Smith, forward, No. 1

  • Selected by the Fever with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft.
  • She emerged as a team leader last season, averaging 15.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Kelsey Mitchell, guard, No. 0

  • Holds the record for most points (38) and most 3-pointers (9) by a Fever player in a single game.
  • Drafted by the Fever with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 WNBA draft and is entering her seventh season.
  • She led the team with 18.2 points per game in 2023.

Lexie Hull, guard, No. 10

  • Helped Stanford win a national championship in 2021.
  • Drafted with the No. 6 overall pick by the Fever in the 2022 draft, and played 26 games in her rookie season.

If you watch: Tipoff is at 7:30pm, televised on ESPN 2, Disney+, the WNBA App and on WNBA League Pass.

What's next: The Fever regular-season home opener is 7pm Thursday against the New York Liberty.

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