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Sky-Fever Preview

Sep 18, 2015 - 6:42 PM The Indiana Fever succeeded in frustrating league MVP Elena Delle Donne in their Eastern Conference semifinals opener with the Chicago Sky.

They still may want to reexamine their strategy.

After being overwhelmed by Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot in losing Game 1, the Fever try to avoid being swept out of the playoffs by the Sky for the second straight season Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Indiana was determined not to be beaten by Delle Donne on Thursday in Chicago, clamping down on her defensively and limiting her two just two first-half points. The only problem with this approach is that gave open looks to Quigley and Vandersloot.

Quigley had 22 points and made 3 of 4 3-pointers and Vandersloot scored 17. The two shot a combined 16 of 30.

''Guarding them definitely has to be a priority,'' Indiana's Tamika Catchings said.

Delle Donne finished with 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds and four turnovers a day after she was named the league's MVP, receiving 38 of the 39 first-place votes. During the regular season, she led the WNBA in scoring with 23.4 points per game, ranked third in rebounding at 8.4 per game, shot 46.0 percent and averaged 1.2 turnovers per game.

''You look at the players on the floor, we need to give two players to (defend) Elena Delle Donne," Fever coach Stephanie White said. "Then you've got Sloot and Quigley running wild. You've got (Jessica) Breland, who is as efficient a player as they come. There's a reason they're in the position they're in.''

Breland chipped in with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds as the Sky outrebounded Indiana 43-36.

''Clearly, this team is why I won the MVP this year,'' Delle Donne said. ''That showed out there, and it will continue to show throughout the playoffs.''

Led by Delle Donne, the Sky were the WNBA's highest-scoring team during the regular season at 82.9 points and finished a tenth of a rebound behind New York for the league lead. They outscored the Fever by an average of 19.8 points in winning all four regular-season meetings.

Although Indiana managed to contain Delle Donne on Thursday, Catchings realizes it's unreasonable to think they'll be able to do that again.

''Better believe we'll be ready for her Saturday because she's going to be a different Elena Delle Donne,'' Catchings said.

Catchings paced the Fever with 21 points - 7.9 better than her season average - but Indiana shot just 6 of 21 from beyond the arc. The Fever led the league in 3-point shooting during the regular season at 36.0 percent.

Indiana won 10 of its final 12 regular-season home games but has had no answer facing the Sky, who ousted them from last season's playoffs in the East finals.

''It comes down to details, and we have to take better care of the details,'' White said.