The Indiana Fever were able to end a five-game losing streak in their first game under new coach Carlos Knox.
Indiana fired Marianne Stanley and promoted Knox, who was her assistant. The Fever made the change after getting off to another disappointing start to the season.
The team responded with a 101-96 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.
Indiana has just three wins on the season and is clearly in the middle of a rebuild with a solid young nucleus led by this year’s first round draft picks of NaLyssa Smith, Emily Engstler, Queen Egbo and Lexie Hull,
“With this new group of players, it is time for our organization to go in a different direction. This was a difficult decision, and we wish Marianne the very best in the future,” said Lin Dunn, Fever interim general manager.
Now with a few days of practice under their belt with their new coach, the Fever hope to build on the victory during a busy week ahead. Indiana has back-to-back games against Washington and New York on Tuesday and Wednesday before finishing off on Sunday against Atlanta.
Indiana didn’t win its third game last season until July 9.
This week’s WNBA poll:
1. Las Vegas (8-1): The Aces have already scored more than 100 points three times this season. They did it seven times all of last year.
2. Connecticut (6-2): A busy week with a four-game road trip will challenge the Sun. Connecticut will need reigning MVP Jonquel Jones to play better. She is averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 rebounds this season. That’s nearly six points less and three rebounds under last season’s averages.
3. Washington (6-3): The Mystics are slowly working Elena Delle Donne back into the lineup. She has skipped a few games “to rest” after playing in the previous contest. Delle Donne had played in just three games the last two years because of injury and the pandemic.
4. Chicago (4-3): The Sky have been unable to get on a roll this season, mostly alternating wins and losses. With their full roster now together, expect more consistency from Chicago.
5. Seattle (5-3): The Storm were beat New York twice without Sue Bird and Ezi Magbegor, who were in COVID-19 protocols last week. Seattle hopes to be at full strength this week.
6. Dallas (5-3): The Wings are a league-best 4-1 on the road and have a three-game road trip this week.
7. Atlanta (5-3): The Dream haven’t had more than eight wins the previous three seasons and look to be on pace to eclipse that mark thanks to the strong play of No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard.
8. Los Angeles (4-6): The Sparks are third in the league in scoring, averaging 84 points a game. Unfortunately, they are giving up 87.4 points.
9. Indiana (3-7): No. 2 overall draft pick NaLyssa Smith returned from an ankle injury that sidelined her for four games, She is having an impressive season, nearly averaging a double-double with 13.7 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
10. Phoenix (2-6): The Mercury have struggled and have lost five consecutive games heading into Tuesday night’s lineup. They haven’t been shooting well from behind the arc, making just 32% from 3 — fourth worst in the league,
11. Minnesota (2-7): The Lynx are third to last in scoring, averaging 79.2 points. They need to find more consistent scorers to go along with Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers and Sylvia Fowles.
12. New York (1-7): The banged-up Liberty need to get healthy with Betnijay Laney (right knee), Jocelyn Willoughby (left quadricep tendon), DiDi Richards (right hamstring) and Lorela Cubaj (concussion) all missing games last week in Seattle. Getting Laney and Richards back would be a huge help as New York looks to end a seven-game losing streak.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Breanna Stewart of Seattle was voted the AP Player of the Week after averaging 22.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 steals to help the Storm sweep a pair of games from New York. Nneka Ogwumike of Los Angeles and A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas also received votes.
The Minnesota Lynx retired the jersey of Seimone Augustus, who helped the franchise win four WNBA championships in her 14 seasons. Augustus was selected by the Lynx first overall in the 2006 draft and spent 14 seasons in Minnesota before heading to Los Angeles for one year. She is currently an assistant coach with the Sparks.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Sun at Aces, Tuesday and Thursday. The top team in the East faces off against the best team in the West when Connecticut plays consecutive games at Las Vegas, trying to end the Aces’ six-game winning streak.
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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