Indiana Fever drops home game against Phoenix Mercury

After two quarters of play on Wednesday, the Indiana Fever lost 17 points to the Phoenix Mercury. Indiana hadn’t led for the first two minutes of the game and trailed up to 23 points in the first half.

But off the break, Kelsey Mitchell exploded after scoring just seven points in the first half. Just over a minute into the second half. Mitchell rolled in a layup then drilled a deep three-pointer to get the fever within 14 points.

A few possessions later, Mitchell hit a base jumper followed by another deep ball. In just three and a half minutes, Mitchell scored 10 points, but his team was still trailing 62-50.

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“I think it was (Mitchell) finding his places,” head coach Carlos Knox said. “We had a long talk at halftime. I just talked to him about coming, becoming the leader of our team and understanding where we were at. We needed a spark, we needed a lift and she was able to come out and provide it for us.

Mitchell finished the quarter with 15 points, but between his explosive moves, the Fever defense gave up one or sometimes a few baskets. Phoenix often had players wide open for easy layups or threes after the Indiana defense missed a mission or dispatched the double team too quickly.

Without the Fever stopping, Mitchell’s offensive production was wiped out and the Fever fell back into the losers’ column with a 93-80 loss to the Mercury at home.

“Obviously they’re all talented, so you kind of have to pick your poison and get them to do some hard punches,” Mitchell said. “You’ve got athleticism, you’ve got speed, you’ve got finesse, you’ve got good shooting. So like I said, you gotta pick your poison.

Tina Charles gave Indiana the toughest time at the Coliseum, finishing with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. Charles, a 6-foot-4 center, broke his previous-season high of 25 points on Wednesday night and became the WNBA’s fifth all-time leading scorer.

Charles led the Mercury in the first quarter, finishing with more points than the entire Fever team as Phoenix led 20-11. Queen Egbo was the only Fever player to score in the first eight minutes of the match. Before the two-minute mark, Indiana had scored just six points.

The Mercury continued to dominate offensively in the second quarter, scoring 20 points in the first five minutes to the Fever’s nine points.

The Fever defense struggled to keep up with the Mercury’s speed and offensive flow, often losing missions and leaving Phoenix with open holds. After a 33-point second quarter, the Mercury led 53-36.

“I think basketball is about taking risks and the possibility of 50/50,” Mitchell said. “I think we took a risk playing the double and playing quite well at the back. Sometimes it worked, often not. »

While the Fever outshot the Mercury in the third quarter, the deficit remained in double digits as Phoenix’s offense never broke.

Nothing changed for the Fever in the final quarter as every time they played on offense they couldn’t get the stoppage on the opposite side.

“I feel like they had a lot of easy looks at base, cutting without the ball and of course kicking for all three,” Egbo said. “We just have to be better in rotation and make them uncomfortable, make them take shots they don’t want to take like they do for us and grab a rebound and go the other way. It’s pretty simple, execute the stratagems defensively. It’s just about putting it all together at the right time and picking and choosing who you want to help with.

Mitchell finished the game with 26 points, shooting 50% from the field. Victoria Vivians and Queen Egbo were the only other Fever players to record double digit scores.

The Fever are having a well-deserved break before hosting the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon.