The Indiana Fever have started a four-game homestand with some of their top defensive performances of the season, and their next opponent seems incapable of changing that.
The San Antonio Stars visit Indiana on Friday night seeking their first road win of the year, while the Fever are in search of a fourth straight victory.
After Wednesday’s 88-65 victory over Seattle, Indiana (6-6) is in position to top .500 for the first time and all but forget its 0-3 start. The Fever have held their last two opponents to 57.5 points per game and 34.9 percent shooting, including 8 for 37 (21.6 percent) from 3-point range.
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"That’s just our identity here," Lynetta Kizer said. "It’s something we’re going to hang our hat on and hold ourselves accountable for every day."
Kizer also got it done offensively with a season-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 19 minutes off the bench.
"Her skill set is tremendous," coach Stephanie White said of the 6-foot-4 forward. "She has the skills of a guard."
The team is averaging 84.3 points and shooting 51.6 percent on the winning streak, with Tamika Catchings putting up 17.7 on 62.5 percent. The forward had shot 7 of 41 (17.1 percent) for 7.2 points per game over her previous four and totaled just seven on 1-of-15 shooting in two meetings with San Antonio last season.
Indiana last won four straight May 25-June 6, 2014, which preceded its split with San Antonio. The Stars defeated the Fever 71-70 in Indiana on July 5 of last year before the Fever won 75-68 in San Antonio on July 26 to give them wins in three of the last four meetings while holding the Stars to an average of 66.5 points.
San Antonio (3-8) is coming off Wednesday’s 70-63 home win over Los Angeles behind a season-high 22 points and eight assists from Danielle Robinson. The guard is putting up 13.8 points per game in her last six after averaging 6.4 over her first five.
The Stars remain 0-5 in opposing arenas, and their scoring issues have followed them everywhere. Their average of 71.6 points is better than only Seattle (68.0) and their 41.3 percent shooting mark is the league’s third worst.
Sophia Young-Malcolm has at least provided the team with a boost on the road. The forward has scored 18.7 points over her last three away games.
Rookie Dearica Hamby has also been more productive away from San Antonio. The guard had her worst game to date against the Sparks with two points on 1-of-6 shooting, but she’s averaged 11.8 in five road games as opposed to 7.2 at home.
Regardless of venue, it seems as if more of a perimeter game will eventually be in the works. Hamby has only attempted 10 3s, but she’s hitting 40 percent. The team is second worst in the league at 27 percent, so the Stars could certainly use the help.
"Coach (Dan Hughes) eventually wants to move me to the perimeter to be a bigger guard," Hamby told the team’s official website. "This first year, we’re working on getting me comfortable with the game and building my confidence, so eventually we can work toward that. Eventually that’s something that we agree I should take my game to."