Fever Stumble in Fourth Quarter, Fall to Connecticut Sun 87-78 Sunday Evening

June 24, 2018 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Indiana Fever News Release

KEY RUN:

After Indiana cut Connecticut's lead to two points, 62-60, at the end of the third period, the Sun began the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run. Connecticut shot 10-for-16 (63 percent) from the field and outscored the Fever 25-18 in the fourth quarter.

KEY STAT:

Connecticut's bench players combined to score more than their starting five (46-41), and outscored Indiana's bench by 36 points (46-10).

INDIANA NOTES:

All five Fever starters reached double figures in the scoring column for the first time this season.

Indiana's starting five outscored Connecticut's 68-41.

Natalie Achonwa finished the day shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the field on her way to a team-high 16 points. Her 7-for-7 mark from the field is tied for the third-most field goal attempts from the field without a miss in Fever history, and is the best outing by a Fever player since 2012.

Candice Dupree reached double figures for the ninth time this season. She scored 15 points to go with her team-best eight rebounds.

CONNECTICUT NOTES:

Connecticut snapped a four-game losing streak to improve to 8-5 on the season and 4-4 on the road.

The Sun moved into a fourth-place tie in the WNBA standings with the Washington Mystics.

Guard Rachel Banham led the Sun and set a new career high with 20 points, and hit all five of her three-point attempts. Banham had only scored in double figures once this season entering tonight's game.

Second-year center Brionna Jones posted her first WNBA double-double and set new career highs with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Indianapolis native Alex Bentley finished with five points, a team-high six assists and five steals in 23 minutes off the bench.

The Sun outrebounded the Fever 37-27 and collected 12 offensive rebounds.

Quoting Fever Head Coach Pokey Chatman

(On fourth quarter, after trailing 62-60 after three quarters)

"We talk a lot about pivotal moments. I didn't think we were tight with what we were doing in those moments. Some things we did to ourselves, but I always have to give credit to the opposition. [Connecticut] got the rebounds and second-chance points and took advantage in those moments."

(On Kelsey Mitchell getting on track)

"You know, Kelsey's a player that is unfortunately going to be labeled forever by the number of points she scores. That's what happens when you score a million of them. But she's still learning the game at this level. Really, she put up 17 shots tonight and my biggest concern isn't how many she makes, but what type of shots is she getting? Is she doing the right things? And how else can she impact a game when the shots aren't falling? Our job is to encourage her to keep getting good shots and keep her head up. When she gets an assist, that's two points. A deflection helps us on the other end, a rebound helps us, there's a lot of ways she can have an impact."

Quoting the Fever's Candice Dupree

(Did the Sun's bench scoring surprise you?)

"It shouldn't have been a surprise. We went over the scout. We know that (Rachel) Banham is a shooter. She was 5-for-5 from the three. Something like that can't happen. I think she got a lot of threes just off of too much dribble penetration. We weren't able to contain the side pick and rolls. (Brionna) Jones, they just kept isolating her on the block, and it's hard to play defense when we're undersized one on one. We have to do a better job of helping (Natalie Achonwa) out and limiting those points."

Quoting the Fever's Kelsey Mitchell

(What do you think you have to do to overcome what you learned from this game?)

"Definitely stick to what's working. Buy into knowing everything is not going to be the way you want it to go and kind of turn the page after plays that didn't go right. Just kind of turn the page from it."

(On the Sun's bench)

"The coach put the emphasis on not making players that come off the bench, not that they are irrelevant, but don't make them relevant in the stand point of kind of like they come off the bench be mindful of their personnel and we didn't do that today."

Quoting Sun Head Coach Curt Miller

"The bench had a really, really good night. Tough night for Jonquel Jones. She was in foul trouble from the beginning. Just never could get her on track, so the play of Brionna Jones was huge tonight. We moved the ball, made extra passes tonight, which we haven't through this losing streak. When it was starting to work there was an emphasis to get the ball inside. A lot of that goes to our players passing up some good shots to get a better shot and then Brionna Jones having a big night."

(On the fourth quarter)

"We let one slip the other night in Atlanta with a fourth-quarter lead. They went on a big run on us, so that was a determined locker room to play better. If we got beat, we got beat. But there was a determined locker room to have a better fourth quarter."

Quoting the Sun's Brionna Jones

(On her second half performance)

"I think once our energy starting going up and with (Alex Bentley) playing great defense and our team energy off the bench coming from our starters, even. I think it's just getting a lot of energy."

(On their confidence going into the next games)

"I think it's definitely a good win to get back on track after our little slide that we had. I think this is going to give us energy that we need to move forward, especially going into a tough game with Washington."

Quoting the Sun's Rachel Banham

"We just had a few losses, so we really came out with as much energy as we possibly could. I think our bench did a really good job providing some of that when some of our starters weren't able to hit some shots. We came in and just gave as much energy as we could and it really worked out for us."

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