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The Fever beat Dream to end the WNBA’s 20-game losing streak

The Fever beat Dream to end the WNBA’s 20-game losing streak

MA VoepelESPN.comMay 28, 2023, at 07:00 PM ET3 minutes to read

The Fever broke a 20-game losing streak behind big game NaLyssa Smith

NaLyssa Smith leads the Indiana Fever to its first win in nearly a year.

after nearly a year, Indiana Fever is back in the winning pole.

The Fever beat the Atlanta Dream 90-87 on Sunday, marking the first win for Indiana since June 19, 2022. It ended a 20-game losing streak, which was tied for the longest in WNBA history.

“We’ve been talking about it since day one at our team meeting: Culture is the most important thing,” Fever coach Kristi Sides said. “The culture, playing hard, and being the hardest working team in practice. And I promise you, the coaches say that all the time, but these guys worked hard every day.”

The Fever have not made the playoffs since franchise legend Tamika Catchings retired in 2016. A postseason drought followed a 12-game playoff streak for the franchise, including three trips to the WNBA Finals and the 2012 league championship.

Last season marked the franchise’s lowest point in wins, with Indiana winning 5-31. Coach Marian Stanley was fired on May 25, 2022, with the Fever sitting at 2-7. She was temporarily replaced by Carlos Knox, who went 3-24.

The Fever beat the Chicago Sky 89-87 in Indianapolis on June 19, 2022, but then closed out the regular season with an 18-game losing streak.

Sides was appointed as the Fever’s new coach on 4 November.

Indiana held the #1 pick in the April WNBA draft for the first time in franchise history and used it to select South Carolina star Aliyah Boston. Boston’s performance has been very consistent for the Fever so far, posting 13 points and 7 rebounds on Sunday against the Dream.

The Indiana team on Sunday was led by forward Nalissa Smith, who finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Smith was the No. 2 pick overall in 2022 from Baylor.

The Fever opened the 2023 season with losses to the Connecticut Sun and New York Liberty, tying them with the 2011 Tulsa Shock for the longest losing streak in league history. The Shock lost 20 in a row from June 21 to August 25, 2011, then won two in a row before falling their last six games to finish 3-31.

The Shock, who moved from Detroit after the 2009 season, moved to Dallas and became the Wings in 2016.

Both sides said Sunday’s victory was just one step, but a big one.

“We’re building something here,” she said, “and that’s going to take time.” “That was just a huge piece for us to get that win—on the road, home opener for Atlanta, a great crowd. Everyone focused on their role and did exactly what they were supposed to do. Those are the things we’ve been working on.”

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