Axios Indianapolis

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Whose idea was it to put Tax Day on a Monday? #rude

ğŸ˜Ž Today's weather: Sunny with a high near 80.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Indianapolis member Patricia Pickett!

ğŸŽµ Sounds like: "The Drama You've Been Craving" by Sleater-Kinney

  • Tickets go on sale today for IU's annual Granfalloon festival, where the legendary rock band will play June 8.

🏀 Situational awareness: The Pacers clinched a playoff spot with yesterday's win against Atlanta, avoiding the NBA's play-in tournament.

Today's newsletter is 944 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Bill Kole.

1 big thing: How the WNBA draft could change everything

Source: Sports-Reference.com. Graphic: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Tonight is the moment the WNBA has been waiting for.

Why it matters: Tonight's WNBA draft arguably has the most attention in the league's 28-year history, and few teams stand to benefit as much as the Indiana Fever.

Driving the news: As the team with the No. 1 draft pick, the Fever are expected to select Iowa guard Caitlin Clark and bring the "Caitlin Clark effect" to Indianapolis.

State of play: The draft goes down at a moment when women's basketball has never been hotter and is littered with other superstar prospects like LSU's Angel Reese and Stanford's Cameron Brink.

By the numbers: A staggering 18.7 million people watched the NCAA title game — a record for a women's college hoops and a five-year high for any basketball broadcast.

  • The 2023 WNBA season was a record-setter in its own right, becoming the most-watched season in 21 years.
  • The WNBA also saw viewership increase by 21% and attendance increase by 16% year over year.

Zoom in: If the league can maintain its momentum and capitalize on the star power of its incoming class, it may be able to offer better salaries and keep players from needing to play overseas or moonlight as TV analysts during the NBA season.

Reality check: Women's college basketball has often been a bigger platform for stars than the WNBA, Axios' Tim Baysinger writes.

  • Plus, it's unclear how college stars like Clark and Reese will perform in the pros.

The bottom line: The stage is set for this season to be a slam dunk for the Fever, and bring a new generation of fans to the WNBA — if the league and our home team can capitalize on the momentum.

2. How to watch the WNBA draft

Angel Reese, Aaliyah Edwards, Kamilla Cardoso and Caitlin Clark are all expected to be drafted into the WNBA tonight. Photos: Getty Images

The draft starts at 7:30pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and you have several viewing options.

  • ESPN will broadcast the draft or you can stream it on ESPN+ or fuboTV.
  • Or, you can watch it on the scoreboard at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at the Indiana Fever's watch party.

Zoom in: The party starts at 5:30pm on Bicentennial Unity Plaza and the doors to Gainbridge open an hour later.

  • The pre-show starts at 7pm.

Here is the draft order for the first round:

1. Indiana Fever

2. Los Angeles Sparks

3. Chicago Sky

4. Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle)

5. Dallas Wings (via Chicago)

6. Washington Mystics

7. Minnesota Lynx

8. Chicago Sky (via Atlanta)

9. Dallas Wings

10. Connecticut Sun

11. New York Liberty

12. Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas)

What's next: Preseason games begin May 3.

  • The Fever's home opener is May 16.

3. Pit stop: "Golden Bachelor" is back on the market

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

💔 Love is dead. "Golden Bachelor" star Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist are getting divorced, three months after their TV wedding. (IndyStar)

⚖️ Delphi murder suspect Richard Allen allegedly confessed to killing 13-year-old Abby Williams and 14-year-old Libby German to other inmates and guards. His lawyers are trying to have the statements suppressed. (FOX59)

ğŸŽ» Songs from Taylor Swift, Queen, Led Zeppelin and Tina Turner are some highlights in this year's Symphony on the Prairie schedule. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's annual performances at Conner Prairie start June 28. (Conner Prairie)

4. Meatless Monday: Modita's mapo tofu

The spice level is not for the faint of heart! Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

👋 Arika here!

I've been on a tofu kick lately, probably spurred by those Brew Link tacos.

My latest stop: Modita, Cunningham Restaurant Group's Asian-inspired spot in the Bottleworks district.

  • The menu is a mix of Asian cuisine — a selection of sushi rolls, a few Chinese dishes, Japanese-style grilled items and Thai-inspired noodles.
  • The meatless options are few, but delicious enough that it doesn't matter.

What to order: The mapo tofu.

  • Firm, slightly chewy cubes of tofu and tender half moons of lotus root are tossed in a sauce made from fermented beans and chili paste. You wouldn't necessarily know that's what it's made from, though — no beans in sight.
  • It's saucy, spicy and delicious.

Cost: $19.

Plus: The fried Brussels sprouts ($11) are, as a friend of mine would say, "a solid win" — but still not as good as The Bulldog's.

If you go: 850 Mass Ave.

  • Open 5-10pm Monday to Thursday, 4-11pm Friday and Saturday, 4-9pm Sunday.

Invest in Local Journalism

Illustration: Andrew Caress/Axios

Quality journalism is essential for a thriving community.

Support local journalism by joining Axios Indianapolis as a member.

  • For $50+ a year, you'll gain access to exclusive insider notes and help us expand our coverage of the issues that matter most to you.

Together, we can make a difference in keeping our community informed and engaged.

Thank you for your consideration.

5. 1 pic to go: ğŸŽï¸ Countdown to race day

500 Festival princesses gathered around the Borg-Warner Trophy at the Garage. Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

Start your engines and break out the checkered flags ... it's just about that time of year.

What's happening: Practice for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 is less than a month away.

  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is building excitement by holding fan events around the state this month, including one at the Garage last week.
  • There's one tomorrow in Bloomington and events in Fort Wayne and Evansville the following week.

The latest: Indy 500 open testing was held last week, though the second day was cancelled by the relentless rain.

What's next: Teams will return to IMS on May 10 for practice and qualifying ahead of the Sonsio Grand Prix on May 11.

  • The opening day of Indy 500 practice is May 14.
  • The race is May 26.

Our picks:

🤘 Arika will definitely be at that Sleater-Kinney show!

😂 Justin thinks Caitlin Clark absolutely nailed her first SNL appearance with Michael Che.

🏀 Lindsey is going to the Fever's draft party tonight.