Storm-Fever Preview

BY foxsports • May 31, 2016

While Stephanie White's looming departure has created a bigger stir, it's the current absences that have the Indiana Fever searching for answers.

The injury-plagued Fever hope to find them at home in Wednesday night's matchup with the Seattle Storm.

Indiana (2-3) is eager to turn the page on a tough last week that began with White announcing she's leaving the team at season's end to become the head coach at Vanderbilt. The news was followed by road losses at Minnesota and Atlanta in which the Fever's present weaknesses were exposed.

The Fever played both games without their starting backcourt of Briann January (knee surgery) and Shenise Johnson (concussion), two of the WNBA's top three in 3-point percentage last season. They went 9 for 35 from beyond the arc in those defeats and rank near the bottom of the league with a 28.9 percent success rate from long range.

Indiana led the league at 36 percent during last year's WNBA Finals run.

Turnovers have been an issue as well. The Fever had 17 in each of those losses with second-year pro Erica Wheeler replacing the veteran January at point guard. Atlanta scored 11 points off five fourth-quarter giveaways in Sunday's 85-76 win, recovering after Indiana rallied from an 18-point deficit to tie the game at 63 with seven minutes remaining.

"We have to figure it out quickly, because in this league you don't have time to figure out how to adjust," White said. "I thought we did well to close the gap to 10 by halftime. We wanted a high-energy third quarter, and we did that. But we kind of fizzled in the fourth quarter."

The Fever were also without key reserve Maggie Lucas, who sustained a knee contusion after scoring a season-high 12 in Friday's 74-71 loss at Minnesota.

Indiana has won four straight and eight of nine over Seattle (2-3), which has lost seven of its last eight visits to Indianapolis. The Storm do enter this one with some momentum after delivering their best offensive performance of the young season in Saturday's 93-81 victory over Connecticut.

The Storm shot 56.1 percent and broke a 39-all tie with a 21-2 third-quarter run. Jewell Loyd scored 11 of her 26 points during the surge and Crystal Langhorne finished a franchise-record 8 for 8 from the field while adding 18.

"We can definitely play even better than we did (Saturday)," Langhorne told the team's official website. "So we're just going to use it as a stepping stone."

Seattle's chances for a second straight win likely rest on Loyd. The 2015 WNBA Rookie of the Year has tallied 56 points in the Storm's two wins and shot 41.7 percent - including 1 of 11 from 3 - in their three losses.

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