The Indiana Fever found their groove in July, winning five of six ahead of the Olympic break – highlighted by an impressive 82-70 road victory over the Eastern Conference-leading New York Liberty.
The Fever have come out of the break ice cold, however, and have dropped back-to-back home games by double digits. They'll try to end that streak Thursday when the Liberty visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
New York (19-8) has clinched a playoff berth and sits in third in the league standings, behind the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx. The Liberty, the league's leading rebounding team, have won seven of nine -including an 84-77 road victory over the San Antonio Stars in their first game back from the month-long break.
Star forward Tina Charles is a leading MVP candidate and is coming off a 15-point, 10-rebound performance against San Antonio, her league-high 15th double-double. Charles is second in the league scoring, averaging 21.0 points per game, and first in rebounding (9.7).
Charles had a big night in her last game against Indiana, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. But Indiana forward Lynetta Kizer hit 10-of-14 shots and finished 21 points, and the Fever hit seven 3-pointers to upend the Liberty.
New York had won the two previous meetings with the Fever this season, but has lost seven of 10 against Indiana overall.
The Fever (12-14) came out listless in the loss to Phoenix on Tuesday and didn't score a field goal late in the first quarter. They should have been motivated, after getting blown off the court by the Washington Mystics, 92-69, on Saturday. But they weren't, leaving players and coaches scratching their heads.
“I don't really know what's going on,” Indiana center Erlana Larkins told the Indianapolis Star after Tuesday's loss to Phoenix. “We don't even know what's going on right now. We just know that today we got better in the defensive department. The offense is still taking a hit.”
Indiana is averaging 80.0 points per game, but has been held to less than 70 in back-to-back defeats.