The Fever look to rebound tomorrow night when they take on the Phoenix Mercury from Bradenton, Fla. Both teams dropped their season openers on Saturday by considerable deficits and have a lot to play for.
The Fever got off to a late start to the season, having arrived in Bradenton late due to COVID protocol and played Saturday’s game without star Guard Erica Wheeler (COVD protocol,) rookie big Lauren Cox (COVID protocol) and rookie Guard Kathleen Doyle (ankle).
Aside from that, they have a new Coaching Staff, which means a new system as well as a returning Victoria Vivians in the lineup so there’s a lot of fluidity that will come as the season progresses.
After Saturday’s loss to defending Champion Washington, Head Coach Marianne Stanley was very clear that this is no reason to panic despite the shortened season and that, although there were numerous areas in need of improvement, there were also areas that she was happy with- the Fever had an advantage in turnovers and steals.
During Media Day earlier in the week, veteran players spoke about the changes in systems and strategy from last season to this season and one thing that was mentioned was the emphasis Coach Stanley has made on shooting the three-pointer. With 26 attempted from long-range, it’s safe to say they did just that, but they only sank 30% of those shots, though that will improve as the season progresses.
The Fever played tough and with intensity to start the game and then to close it out, but just like last season, they hit a lull in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and that’s something they’ll need to work on but in Monday’s Media Conference via Zoom, Kathleen Doyle said the team and coaches have been working on their defense and cutting down on their defensive errors.
The players and coaching staff were very clear and adamant that there’s a lot they can take away from their loss on Saturday and that they feel they can build on the positives but also work on the negatives and that there’s no excuses for a loss of such a large margin.
The Fever start the season with arguably the toughest two-game opener in the league with the Mystics last week and the Mercury- who have a returning Diana Taurasi standing in front of them on Wednesday.
Look for a fire to be behind the Fever squad Wednesday as they have a lot to prove and play for and are ready to show the WNBA that they’re a force for the Playoffs. This is a team that has a lot of control over their own destiny and will go as far as they’ll let themselves.