Fever Fall to Phoenix Mercury, 95-77

June 29, 2018 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Indiana Fever News Release

KEY STAT:

In addition to shooting 52 percent from the field, the Mercury attempted nine more free throws and shot a perfect 21-for-21 from the foul line. Phoenix shot 15-for-15 from the free throw line in the second quarter, and outscored the Fever 29-13 in the period.

INDIANA NOTES:

The Fever, who trailed by just one point at the end of the first quarter, shot a combined 20-for-32 (.625) in the first and fourth quarters, but just 9-for-32 (.281) in the second and third periods.

Indiana outscored Phoenix 49-44 in the first and fourth, but managed just 28 points and was outscored by 23 in the second and third.

The Fever fall to 1-15 on the season with a 1-8 mark at home.

Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever in scoring with 19 points and hit 5-of-10 3-point tries.

Rookie Victoria Vivians reached double figures for the third straight game and the seventh time this season with 10 points.

Backup center Kayla Alexander reached double figures for the first time this season with a season-best 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

PHOENIX NOTES:

The Mercury became the first WNBA team to reach 12 wins this season, and moved to 12-5 on the year.

Phoenix has now won two straight games and 10 of its last 12.

Diana Taurasi scored a game-high 25 points (20 in the first half) in the win, knocking down four triples and finishing a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line.

Brittney Griner netted 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

The Mercury moved to 12-1 on the season when the team's trio of DeWanna Bonner, Griner and Taurasi each score 12 or more points in a game. The three combined to score 60 points on 19-for-27 (.704) shooting from the field.

Quoting Fever Head Coach Pokey Chatman

"When you are playing the second-best team in the league, you've got to try to make things more difficult and more uncomfortable for them. You can't allow them to do things they want to do, at least not easy. No matter whether DT (Diana Taurasi) got hot or (the Mercury) hit some shots; or whether we agree with all the calls on the floor - we fouled too much and we didn't make Phoenix work hard enough for what they got. That led to our demise early and all we did was give Phoenix more confidence."

(On Phoenix's 15-of-15 FTs in second quarter)

"Look, they were aggressive and I have to give them credit. That wasn't our issue. We didn't execute and we didn't do so many of the basic things that we need to do defensively. That wasn't our biggest issue, but the fouls and free throws obviously didn't help."

Quoting the Fever's Victoria Vivians

"We came out and didn't play as well as we should on defense. We weren't focused and we let them get easy shots. Easy shots equals easy buckets."

(On the team's shot selection in the second and third quarters)

"Offensively, mental lapses and I guess the rotation, the ball and reversing the ball. Everybody didn't get to touch, so it's not going to equal to an easy shot. I feel like some shots were forced."

Quoting the Fever's Kelsey Mitchell

(On Phoenix's Big Three)

"Kind of giving away things. Not being really tuned in on the personnel and knowing people like Diana Taurasi going to you, knowing that she's a pro. You gotta be ready at all times. We played with them for a while. I think we did a good job in that first half of kind of containing them early on and then after a while we just kind of broke down as a team, as a unit."

(On Phoenix's second quarter run)

"It's all about pivotal moments, as Coach Pokey says. It's crucial that we kind of like stick with it throughout the course of the game and not have these downward little spirals. Same song and dance. Gotta pick it up where we can."

Quoting Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello

"We showed them a lot respect tonight. That was a big thing for us. Don't underestimate. That's when it comes out and bites you on the behind. First quarter, we had a few breakdowns, too many open looks. We let them score too easily. We really knuckled down and defensively, I think we took them out and we scored at a high rate. It's good for me to be able to play the bench and we have a back to back tomorrow, so it was good to have Diana (Taurasi) and (Brittney Griner) only have 24 minutes."

(On playing against this young team)

"They're young. In a few years they're going to be good. They play hard. You know they haven't been together a lot so they're still understanding Pokey's system. But they do play hard. Sometimes they over-rotate, that just comes with experience. Kelsey Mitchell, a hell of a player. Put a lot of emphasis on her. Not letting her get overlooked, but she still did. She's a great little player. Obviously, Candice (Dupree) not letting her get going, making it hard for her tonight too. Just relying on our team defense, because at any time they're aggressive to the rim. The fourth quarter wasn't so great, but it didn't matter. We did our work in those other two quarters before to put us in a position."

Quoting the Mercury's Brittney Griner

(On her shooting performance)

"We had to come in and take care of business. We couldn't look at records or anything like that. Some teams get beat, so we just have to come in and play our game. I thought my teammates did a good job finding me and me getting them open as well. Just kind of playing back and forth off of each other. It was a joint effort tonight."

(On Kayla Alexander and Candice Dupree playing you tough)

"I get toughness from everybody, every night. You just have to get ready for it. You know they're gonna bang, they're gonna push, so just have to keep a cool head."

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