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 Indiana Fever

Fans Create Special Environment for Fever Home Opener

May 16, 2024 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Indiana Fever News Release

The first home game of the Indiana Fever's 25th season resembled more of a playoff atmosphere than just the team's second game of 2024.

Downtown Indianapolis buzzed for hours before Thursday's tip between the Fever and New York Liberty, with fans from across the country and beyond converging on the Circle City to get a glimpse of one of the most young, exciting teams in the WNBA and their newest star, Caitlin Clark.

Red, blue and yellow apparel flowed down the metro area's sidewalks as new and old Fever fans flooded the city during their pilgrimage to the fieldhouse. Fans stopped at building-long banners to take keepsake photos, played games and won prizes at Unity Bicentennial Plaza, and enjoyed other festivities inside the fieldhouse before packing the stands and bringing the noise.

From the opening pregame hype video, which showed the players posing in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, to the final buzzer, Fever fans made their voices heard.

By the final tally, the game was a sellout crowd of 17,274 on Thursday-just the third regular-season sellout in Fever history. The only other times the Fever sold out games were the 2003 season opener and the final game of the 2016 regular season, which was the last home game for Fever legend Tamika Catchings.

While a veteran Liberty squad proved too much for Indiana, beating the Fever 102-66, the crowd pumped energy into the roster from start to finish.

Fever All-Star center Aliyah Boston, the reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year, said that the home crowd significantly boosted the team when they tried to battle back in the second half. Boston finished with 12 points and seven rebounds to lead Indiana, first-year Fever forward Katie Lou Samuelson tallied 10 points in her home debut, and Clark flirted with a triple-double by logging nine points, seven rebounds and six assists.

"It was great. You could hear them every step of the way," Boston said. "The energy was great, you heard them cheering. That's what we need. The Fever is definitely on the rise and we're just continuing to put in the work. It was a great home-court advantage."

In the third quarter, a bucket by former Hoosier Grace Berger and Clark's first 3-pointer at home - a step-back over her defender - blew the roof off as fans tried to rally the team back during an 11-0 run.

Both coaches and players appreciated moments like that from the crowd.

"We had 17,000 fans here tonight and we can't thank them enough," Fever head coach Christie Sides said. "Awesome fans, it got really loud when we cut it to 11...We've got to do a better job. We have to make the fans proud with what we put on the floor. We didn't do that tonight and that's unacceptable."

Postgame, Samuelson promised the team would respond to the loss and continue to feed off the crowd in big moments.

"I would say we will give the crowd more energy than we gave them tonight overall," Samuelson said. "I think we can give to them as much as they're giving to us. So that's something that will never happen again. We will be giving as much energy as the crowd."

The Fever returns home on May 20 to host the Connecticut Sun.

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