Arlington, Tex.– The Indiana Fever were able to close out their preseason schedule undefeated Sunday, as they came from behind to beat the Dallas Wings, 71-66.
Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell scored 17 of her game high 26 points in the second half, while rookie guard Paris Kea added 11 points and Natalie Achonwa chipped in 10.
Coach Pokey Chatman gave credit to the second-year player from Ohio State.
“At the end of the day, Kelsey Mitchell really stepped up big,” Chatman said. “She goes into every game with the other team keying on her. They know she’s going to take the big shots. She deserves all the credit for her play when we needed it.”
Busy hands from the Wings disrupted the visitors in the first half, but there were unable to maintain that consistency after the break. Coach Brian Agler felt his team played well up until the miscues on defense and the turnovers on offense in the third quarter, where they were outscored 29-13.
“They made shots, Mitchell got it going a little bit,” he said. “We had some good things happen in the first half and had some really good defensive spurts for a while.”
This year Dallas will be without the production of All-Star Liz Cambage, who was traded this past weekend to Las Vegas, and point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who is making her way back after giving birth last month. But even without their two stars from last season, the Wings are not short on young talent that can be competitive for the upcoming season.
The charge in the final preseason game was led by former Texas standout Brooke McCarty-Williams with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists. McCarty-Williams said she has been learning a lot from veteran players like Diggins-Smith and Tayler Hill.
“I’ve just been listening to them and trying to apply it on the court. I am taking in everything they are telling me,” McCarty-Williams said.
The guard was the third different rookie to lead the Wings in three-straight preseason games. Kaela Davis, Theresa Plaisance, Kayla Thornton and rookie Kennedy Burke added 7 points a piece. Forward Imani McGee-Stafford, acquired from the Atlanta Dream last week, also notched quality minutes.
Dallas gave Indiana different personnel looks down the stretch to try to regain the lead, which had been as much as 17 points, but they were unable to close out the game. The Wings seemed committed to moving the ball throughout the game, but their offense was stagnant in the second half. Plaisance said the team should have stayed true to their offensive sets.
“When we did stay true and got the ball into the paint; we were scoring on those possessions,” Plaisance said. “Now we’d have to do that more consistently, I think that’s what’s going to be the focus for our first game.”
The Wings waived Australian center Cayla George and guard Nicole Seekamp shortly after the game. Seven-year forward Glory Johnson said everyone is fighting for spots, and pushing each other, but they are all like family.
“Regardless of who makes the team and who doesn’t, we will be friends when we leave here,” she said.” Everyone wants to see everyone do great.”
Dallas begins the 2019 regular season on the road May 24 against the Dream.