Rookie Stevens leads Wings to 90-63 victory over Fever

It was a career night for rookie Azura’ Stevens Thursday, as her career-high 26 points paced the Dallas Wings past the Indiana Fever, 90-63.

Stevens shot 8-16 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds. The Fever were over matched on the boards, and were out-rebounded 47-22. The forward said she thought the team did a good job of finding her in good spots.

“I tried to come in and play with energy, so defensively I’m just trying to add positivity to whatever the starters are doing,” Stevens said.

Dallas controlled the game from the beginning with a 10-2 run, from which they never looked back. They also surmounted a common problem they have had this season in losing big leads in the third quarter by keeping Iindiana at bay. Coach Fred Williams said his team had a lot of energy and were focused from the start.

“Good combination passes by everyone on offense made the difference,” he said. “Defensively, we had the presence to get down and play triple-threat defense.”

The Fever were coming off of a stunning upset win over the Minnesota Lynx, but the Wings were able to cool them down with their defensive attack, which limited the visitors to their second-lowest offensive output of the season. Coach Pokey Chatman said their lack of rebounding was the key to the loss, as Dallas got 20 second chance points.

“There are really great players in this league, and it is not just enough to stop the great ones,” she said. “You have to have that same focus and defensive intensity to force them out of their comfort zone. It is not enough to take away from one, two, three, four players. You have to take it away from every player that is on the court.”

Though the Fever held both Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith below their scoring averages, they did not have enough to slow down the attack from the Wings. Indiana forward Candice Dupree said her team needs to have the same defensive mentality that their opponents did if they want to be successful going forward.

“They turned us over and scored quite a bit of points off that. Dallas had an attack mentality and we just kept settling for jumpers and that hurt us,” Dupree said.

Dallas is now 9-8 on the season and head east to New York for a Saturday match up. The Fever do not play again until July 11.