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Fever-Storm Preview

Jun 24, 2010 - 4:59 PM By MIKE LIPKA STATS Writer

Indiana (8-4) at Seattle (11-2), 10:00 p.m. EDT

An injury scare for point guard Sue Bird doesn't look like it's going to slow down the WNBA-leading Seattle Storm.

In Seattle's last eight games, the Indiana Fever are the only opponent that has.

The Storm expect to have Bird in the lineup Friday night against red-hot Indiana as they look to continue the best start in franchise history and remain unbeaten at home while avenging one of their two losses.

About the only problem for Seattle during its 82-61 win over San Antonio on Sunday night was a knee injury that forced Bird out of the game in the third quarter, but tests revealed no ligament damage and the veteran is set to start Friday.

Bird, two-time league MVP Lauren Jackson and coach Brian Agler have guided the Storm (11-2) to a 5 1/2-game lead in the Western Conference.

"We have good chemistry," Bird said. "We've been together a couple of years now. We're familiar with Brian's system and it's easy to play with one another."

The Storm have been particularly impressive at home, winning all seven games - the last four by an average of 21.0 points. Swin Cash sparked Sunday's victory with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Jackson had a second consecutive double-double with 19 points and 14 boards.

Seattle has won seven of eight overall, but the team isn't getting too excited about its fast start considering it has lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the last five years.

"If anything it keeps us focused," Bird said. "We didn't win anything. ... It's nice, but we definitely know what we need to work on."

Indiana (8-4) won the Eastern Conference last year before losing to Phoenix in the WNBA finals, and the Fever are off to another strong start - including a 72-65 home win over the Storm on June 17.

"We did a really good job on Lauren and Sue," Indiana leading scorer Tamika Catchings said. "They didn't get anything easy. I credit our defense on that."

The Fever hold opponents to a league-low 71.2 points per game, but they used a big offensive performance to beat East-leading Atlanta 94-91 on Saturday for their sixth win in seven games.

"It was a really big week for us," Catchings said. "When you beat two great teams, such as Seattle and Atlanta, it's definitely a confidence builder."

Indiana will be out to prove it can equal those results on the road as it plays its next four away from home. Coach Lin Dunn's team is 2-3 on the road and has lost its last three visits to Seattle.

  • 5
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Fever 81, Storm 85  FinalJun 26 4:22 AM

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