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Fever-Dream Preview

May 16, 2010 - 3:59 AM By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer

Indiana (0-0) at Atlanta (0-0), 7:00 p.m. EDT

It might take some time this year for the Indiana Fever to find the same chemistry that helped carry them to the most successful season in franchise history in 2009.

The defending Eastern Conference champions look to bounce back from a season-opening loss Sunday when they visit an Atlanta Dream club looking to build off the best year of their short existence.

With practically the same roster back from last season's 22-12 squad that reached the WNBA finals for the first time, Indiana looks to take the final step this season.

"Expectations are very high," said Fever coach Lin Dunn, who's team blew a 2-1 series lead and lost to Phoenix in the league finals. "You come within a couple of minutes of maybe winning the championship ... the bar has been raised."

However, the Fever are going to have regain their chemistry after starters Katie Douglas, Tamika Catchings, Ebony Hoffman and Tammy Sutton-Brown missed all of training camp while playing in the finals of the Turkish League. The foursome reunited for Saturday's opener, but the Fever couldn't overcome a 37.3 percent shooting effort in a 72-65 home loss to Washington.

Catchings and Sutton-Brown each had 12 points while Douglas added 10 for the Fever, who never got into a rhythm and allowed the Mystics to shoot 50 percent from the field.

"We just have to grind out these two games and dig deep," Sutton-Brown said.

Indiana has a chance to bounce back against Atlanta, which opened the season with a 75-70 win at San Antonio on Saturday.

The Fever are 5-2 all-time against the third-year Dream, who finished second in the East a year ago to reach the playoffs for the first time. Douglas averaged 19.0 points while Indiana won two of three against Atlanta last season.

Atlanta's Erika de Souza, who averaged 18.0 points and 13.0 rebounds against the Fever in 2009, had 11 points and 15 boards Saturday.

Iziane Castro-Marques scored 23 points and 2009 WNBA rookie of the year Angel McCoughtry added 20 on Saturday for the Dream, who held a 55-44 rebound advantage and forced 21 turnovers.

"We know we're not a big team this year, so we've got to set the tone mentally," said McCoughtry, who averaged 12.8 points and 3.1 rebounds last year when the Dream made a 14-win improvement from their inaugural 2008 season. "So mentally if we can set the tone, then we show we're not afraid."

  • 10
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Fever 62, Dream 66  FinalMay 17 8:26 AM

  • WNBA
    INDIANA 62

    May 16 9:15 PM

  • WNBA
    INDIANA 19

    May 16 7:30 PM