Fever try to keep it going against Wings
While the Dallas Wings know their answer to success is feeding stars Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith the ball, the Indiana Fever have found a solution to their struggles.
Indiana, with the worst WNBA record at 2-16, is coming off its first road win of the season, over the defending champion Minnesota Lynx no less, when it travels to Dallas (8-8) on Thursday night.
One significant reason for Indiana’s upset over Minnesota: the free agent acquisition Sunday of 13-year veteran guard Cappie Pondexter, who played in 13 games with the Lox Angeles Sparks this season before her release.
In her first game with Indiana — and 400th in her career — in the 71-59 win at Minnesota on Tuesday, Pondexter had 12 points and five rebounds off the bench. She made a big 3-pointer with 1:49 left that gave Indiana its biggest lead at the time, icing the game.
“(Pondexter) has ice water in her veins when it comes to big moments,” Indiana coach Pokey Chatman said. “She’s a professional. She and Candice (Dupree) can start providing some comfort for our babies.”
Chatman was referring to the youthful Indiana roster, which has only four players with more than four years of experience.
Cambage and Diggins-Smith are coming off a combined 57 points in the Wings’ 108-85 victory over the visiting Chicago Sky on Tuesday.
Cambage, a 6-foot-8 center who played despite suffering from concussion-like symptoms in the previous game, scored 21 points by halftime against Chicago. She finished with a career-high 37 points with 10 rebounds.
“When she’s playing like that, she’s the best player in the league,” said Diggins-Smith, who had five of Dallas’ season-high 26 assists. “I’m grateful to play with somebody like that.”
Diggins-Smith went scoreless in the first half but finished with 20 points, 18 of which came in the third quarter, the highest-scoring quarter of her career. She made 8 of 12 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Dallas coach Fred Williams intentionally did not start Diggins-Smith and kept her from playing in the first quarter in attempt to keep her fresh for the second half.
“I’m probably going to do that the rest of the season,” Williams said.
Dallas and Indiana are meeting for the second time this season. In the first matchup on June 8, the Wings won in Indianapolis 89-83 behind 35 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals from Diggins-Smith.